Is Facebook taking a t/r/oll on you? Does it make you feel drained and angry, anxious and frustrated? Are its comforting factors – connecting with new and former friends, and participating in groups of people with like-minded interests – increasingly offset by a sense of opportunistic wariness and caution related to all those cookies it has collected about your online behavior?
Facebook already knows my ways and means too well.
It has collected more than 5,000 “data points” on me. With not-so-subtle reminders, this hypnotic encourages me to compile and curate my favorite photos and moments, as it suggests groups, pages, and products which should be of interest to me, while it determines those memories I mustn’t forget. Especially birthdays and events, which it urges me to acknowledge and/or attend … along with the dates that others became my Facebook friends.
Facebook taps and whispers to me about posts other people, places, or “prophets” have published of which I should take notice. It reminds me when I have neglected to respond to someone or something. It pokes me with posts I’ve ignored and videos I should see on Facebook Watch, even as it decides whose thoughts or opinions I should especially consider.
That’s only the beginning …
Increasingly, Facebook is controlling our lives — both online and off — with its rules and regulations and unwarranted intrusions into our personal lives … aggregating data about us … and selling it to anyone (and everyone) who seeks to target us with promotions and unsolicited messages.
In addition to foreign intervention online, Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign used groups such as Cambridge Analytica to target voters. Potently criticized by investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr, Cambridge Analytica used “furtively garnered Facebook data” to shape messages or “hack the minds” of American voters, as Christopher Wyle, a former employee who now has turned against the company, put it.
But, apart from profiteering, I tremble to think about potential sinister purposes and motives behind all this seduction.
My personal data and digital footprints are mine to share—not Facebook’s. And, although it’s probably already too late, I am going to take steps to monitor and minimize its influence on me.
What finally brought me to the end of my rope?
Facebook’s latest initiative:
“We limit how often you can post, comment or do other things in a given amount of time in order to help protect the community from spam. You can try again later.”
This message from Facebook appeared after I tried to update and keep the energy flowing on groups that I administer or moderate.
” … try again later”? It’s already been four days — four friggin’days! — since Facebook allowed me to post or participate in any of the more than a dozen diverse groups which I founded, cultivate, mediate, administer, and oversee!
Facebook is Pandora’s Box.
We think we’re without options or alternatives since, by finances and fiat, Facebook has become our lingua franca, force-feeding us what it has determined that we want and/or need.
But that’s no longer true anymore: there are alternatives to Facebook … it’s our own lethargy, convenience, and comfort with the status quo that cause us to hesitate about going where “no one (we know) has gone before—to take the road not taken onto a comparable yet competitive social medium platform.
Facebook demands, commands, and controls too much of our lives — our time and energy — using us rather than us using it. In fact and indeed, Facebook has grown too big for its britches!
Monopolies, especially Facebook, can be dangerous to all of us. Which is why, I believe, competition is essential—especially among the social media platforms.
The elderly (me!), especially, are enamored of Facebook’s ability to link friends new and old around the globe, while purporting to report what’s newsworthy near and far. It’s convenient and comfortable for us geezers, even when Facebook changed, added, or deleted stuff without informing us or explaining the changes and how to cope with them.
I am sick of being beholden to artificial intelligence for dictating the terms and the tempo, all while claiming to click and cajole!
The Wizard of Oz Facebook isn’t; it’s nowhere near that benevolent.