I wish I could quit Facebook, but I’m addicted, just as hundreds of millions of people around the world are addicted. But why? According to Facebook’s original President, Sean Parker, it’s because they designed it that way ...on purpose.
When I joined Facebook in 2009 Myspace was still the king of social media. It was starting to fall, to second place and within a few years time it was pretty much dead, but I still like what Myspace was back then more than what Facebook was and is today. It allowed me to say whatever I wanted but never forced anyone else to listen. If someone was interested in what I had to say, they had to come to my page to see it. Facebook does not do this, it injects what it thinks you want to see in your feed based on your likes and dislikes.
“But if you don’t want to see it, just ignore it!”
Therein lies the problem, you can’t. Sure I could hide a picture, ignore a post, or block a user, but that doesn’t keep Facebook from analyzing my behavior patterns and force feeding me things it thinks I want see. They’ve even made what little control you have over feed hard to get to and annoying to use. Want to use an ad blocker? Go ahead, but you'll still ads that look like posts in your feed. Want to see only the most recent posts instead of what FB thinks you want you to see? You can, but you’re going to have to tell Facebook that every single time the page refreshes.
So I’ve resorted to keeping Facebook at arms length. I use it, but I don’t trust it. I don’t send friend requests unless I have some sort of meaningful working, playing, or personal relationship with the person. To this date, I’ve never given Facebook my phone number, even though it’s asked me for it more times than I can count. I don’t get ANY news on Facebook, I only share it, and only from sources I trust and have discovered on my own outside of Facebook. I use Facebook to suit my needs, and do my best not to let it tell me what it thinks I need.
Not for a second to I think I’m immune to it’s influence however. I’m well aware that no matter how hard I try or how vigilant I am, at some point I’m going to click ‘like’ on a sponsored post, either by accident or on purpose, and that’s why felt the need to speak out on this topic. Like it or not Facebook is a massive corporation and a huge part of many people’s lives, and it’s not going away anytime soon. So rather than try and convince people of the world it’s that it’s wasting it’s life on social media platforms, I’m trying to raise awareness that Facebook can be used like a tool, as I try to use it, and not as central part part of your life. It’s not easy if the platform has already hooked you on it’s calculated release of dopamine with every ‘like’. You’ve got remain aware and keep your biases in check. You’ve got to think twice before sharing or posting. Facebook isn’t going to change, you have to.