Everything cool becomes mainstream eventually. That is to say that even if something (a band, bar, style, sitcom, religion) is just as good or better than before, people get used to it and often take pleasure in the fact that they can now look upon it with disdain or superiority. This was certainly the case with Facebook. A social tool that revolutionized the way modern woman communicated with one another back in the early 21st century.
Facebook’s extinction certainly had something to do with the realization of 1984-esque privacy concerns that spawned from its marketing efforts. Nearly every first-world person had an account and regularly, if not obsessively, checked in with it. They would share “Status Updates” (essentially telling their friends when they were sick, angry, what they were eating for lunch and slew of other mundanities that are as unnecessary to list here as they were then), photos (this was half useful for sharing endearing moments in time, half pure self-indulgence when encapsulating a seven day vacation with two hundred pictures) and list information about their current standings in life (saving some from the oft irritating “What do you do?” question that is still prominent today). It was essentially a place to gather and share from anywhere you had a connection to the digital realm. Though everyone had it, most tried to avoid thinking about what their use of it meant.
Note: Digital and Biological were terms used to describe the differences between man and machine until we became one several years later.
Within half a decade of its launch, Facebook had nearly one billion users. When founder, Mark Zuckerberg, realized the great potential for advertising profit the tool contained, rather than take caution about giving user’s personal information to god-knows-who, he set out to capitalize as completely (legally and illegally) as possible. There was no prior consultation within the community. Users were instead told to deal with their private activities and details being shared with any company willing to pay or to go through the less-than-simple process of deleting their profile. Even if one did sign-off permanently, any information they had previously shared now belonged to Facebook. But everyone was using it. So, it became a difficult choice: Protect your privacy or fall out of the social loop. People were aware that what Facebook was doing was wrong, but admitting that participating in it was short-sighted to themselves was something that wouldn’t happen until The Great Privacy Scare of 2017.
The reasons that the concept of Facebook made so many shudder, yet didn’t stop them from using it for the decade or so that it existed, weren’t discovered through reductive reasoning. It was only through emergent systems (meaning factoring everything in to create a bigger picture, rather than reducing it to base elements) that we are now able to tell the tale of an era-marking anomaly that nobody trusted, nearly everyone had, made hundreds of billions of dollars, and signalled the collapse of ever truly being able to feel as though one wasn’t being watched.
Much like the mishaps of capitalism and what was then referred to as democracy, Facebook became as faceless as the corporate monopolies and governments of the time. So, when peoples’ photos, phone numbers, GPS locations, private conversations and online-stalking habits were leaked to the entire Internet, there was no loyalty to be had. Unlike systems of economy and civil discourse, Facebook was not a necessity of existence. So, it died at the behest of its own blindsidedness.
In the end, it was not as cool as the number of its friends/users seemed to indicate. Much like the bell-bottomed pant, oversized eyeglass frame, pop music and pornography, Facebook simply faded away in the ashes of the cigarette that was human time on Earth.