There’s no easy way to break Facebook’s heart

Victor Barreiro Jr.

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There’s no easy way to break Facebook’s heart
I’ve been debating the merits of leaving Facebook as a thought exercise, and I understand it’s so very hard to do

I follow a lot of blogs about gaming, science fiction and fantasy writing, and world-building and while most of them are generally progressive, I’ve had to slowly contend with an issue that’s been simmering for a while.

One of the blogs I follow goes against that grain when it comes to progressive culture, and appears decidedly against social justice and antifascist initiatives.

Perhaps the last straw came when the blog’s author likened people fighting for their civil rights in the US today as “barbarians” among civilized people. He doesn’t say so outright in the post, but the rhetoric is there in his posts during the Black Lives Matter protests, to which he equates protesters as looters and pillagers.

I unfollowed that blog yesterday, despite knowing I could have stood my ground and argued with that fellow. Sadly, he may not care to understand how his stance is hurtful to people at large, regardless of race.

Facebook’s best wasn’t good enough

I prefaced this with a personal story, because I wanted to discuss how Facebook is, in much the same way, creating its own recurring, simmering problems that other people have wanted to address or otherwise get away from.

Aside from data privacy scandals it’s had in the past, it has more recently been embroiled in debates about policing the content on its platform, and it seems as if it – or perhaps Mark Zuckerberg, at least – hasn’t learned a thing. (READ: Facebook’s problems can’t be solved by more Facebook)

Facebook’s more recent stumbles have had to do with misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech. Specifically, it’s been hands-off in preventing some of it coming from the President of the United States, Donald Trump

Civil rights activists and some Facebook employees, both current and former workers, were livid at the inaction, and called on Zuckerberg to listen to their point of view and realize how inaction against bad actors was making things worse rather than better. (READ: How U.S. disinformation threatens Black Lives Matter

Heading on, out Facebook’s door

I’ve been debating the merits of leaving Facebook as a thought exercise, and I understand it’s very hard to do.

It’s difficult, you know, to break away from something that is deeply a part of your day-to-day.

Aside from Facebook as a source of information, there are other ways to see the social network and its related apps and services. You use Facebook and WhatsApp to keep in touch with friends and family, and for those who are influencers, Facebook and Instagram are important ways to earn a living.

If you didn’t care about that and you weren’t afraid of missing out, you could transfer your photos off Facebook onto the Google Photos ecosystem, then delete your account and try to erase your footprints from Facebook.

You could also try to move to a different service, such as the more-privacy focused, yet also problematic site MeWe. Perhaps you could even go back to online journaling sites like LiveJournal and Dreamwidth, but your reach would be severely limited in comparison. 

There’s no easy way to leave Facebook and make your voice as readily heard, sadly.

It’s the last thing I wanna do

While there are a number of ways in which I can envision people taking the fight to Facebook, as someone with a public-facing Facebook account, I have generally two options.

Either you put up with Facebook’s problems and keep fighting against its creator, who may not share my viewpoint or the viewpoints of other people calling for better accountability and transparency from the company, or leave Facebook and lose your voice.

In my case, as a member of Rappler, I’m inclined to stick around for a little while longer and try to advocate for changes where I can, such as by writing about Facebook and making sure my issues with how the site operates are known as far as possible.

It seems hypocritical, but knowing there are also fakers out there who would swoop at the chance to take over my name and use it to hurt me, it seems more sensible to have them work for it just a little bit more

But someday though, when the time comes. I will have the heart and hopefully, I’ll be able to leave Facebook in the dust at a time when I can be sure everything and everyone will change. –

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Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.