Disregarding the furor over Cambridge Analytics for a moment, let’s look at the reasons to hate Facebook.
Trying to find a post I saw recently is next to impossible, even if I remember the name of the person who posted it. Checking his or her timeline doesn’t always bring up the particular post. So I switch from my computer to my phone where I first saw the post. Not only is it not there, the current posts on my phone do not match the current posts on my computer. What the…?
Reruns are only good when it’s Buffy or The Big Bang Theory. When a post’s original date is March1, why am I seeing it again on March 10? And no, it’s not from someone who reposted it.
Strangers: Posts from people I don’t know, have never heard of.
Headlines: One screams “Meghan’s rare fashion faux pas revealed.” I click out of curiosity only to learn that she forgot to remove the loose cross-stitching that holds the vent of a coat while being transported. Oh no, stop the world, I need to get off.
Expert advice: Without the name of the author or their credentials to substantiate the validity of their material I’m supposed to take it for gospel truth. “14 things to never eat again” “8 exercises you’re not doing correctly” And I’m supposed to believe this because…?
Opinions: Another post tells me women over 53 should not wear jeans. As if! “Chicklet, I’ll be wearing jeans when I’m 90.”
Click bait: 21 ways to…. and I have to click 21 times? No thanks.
Ads: Arrrgh! Just because I looked up a dress on the Guess website does not mean I want to see it another 374 times.
Bad news and more bad news: Pollution, Trump, Putin, pollution, Trump, Putin….
And that’s not even getting into the heavy duty stuff like bots and election manipulation and surveys such as this:
Facebook wanted to know in a survey if an adult asking a 14-year-old for nude photos was acceptable. The questionnaire gave multiple response options, like “This content should not be allowed on Facebook, and no one should be able to see it.” One option that was absent: inform the authorities. Facebook’s product VP Guy Rosen called the question a “mistake.” More.
Why don’t I just close my account?
Because there are good things happening too.
Many of my friends post the most amazing stuff. Great pictures of their travels or their professional photography, news of life in Churchill, Manitoba, for example, and what they saw in DC at the March for Our Lives. Information that I would dearly miss without Facebook.
I love the posts from sites like AJ+ One of women on TV in Afghanistan talking about women’s rights or of another Afghani woman writing a university entrance exam while nursing her baby are two examples I saw recently.
And how would a modern labor movement organize something as expansive and coordinated as a state-wide strike? Well, it turns out the answer is Facebook. Over 24,000 teachers and public employees joined a private Facebook group that became the headquarters, forum, and meme factory for the massive teachers’ strike in West Virginia. That strike shuttered every public school in the state for nine days, until the teachers’ demands were met.
And how would the March for Our Lives fared without social media?
And how would I keep in touch with friends and family all over the world or keep tabs on my new heroes, Emma, David, Cameron et al without Facebook?
Still when I read articles like this, I worry that I’m not being cautious enough and should close my account.
Are you on Facebook? Have you closed your account? How worried do you think we should be?