PeerIndex boss slams Facebook's 'trivialising' of social engagement

The chief executive of social-media analytics firm PeerIndex has accused Facebook of 'trivialising' social engagement in a drive to maximise profits.

Azeem Azhar: Peer-Index chief executive on Facebook
Azeem Azhar: Peer-Index chief executive on Facebook

Azeem Azhar claimed that Facebook had reduced the concept of social engagement to simply ‘clicking "like"’, and described the notion of paying for one-on-one engagement as ‘abhorrent’.

Azhar argued that some marketers have become dependent on the social network. ‘While there have been successes on Facebook, the challenge for brands is to accept that a Facebook strategy is not a social strategy. You need to understand your customer and address things to them,’ he said.

He added: ‘We see companies that have accumulated followers or "likes", but if you ask them how much those followers have spent with them over the past six months, they simply don’t know.’

A Facebook spokeswoman said the network encourages a ‘whole spectrum of engagement’, adding that ‘even light-touch interactions can connote a deep affinity’.

Azhar’s criticism follows the unveiling of Facebook’s redesigned news feed. It is intended to give greater prominence to ads, which account for 84% of its revenues.

Read the full interview with Azeem Azhar here.