Social Media Has Turned Into Trash, But All Execs Care About Is Their Cash – The Average Joe
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    Social Media Has Turned Into Trash, But All Execs Care About Is Their Cash

    Rhea Lobo

    February 15, 2024

    Congratulations! You’ve doom-scrolled your way to the end of the internet; it’s time to log off now. Social media is going through its “enshittification” era, a term coined by Cory Doctorow — and crowned the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Year.

    Simply put, it means the deterioration in the quality of online platforms due to ads, clutter, and spam. Take X, for example. Its “enshittification” happened when it shifted from fun tweets to charging for exposure and check marks. It’s the latest in a long line of declining services, like Facebook and Instagram — which have become cash cows for parent company Meta (NASDAQ:META)… but at what cost?

    Like, share, despair: For young people, it’s becoming more than just a bad experience. Online, they face bullying, unrealistic standards, and endless dopamine distractions — all of which are affecting their mental health. According to a 2023 Gallup survey, US teens spent nearly 20% of their day (4.8 hours) on social media — with TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram listed as their fave apps. In response to concerns about the negative impact social media is having, lawmakers are now pushing back against algorithms targeting kids:

    • Last month, social media execs, including Meta’s Zuckerberg, testified before the Senate, but Article 230 still shields social media platforms from lawsuits related to content posted by their users.
    • Yesterday, New York City sued major social platforms, including Meta, TikTok, and Snap, “for fueling the nationwide youth mental health crisis.”

    Addiction is good for business

    Meta and TikTok keep breaking revenue records thanks to the algorithms that keep users hooked. But the same can’t be said for X, whose fortunes have rapidly declined since Musk’s acquisition. Snap (NYSE:SNAP) is down over 30% from its recent earnings report, struggling to turn a profit despite growing its user base.

    • Snap aims to reposition itself as a different kind of social media platform — centered on authenticity — but standing out in the crowded social scene won’t be easy.
    • CEO Evan Spiegel declared in an internal memo, “Social Media is Dead. Long Live Snapchat!” positioning the company to bring “happiness” to teens specifically.

    Breaking the addiction: Tools like Opal help users cut down their social media time — and ongoing studies show promising results. In a four-week intervention, 500 college students evaluated their social media consumption, set goals, and tracked progress. Those with “problematic” usage saw a 26% reduction in addiction scores. Stick to the plan, record your progress, and don’t fall into the trap of “one last video before bed.”

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