I Saw This on Facebook

If I hear someone start a sentence with, “I saw on Facebook that…” when talking about anything dealing with science, politics, medicine, or any other important subject matter I will quickly become the world’s biggest skeptic.

We are unfortunately living in a Facebook (FB) world. So many people rely (and I mean r-e-l-y) on FB for so much dealing with their lives. I even had a friend use it exclusively. He would never venture outside of the walls of FB for anything. He used it to search for everything and anything. Talk about a filtered experience!

Now, I’m not here to bash the platform. Well, maybe a little. I’m just pointing out the absurdity of the whole thing.

Sources

In college students are taught to seek, research, and cite credible sources. The list of credible sources is short and has to meet specific criteria in order to be used. These sources are usually large, trusted institutions/universities, government agencies and departments, and other private research centers with long and rich reputations.

Injecting what Uncle Joe posted into a conversation about a scientific subject doesn’t qualify. Sorry.

Opinion, no matter how strong, is not the same as fact. It’s not even the same as a hypothesis or even scientific probability. It’s not the same. It’s just not. And to top it off, Uncle Joe, and all those like him, never even think about fact-checking or researching the source.

You what?!

Despite all the scandals from Cambridge Analytica and privacy hacks to political controversies people continue to turn a blind eye and use it out of habit. The funny thing is that those who don’t want to be tracked by the government will wholly and willfully give up all their identifiable and personal information to FB. Kind of an odd mindset really.

I have a profile, but only keep it around to use as a sort of phone book. If someone is looking for me they will usually go straight there to look. I don’t have it on my phone and only access it through my laptop and it isn’t bookmarked or signed in permanently.

I use a Google Chrome extension called News Feed Eradicator to block the feed and only see notifications. When I tell others about this they are a little baffled and that’s okay.

The near future

My future with the platform is in the air. I’m sure I will eventually delete my profile one day soon as it’s tough for me to have something so intrusive out there with my name associated with it. As a digital minimalist in training I don’t like to have unused profiles and accounts for anything lingering out on the web. I’m not paranoid or anything, it’s just something I do to minimize hacks, stolen identities, and anything else I haven’t heard of yet — there’s usually a new scandal right around the corner.

Another speed bump is the fact that schools and work use it for updates instead of there websites. I get it. Social media platforms are “free,” easy, and require little-to-no setup.

So, we shall see what the future holds. Maybe I’ll just get tired of it one day and just delete the dang thing already.

What about you? What is you relationship with the platform?

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4 thoughts on “I Saw This on Facebook

  1. I hear ya. I think many people know what you’re saying.

    I’ve deleted Facebook like 4 times. Lately I’ve only distanced from it. Hardly even check into it now. I’ve told my family I’m not deleting it this time, just staying off it. They seem to understand.

    But I still might delete it eventually. Until then it’s just there like a tool in the shed you only use one season a year.

    1. I agree with “tool in the shed.” I just don’t see myself having it into my 50s and beyond. If I’m not using it now then what makes me think I’ll start using it more in the future? People in the U.S. in general are using it less from what I’ve read lately (quarantine notwithstanding).

      1. I think you’re on the right track. I’ve definitely noticed a real and wide spread public acknowledgement of the ills of social media and more people disliking Facebook. This could be a permanent downturn for FB, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

        Since I’ve deleted my account and returned several times, I’m only distancing for a long time first. The app is off my phone, the bookmark is off my laptop.

        Then, if I stay distanced for the rest of the year, I might then Deactivate my FB account in January. If that lasts until the Summer of 2021, then I might Delete it again. Maybe for the final time?

        So Distance, Deactivate, Delete. Whatever works best.

        But I’ve viewed this in 2 ways. One, should I delete for my own sake? And two, should I delete for the sake of society? The latter sounds lofty, but I’m serious. If I truly think FB is dangerous to our democracy, shouldn’t I delete it and lead by example? Probably, so I might eventually delete.

        And I think Twitter is the same. The virality of vitriol via the Retweet button is harmful, so are pseudonyms.

        FB and TW allow bad actors to spread fake news and false views and stir up negative stuff…

        Anyways, I don’t mean to dwell on the downsides, but they’re big and important.

        Proceed with caution…

      2. I agree completely. I’ve been reluctant to voice my views on the societal issues for risk of creating an endless debate. I must admit that I feel a bit guilty of having a profile while it’s clearly brought on real political and social problems. Additionally, the companies put profit over everything so they aren’t going to change any time soon. Just look at the recent boycott. Zuck’s reply was just, “They’ll be back.”

        And I can confidently say that without feeling like I’m overreacting. I also agree that the feeling of setting an example for my son is increasingly nagging at me.

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