Why on Earth would I ever want to leave Facebook? The social media platform unites long lost relatives and friends over time and space. How could that be a problem?
Well, after realizing something wasn’t quite right, but not being able to put my finger upon it, I decided to do a little research into the various social media platforms. I am afraid my research confirmed the seriousness of the nature of what these “free” social media platforms are attempting on their users. First of all, I am very upset by what I discovered and as I was filming the video, I had a wide range of emotions from, betrayal, anger, disgust, deep sadness, and the desire to rebel against the system.
What started out as a cyber-bullying lecture at our school to address the issue in the community over teen suicides, I decided to make the move to delete my Facebook account. I knew there were issues with Facebook and my news feed seem to show some of the issues the students were facing. I have seen harassing cynical posts and comments that demean a political, religious, or activist community, and it seemed since the election it hasn’t simmered down very much. Many times, I have typed out a comment and before I post it I debate, “Is this really helping the situation? Am I adding to the anger? Does this comment convey peace without false compromise?” And, many times I end up hitting the backspace key and moving on because with such posts, there is no comment that will help the situation because the author is intending to pick a verbal fight. What has become of Facebook friends if the once peaceful, “I haven’t seen you in so long. You and your family look great. I really miss hanging out and having our deep, caffeine-induced, philosophical discussions in the late hours of the night when we were in college.” Maybe those days are long gone. After all, the newness has worn off since I have been active since 2009.
But, what really moved me to deletion was a series of posts that questioned the altruistic use of Facebook. Was the platform really altruistic or possibly good? Once looking into a friend’s post on political labeling, I realized there was a serious problem when Facebook decided to categorize its users as very liberal, liberal, moderate, conservative, and very conservative. The company felt that stereotyping the political schema of its users was for whose benefit? If political leaning was necessary to know, why not allow the user to classify their own political leaning. Instead, Facebook decided for you. That is a serious problem when a person becomes stereotyped, it is very difficult for that person to be seen as anything but that stereotype especially when there are many facets of their character which are not taken into consideration. All our country needs is a person of one particular leaning to call the other-side bad and have their followers troll anyone that doesn’t agree with them and this becomes a recipe of a rebirth of the same spirit behind the Nazi movement of the 1930’s Germany.
For this alone, citizens of our country should be wary as political agendas begin to attack viciously and without provocation anyone that disagrees with the inflamed group’s ideals. I have seen this on YouTube; a smaller channel calls out a larger channel for posting lies as truth and the larger channel’s subscribers descends upon the smaller channel and begin to brutally threaten their lives. The smaller channel is verbally raped and abused within their own comment section. What has happened to our humanity? This reminds me I need to re-evaluate my YouTube channel.
Another growing concern is the addictive nature of the apps and social media programs. The creators are no longer even hiding it. They freely admit to creating dependency within the users who are a part of their platform. There is absolutely no regulation of any kind for this industry who is purposefully manipulating their users with B.F. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning and Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning. There is money to be made with user addiction through reward/ positive reinforcements. The companies’ software engineers have unlocked the mind’s instinctual pleasure and fear responses. Absence from social media platforms creates in the body higher levels of cortisol, which creates anxiety and depression. When a post is received and liked, the mind releases dopamine, which relaxes and engages the pleasure centers of the human mind. With something so addicting, instead of regulating it, they decided to study it for the next 20 years to see what happens to their test group of children when they become adults. By then, the population will be no different from the test subjects, so if reversal needs to occur, the entire generation will have to go through detox if it doesn’t become permanently wired into the human psyche. Before Prohibition, there was no drinking age in the United States and the alcoholism abuse was rampant. Before the discovery of lung cancer, cigarettes were advertised in every movie and in commercials on television. The cigarette companies admitted to targeting the younger generation, knowing the addictive properties of their product. If they could get a teenager hooked on cigarettes, then they knew they would have a smoker for life.
This industry needs to be regulated and if the government doesn’t step in to stop these dangerous tactics, then it is up to the users to recognize the problem within themselves and walk away from it. So, user beware.