With Facebook’s recent decision to shut down news organisations’ Facebook pages in retaliation against the Australian Government’s plan to force Facebook and Google to pay for media content, the true strength of the world’s internet giants has been shown to Australia and the world.
Of course, we have seen Twitter silence a recent controversial President of the US, in the land where free speech is supposedly guaranteed by its constitution, but doesn't seem to apply to private companies who can seemingly censor whatever and whoever they want, at will.
Now, while Anushka Bandara doesn't mention Twitter, it too is one of the big tech giants, with Bandara stating "Facebook and Google don’t just monopolise the internet, they literally control the world economy through it."
Bandara is the cofounder and CEO of Elegant Media, an Australian "full service" app and software development company which works with "government, corporates, entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes to develop and deliver cutting-edge tech solutions."
Naturally, Bandara presumably hopes one of your alternate strategies to engage with customers is to do so directly with your own app, rather than relying on Facebook, Google or other big tech.
Indeed, she said "Just about every business I know of relies on Google and Facebook for its revenue. Businesses advertise on Google and Facebook to generate leads and sell their products and services. It’s how they reach the market. No one picks up Yellow Pages anymore and browses through the listings. They search online.
“If these online services were shut down overnight without warning, which is what happened with Facebook, businesses would instantly lose their primary source of income. The results would be devastating.
“It is for this reason that businesses need to have a contingency plan in place in order to continue to source leads and sell products should anything happen to Google or Facebook.”
Now, even if you have your own app, you obviously need to get customers to use it, and encourage customers to share the app as well as knowledge of your products and services with others, along with presumably using other methods of generating business that doesn't strictly rely on exposure via Facebook, Google and others.
Bandara says she believes that "while the government is taking aim at Google and Facebook in relation to news content, the losers are going to be businesses and smaller news publishers."
“Google and Facebook are already doing deals with large news outlets to pay for content,” Bandara added.
“Unfortunately many smaller and niche publishers won’t be paid for their news which means they won’t be compensated and their news most likely won’t be shared through these platforms.
“Again, the big guys win and the little guys lose.
“Businesses that rely on editorial and advertising content in specialty news outlets in order to raise awareness of their products and services to specific audiences will find that the content won’t make it to Google news or search page results. This will have a negative impact on businesses and smaller and niche publishers.
“While we all thought Google and Facebook would be our forever tools for business – Facebook’s recent actions have shown us that the reality is actually much different.”
Bandara is encouraging business owners to strategise and improvise, and stated:
“Do not work on the basis that Google and Facebook are going to be around forever or that they are reliable platforms. The online world is changing and the government’s recent change to media content laws is going to disrupt the marketplace in ways we have not yet realised.
“The groups going to be hardest hit will be small to medium size businesses that can’t afford to advertise with the big media outlets and the small to medium size media outlets that don’t have the power to force Google and Facebook to pay for their content," Bandara concluded.
So, whether an app is the right solution, or a podcast, or ClubHouse, or Twitter, or Parler, some other social media network, advertising in the local paper, or Gumtree, or eBay, or the local noticeboard at your local supermarket, or via letterbox drops, or whatever it might be, Bandara presumably hopes that if you haven't already designed your own app, and strategised accordingly to wean yourself off relying on Facebook or Google exclusively, that you'll certainly consider it.
What you ultimately decide to do is up to you, but given Facebook temporarily wiped many Australian businesses off the map and their ability to share updates as collateral damage given Facebook's success at stopping Australian news organisations from sharing news updates, the old parable that you shouldn't keep all your eggs in the same basket remains as true in 2021 as it did when the first human with a basket of eggs dropped them all and broke too many to count.