- Facebook erodes journalistic integrity.
Facebook takes power and money away from journalists and small news shops. See Reuters article. The latest example is the hostile and hardball plays with the Australian government to not pay journalists for the content they create and Facebook profits from. See WSJ article. Facebook makes no distinction between suitable, fact-checked ads and fake ones, but architecturally incentives gripping content over helpful information. Thus, Facebook spreads and enables fake news, neo-nazism, climate denial, white supremacy, and election manipulation. Do I believe Facebook is doing all this on purpose? No. Facebook is a kind of banal evil, but not one that is willing to do what is best for the greater good of our global society. So, I can no longer be a user that empowers Facebook’s grip on media. See Forbes article.
A great podcast on this issue, Behind the Bastards.
- Facebook’s goal is to addict you.
Facebook claims its goal is to connect us and foster relationships. The way they monetize is to addict you. Facebook is trying to tap into our dopamine cycles, and mounting evidence suggests that this is harmful, especially for socially vulnerable young people. Facebook knows this, and they like it that way. See Guardian article. Facebook is too dominant in the space of social media. What they prioritize shapes how billions of people interact. I do not want a company that does not have my best interests at heart to influence my relationships and self-esteem.
If you haven’t already, watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix.
- Influencer culture on Facebook (Instagram) is toxic.
Instagram has been a platform where creative people can build a following and achieve a livelihood through their craft or sport. I applaud these creators. However, the rise of influencer culture and fame-seeking warps our autonomy. See Areo Magazine peice. Are you doing something cool and then sharing it online? Or are you doing something you wouldn’t have otherwise to increase your likes or following? Facebook makes the whole world a stage in the worst kind of way. People bend over backward not to create the life they want but to create the life they think others want to see. It is toxic and takes the intimate and personal experience of pleasure, joy, and pride into something measured in external validation. In addition, the rise of influencer culture feeds excessive consumerism – “Instagram made me buy it.” We are tricked into buying what we don’t need or want to follow trends as fast as they come and go.
Watch Fake Famous on HBO or Make Happy on Netflix.
In my experience, Instagram has brought me joy, allowed me to get a glimpse into the lives of my distant friends, and allowed me to share my experience with a broad audience. Despite these positives, I cannot reconcile all the systematic ways it harms our culture. Therefore, I have chosen to delete my Instagram and Facebook. (I also deleted TikTok, but that’s not the focus of this post).