You Can’t Be Trusted With Facebook
(or Why I Left Facebook)
Important Caveat: When I say you, of course I mean “them”. Regular readers of my little blog would never do anything like the things I describe below, right? The other thing that I’ll mention here and then again in just about every other paragraph is that this has nothing to do with your favorite political party affiliation – it’s wide spread across both sides. Are we good? Ok!
Fake News Sites
There’s no better place to start than right here. Recently there’s been public out cry to get FB to do something about the way it skews the trending topics in your timeline and more importantly stopping the ability for people to share posts from fake news sites.
In case you missed it, during this election process a thousands of fake news websites were launched. These sites looked legit, but they were cheap imitations of real sites. The sole purpose of these sites was to pump out misinformation and out right lies to the unsuspecting but sympathetic people in Facebook. The sheeple would then in turn share the story and spread the lie to all of their friends. Nobody fact checked the stories before sharing them. Nobody bothered to look at the originating site to see if it was legit. Many of these sites were funded by PACs and operated on the “Big Lie” strategy (seriously, this happened. look it up!). This happened on both sides of the aisle. It wasn’t just him and it wasn’t just her.
In either case, Mark Zuckerberg said that there’s not much that he or Facebook can do about the sharing of fake news sites and you know what? I agree with him. The onus should be on the reader as to if any ‘news’ is true or not. Call it Free Speech if you like, I’m ok with that.
Was it bad politics? Sneaky shady PR firms funded by Super Pacs? It doesn’t matter. I’m not ok that you shared them in the first place.
Sharing Stolen Videos
Yeah, I’m still harping on that. The only difference today is that the videos typically have a big black bar with a title above it and a commentary of what’s going on in the video below. The video itself is still stolen from the original content creator.
The people stealing these videos do so to get more people to share their content. Every time you share their content it helps their ‘edgerank‘ so that all of their content get’s more eyeballs. They are gaming the Facebook algorithm and the losers are the content creators who might have made a few dollars on their monetization in YouTube if the video wasn’t stolen. It might not be a big deal to you but it’s still wrong.
While very close to the Fake News Sites, these are those silly things you saw in your stream and for some reason you took off your thinking cap and…
Need I say more?
But it’s not just FB privacy issues, it’s death notices of celebs, it’s miracle cures for age spots, it’s offers for free sunglasses and vacations, and yes, even free sports cars.
There’s a site called Snopes where, even if it sounds too good to be true, you can check to see if that little girl get’s one million likes her rare disease will really be magically be cured. Give it a try before you share sometimes.
The problem is that some coach told you somewhere that you should use this golden opportunity to also market yourself. And that’s when this happens…
For the record, I’m not a ReMax Agent, don’t have a house to sell or buy and have never been, nor probably ever will be near Bell Air, MD. So do you think we took this marketing thing a little too hard? Oh well.
Wednesday is my birthday. I’ll have the small group of people that really know me pop over to my wall and wish me a heartfelt “Happy Birthday!” That always feels good. If you read my previous birthday posts I recommended that if you really wanted to stand out giving these birthday greetings out, you might want to take a minute and come up with something that you and they share in common. This is a crucial step, one that nobody takes.
True Story: I used to wish just my close friends HB on FB. I knew what we talked about last, or the conference we were at last so each message was personalized. That worked so well that I started wishing all my 5,000 friends Happy Birthday. And to better stand out, I did it differently. I sent them a private message on FB. But I got greedy and lazy. I stopped looking for what we had in common. Some of these people I had absolutely no interaction with over the course of a year – none, zilch, nada!
That’s ok, I was just wishing them a Happy Birthday and making them feel better right? That’s what I thought right up to when I wished a recently dead guy Happy Birthday! 🙂
(yes, complete with the smiling emoticon). His grieving widow was logged in as him and unlike his real friends who knew of his sudden demise, his wife was forced to relate the details to me in messenger. The worst part? That was when she asked me how I knew him. What do you say? “He was just one of the 5,000 people FB allowed me to connect with and I was hoping that by standing out on his birthday that he would want to build a new website with me?” Yeah, that felt really good. Even I shouldn’t be trusted with Facebook.
Here’s the biggie and it’s personal! No where in the FB Terms of Service does it say you have to be civil and decent to your fellow human beings. You can have an opinion and voice your opinion and that should be ok. I like Free Speech, I’m ok with that.
But this election year was different. People were downright indecent to each other. If you know me you know I have a standing rule on social media – I won’t discuss politics, sex, religion and a few other things. I do this because while I would be happy to work with anyone of any political persuasion, the same might not be true for them and I wouldn’t want someone to not want to work with me because I voiced my opinion about a particular party. Does that make sense? That’s just my plan and I don’t expect anyone else to adhere to it. You do what you want and I’m ok with that.
That said, I read all your posts. I read all your comments. I read over and over again how you were unfriending this person and that person. And it’s not all just between you and your friends.
I’ve never seen such public disrespect for the Office of President, it’s candidates, or their significant others. Do know this: I value your opinion and I really want you to have an opinion, it’s the violence in your voice that I heard. Once again, this happens repeatedly across the aisle. It’s still happening today.
Here’s The Personal Part:
We need to treat each other better. We really do need kindness and love. There’s a big movement for all of us to come together and heal. I think that’s great! My problem is that I still see far too much of the negative stuff and not nearly enough of this good stuff. I use FB Lists but that doesn’t help, apparently I don’t have a list of wonderful human beings that would never do things like that. I want to believe in the goodness of people and I do. I think you all are wonderful human beings, you’re just not exhibiting that behavior over on FB.
I might be old and crusty on the outside but on the inside I’m a sensitive and delicate little flower.
To be completely truthful, this stuff has been really bringing me down. I found out I’m also a stress eater and I can’t keep going through pints of Cherry Garcia like I have. It’s just not healthy.
Does that all make sense?
So I’m taking some time off. As of right now, I’m off Facebook (my personal profile). I’ll still keep it open so that you can use FB Messenger to reach me if you like. I’ll also still be over on my Facebook Page, and Twitter, and Instagram, and Linkedin and so on.
I’ll miss you all but I have to keep myself healthy both mentally and physically and can’t do that with what I’m seeing from you (them).
I’ll check back in somewhere after Jan 20th and see if anything has changed. Let’s hope it does. Let’s hope you do. 🙂