Susan Dalgety: How Facebook can also be a force for good

Facebook has come in for a lot of flak recently, much of it deserved.

Monday, 17th December 2018, 6:00 am
Mark Zuckerberg wants Facebook to be more about family and friends (Picture: AP)

It has been accused of peddling fake news, a loophole Putin’s Russia has exploited in an attempt to disrupt our democracy. It has helped create a generation of social media addicts who cannot get through their day without checking their Facebook status every ten minutes.

And it provides a platform for bullies, who relish the ease with which they can use Facebook to humiliate and harass their victims.

Its owner Mark Zuckerberg has been forced into making big changes, which mean that from now on we will get more posts from our friends and family, and fewer from brands.

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Zuckerberg says he wants to boost “our well-being” by encouraging us to to have more conversations with people we know.

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So more news from granny about her latest knitting project (it is a cot blanket, if you must know) and less from your favourite discount supermarket or newspaper.

Perhaps we can all do our bit to make Facebook a force for good. I have seen first hand how that can work. A friend of mine is a councillor in Malawi. He uses Facebook to campaign for change in his community.

So far, with help from his Facebook friends in Scotland, he has raised enough money to provide free school meals for the primary school in his ward, buy a wheelchair for a six-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, and build a much-needed school toilet block.

If the Russian bots can use social media to affect the US presidential elections and, allegedly, Brexit, imagine the positive change we could make if we all used Facebook for the common good.

As long as we can keep on clicking on the cat videos.