Defending Facebook

Facebook

There is this video circulating YouTube at the moment from one of Jerry Seinfeld’s standup routines featured in his big ‘90s show, Seinfeld. The video is entitled, “Facebook In 90’s.” Check it out:

So, clearly, he’s not directly mentioning Facebook, as Facebook wasn’t invented yet (think about that for a second), but he is talking about talking on a landline telephone and leaving a message on an answering machine. What is that madness? But yes, you could apply what he’s saying about that, if you wanted to, to Facebook. Jerry talks about how, as people, we need to see the red flashing light on the answering machine (or the red notification in the upper corner of our Facebook page) to feel good about ourselves and realize we are popular and well-liked “among a group of people we don’t care for.”

To be sure, I thought it was a funny clip and bit of standup. That said, the application to Facebook and the underlining criticism therein of Facebook is what I take issue with. It has become quite normal to criticize Facebook these days, to the point where, I find it an unoriginal criticism. Oh, you’re criticizing Facebook? How hip and cool. I don’t know, I think Facebook needs a counterargument. And it’s not just people decrying Facebook in this manner or saying we’ve subjugated ourselves to the Facebook gods over normal social interaction, but also, mainstream news outlets keep publishing stories about how depressing Facebook is making us. What’s going on here?

First and foremost, let me be up front. I like Facebook and I like using it. It’s fun to interact with people I wouldn’t normally interact with if Facebook didn’t exist. I’ve also met a plethora of people that I wouldn’t have met without Facebook and I think that’s great. Is my friend’s list comprised of a bunch of people “I don’t care for,” as the implication goes from the Jerry standup? Of course there are people on my friend’s list that I don’t care for, but I think you’re going to find that in any social context; it’s not specific to Facebook, but even so, they aren’t the majority.

Personally, for the most part, I think it’s awesome to see what’s going on in other people’s lives. Not in an enviable way or a smug way, but in a genuinely curious way. And if people like to hear some of my musings throughout the day, as I update them to Facebook, then that’s pretty cool too.

But isn’t Facebook detracting from real social interaction? I think there’s a larger social commentary on the new technology as a whole rather than something that ought to be specific to Facebook. These new technologies with our phones, our computers, etc. are enabling that which we’ve never seen before or experienced. However, I’m not yet sure if we can gauge what the social implications are therein. Just, again, speaking personally, I interact with people in so-called real life, face-to-face, on a daily basis while also interacting on Facebook. Surely, the two aren’t mutually exclusive concepts? We’re multi-faceted social creatures; I think we can handle it…

Finally, there is the whole issue of these reported studies saying Facebook is depressing us. What gives? Check out this one from NBC.  The study says the average U.S. resident spends thirty-two minutes a day on Facebook. I’m not sure what the metrics are for other sites on the Internet on a day-to-day base for usage, but thirty-two minutes? That doesn’t sound like an awful lot to me at all. Maybe because I do spend far more than thirty-two minutes a day scrolling through my feed or whatnot, but that doesn’t seem “unhealthy” to me.

Then there is this:

“The more people reported using Facebook, the more negative they were feeling following Facebook use,” Oscar Ybarra, a psychologist at the University of Michigan and one of the authors of the study, told NBC News.

Yes, I’m not a scientist or a psychologist, but there is so much wrong with this, as I see it. First, just because people reported feeling negative after Facebook use, doesn’t mean it was related to Facebook use. Maybe they were just feeling particularly down at that moment regardless? The real kicker here is: without Facebook, would we still be seeing studies of people “feeling down,” as is the case here? I think so. Moreover, this says nothing about the interaction itself. Was it Facebook itself that made them feel down or a particular interaction they had on Facebook that made them feel down? There’s just not enough information here. And of course, there is the issue of human beings giving feedback. How honest are they being? How well are they evaluating their own emotions and feelings?

These studies get trumpeted out for what, to discredit Facebook or is it just a slow news day? I don’t know, but these studies aren’t exactly revealing, but “studies” is a buzz word in news articles that draws people’s attention. I’m personally skeptical.

I like Facebook and if I could like the “like” button for liking Facebook, I would like it. Are their times when I feel down after using Facebook? Yes, but there are times I feel down before using Facebook too. How much is mere correlation (and loose correlation at that) or unrelated at all? At the very least, I see no causation yet.

One thought

  1. Facebook is a private company controlled by powerfully rich predators. They do not want average people to have online privacy such as the ability to register an account without disclosing their phone numbers or government I.D.s, freedom of speech such as having politically incorrect jokes, freedom of thought such as letting people think for themselves without propaganda, and the ability to fight against big tech, big corporations, and powerfully rich bullies who support sweatshop factories, systemic classism, systemic sexism, systemic racism, and heavy government regulation to keep average people from having a lot of opportunities and freedom. Which is why Facebook’s platform is considered an anti-online privacy echo chamber filled with anti-intellectualism. It is a joke.

    People used to not be required to enter their phone number nor government I.D. to become Facebookers. People used to have more freedom of speech on Facebook. People used to not deal with Facebook propaganda that only benefits powerfully rich bullies wanting the silence of journalists, activists, refugees, etc. People used to have more power for exposing abusive corporations, politicians, and celebrities on Facebook. Those days are gone.

    The golden ages of online privacy and internet are over because of powerfully rich terrorists who want control over average people through oligarchical authoritarianism. Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Graham Elwood, The Hated One, George Orwell, and other people have warned people about powerful corporations and people weaponising technology for political reasons. Now, Facebook is beyond an Orwellian nightmare. Mark Zuckerberg is an opportunistic businessman that puts profit over human rights and freedom of speech. He does not relate to average people being abused by corporations and rich parasites benefitting from oligarchical regulation of governments.

    N.B.C. is controlled by powerfully wealthy dictators from the American government. It is part of the propaganda multiplier. Feel free to look up information about “The Propaganda Multiplier” on online sources. Some people from Facebook depressed me in the past. Not Facebook itself.

    Facebook is not necessarily a detraction from social interaction completely. Sometimes people have disabilities such as autism or the entire inability to speak. Extreme introverts get drained when socialising with people outside of the online world a lot. Which makes Facebook be an efficient way for those extreme introverts and people with disabilities to converse with other people online. You, Brett, are an introvert. Facebook could be useful to you because of that. That way your energy won’t be drained from socialising with people outside of the online world.

    Brett, it wouldn’t surprise me if you are addicted to gaining information. You probably like Facebook due to its arguably high amount of online information from articles, videos, and other things.

    Otherwise, Facebook has become a hostile platform towards online privacy, journalists, activists, refugees, and victims. Because powerfully rich dictators put profit over human rights and freedom of speech. YouTube has been affected by online surveillance and propagandised censorship, too.

    This is original criticism coming from me, a brutally honest writer, who has witnessed the decrease of online privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, artistic freedom, job opportunities for average people, human rights in general, political incorrectness, thick-skinned people, and other things due to powerfully rich oligarchs and monarchs.

    European countries have become emasculated with snowflakes, gun control laws, political correctness, censorship, high taxes that prevent people from easily affording to make innovative industries, heavy government regulation in general, etc. It makes the European countries represent mediocracy. America has been emasculated by feminazis, snowflakes, censorship from gag orders, propagandised media companies, indoctrination camps disguised as public schools, gullible consumerism, psychological warfare via making average Americans become desensitised terrorists accepting mediocrity in the American military, and the increasing wealth gap. Facebook owners won’t tell you any of this because they’re cut-throat sellouts.

    To defend Facebook is to defend propagandised censorship, sexist double standards such as feminazis who abuse men on social media platforms without getting their accounts banned, black people who have a victim complex despite them supporting sweatshops that make products for them, virtue signalling from famous celebrities and people in general, political correctness rather than real comedy that makes fun of everything and everyone, and echo chambers instead of hard facts. Facebook’s platform is not about supporting hard facts, common sense, comedy, freedom of thought, freedom of speech, and making people grow a pair instead of being snowflakes, feminazis, virtue signallers, woketivists, etc. Facebook has become a platform that bans accounts to promote further propaganda, feminazism, snowflake-ism, woketivism, virtue signalling, etc.

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