I got on FB about ten, twelve years ago. I really enjoyed catching up with old friends and acquaintances from high school and college. I got birthday messages by the hundreds. When my mom died in 2010, the messages I received after I posted the news were comforting not just because of the content but because I was hearing from people from whom I would not have heard otherwise. I’ve really enjoyed sharing media literacy-related information on FB as well.
Lately though, it’s been detracting from my life more than adding. You see, FB makes me feel like I am “not enough”. I don’t post about my sons on their birthdays (“Do I not love them enough?”) and I don’t post about my husband on our anniversary (“Do I not love him enough?”). I find myself comparing the real Julie with the projected versions of my friends and acquaintances. And I do not ever measure up. I find myself checking “likes” and “shares” when I should be doing other, more productive things. Noticing how I’ve enjoyed the affirmation has been a humbling realization for me.
For the past year or so, I’ve really only been checking notifications. But lately, the notifications have begun to lose credibility – they rarely include anything to do with my account.
Ending my relationship with FB has less to do with my feelings of inadequacy and more to do with how they are completely irresponsible with our data, our privacy and our democracy,
Mark Zuckerberg did not create FB to be a news platform. However, that’s what it has become. And he has no idea what to do with it. Consequently, people get “news” from FB that is outdated, manufactured, extremist and outright false – many times, originating in other countries (hello, Macedonia!). Because we tend to congregate online with people who feel, think and vote the way that we do, our FB timelines can become echo chambers where we are never confronted with messages that do not affirm our already-held beliefs. We now think that memes are “news”. I feel that FB’s delivery system has kept us from real KNOWLEDGE.
The fringes operate happily on this platform, and I’m not comfortable with that. Anti-Semitic pages take forever to get deleted, and Holocaust denial is accepted. Outrage is common on FB, which in many cases does nothing to help humanity other than add to a feeling of anxiety and hopelessness.
The misuse of data, the lies about the data and the inability to FIX the breaches are another reason I’m breaking up with FB. I’m increasingly uncomfortable with FB making millions of dollars with my data. Obviously, I gave them this data willingly when I signed up, posted and “liked”. But I’m not getting enough in return for this.
If Mark Zuckerberg wants to make a fortune on my data, I should at least get something in return other than feelings of inadequacy.
I’ve enjoyed sharing media literacy information on FB for years and will continue to do so on other platforms. I enjoy Twitter immensely (yes I know every platform has its problems!) but I learn SO MUCH from fantastic educators on there. I will keep that up, happily.
But I’m done with Mark’s project. He created a beast he can no longer control. He is unelected, unaccountable and has an enormous influence in our democracy and our notions of truth, relationships and connections. He can continue to do that without my help.
End of rant 😉