Mexico occupies fifth place in the world of countries with the most Facebook users

Used with freedom and responsibility Facebook can be a great communication tool, said Fabián Romo, specialist of the General Directorate of Computing and Information and Communication Technologies (DGTIC), of UNAM, who nevertheless warned that if it is used improperly it can become an absurdity and a danger ",

Mexico occupies fifth place in the world of countries with the most Facebook users
Mexico occupies fifth place in the world of countries with the most Facebook users

With more than two billion 100 million users in the world, Facebook meets this Monday, February 4, 15 years of existence, and Mexico is the fifth country with the most followers, with 85 million.

This social network, founded in 2004, and whose mission is "to give people the power to create communities and bring the world closer," changed the way we communicate.

Added to the Internet and other technological advances registered in recent decades, the network created by Mark Zuckerberg changed the way we communicate: now this process is more interactive and is carried out not only from the mass media to many individuals, but from the individuals among yes with other groups, explained Gerardo Dorantes, specialist in information and communication technologies at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences.

However, the quality of this information is of its most critical aspects, since it is not verified what is published, as it happens in the mass media. "The problem is not that any irresponsible person says something, but that people believe it," Romo said.

He regretted that technology and networks advance faster than the education of society on its use, relevance and content review. "There is a lot of false, aggressive and discriminatory information, it has promoted communication, but also attitudes or behaviors that are not ideal for society."

With him coincided Dorantes, who said that in this network "circulates the rumor in its maximum digitized expression, and shows of it are false news, also known as fake news."

Facebook, which for many is a blog of life, can also be a tool for social change. For example, during the Arab Spring, in Egypt, people used it to publicize their protests.

"Thanks to social networks we learned about the movements of students and workers to change the political situation in their nation, where the state controlled the media," said Romo.

Also, during natural disasters they have been very helpful for people to report their situation, as it happened after the 2017 earthquakes in Mexico.

Among the negative aspects are its business model, which consists of selling the information that users place on the network every time they click. These data are analyzed by artificial intelligence, with algorithms that are self-programmed to find patterns of consumption.

Dorantes, a specialist in political communication, explained that the sale of information was not so criticized until it began to be done with policy data for electoral campaigns.

In this regard, Romo indicated that this is why Facebook has been labeled as a collaborator of some governments; of having interfered in processes such as the referendum in the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (Brexit); and of influencing the behavior of voters in the US elections of 2016, when the company Cambridge Analytica improperly acquired information from 50 million users.

Given this scenario, both specialists stressed, it is imperative to discuss the regulation of online resources, since issues such as privacy, the protection of individual guarantees, the right of association, freedom of expression and copyrights, are at stake.