By Youri A Kemp
Well, Facebook gave me the last straw that killed my camel last week. A Fox News report showed me that not only was Facebook selling my profile data and personal data without my consent to SCL and Cambridge Analytica, but my private messages and other hidden personal details were also sold off to nearly 100 other IT and data collection firms for them to do God knows what with and no assurances that my data will not be re-shared with fourth and fifth parties.
That was it. I had enough. I can’t ride the Facebook machine aka “The Great Beast” any longer. I can’t support a platform that has been slowly but surely showing itself to be more of a social cancer and divider of people’s and cultures more than it helps.
I have struggled with unplugging from The Great Beast for quite some time now. For the better half of the last three-and-a-half years to be honest. However, during this last 2018, with the voluminous scandals enveloping Facebook (Buzzfeed has an account of all of the major ones), with more scandals to come I can imagine, I decided that perhaps we should set the beast aside until things are not so blatantly Orwellian and dystopic with its Master’s use of it on us.
There is always a “good excuse” or a “good reason” to stay on, so you Facebook-fast for a while or so and come back and get right back to the sickness as if you missed it.
But this time for me it’s more than the basic “deactivation” of the account or a “logging off” for a few months or a “changing of your password” until your fast is complete.
No, no, noooo! This is full scale, hard on, cold break DELETION of the account all together. To the point where it took me nearly two days to salvage of all of the important things I may need later — mostly pictures and videos I have stored nowhere else — in an attempt to just get away from the beast to live to tell the tale.
Listen: All of the negative reports, studies on social media, particularly Facebook, having negative effects on attitudes, personal behaviour and on mental health, can’t be wrong.
Simply put: Perhaps we were not meant to be so connected to one another? Some people are not meant to be connected with, regardless of your station in life or how nice they appear or even are. Some people and/or things are just not worth knowing — fake news and fake people!
For starters, the conversations over social media aren’t “conversations” anymore, if they ever were to be honest. They have turned into expositions of people’s brand of their personal truth, which may have nothing to do with your truth or even reality altogether — very Trumpian!
This has led gross self-absorption and narcissism that when you revisit the movie “The Devil’s Advocate” starring Al Pacino as the Devil and Keanu Reeves as his unwitting son, when Pacino utters the famous line at the end of the movie: “Vanity, definitely my favourite sin.”, you have a deeper sense of how sneaky the deadly sin of vanity really is.
In addition to that, vanity leads us to all out lies and mistruths about who we are, what we do, as if we are living in a bubble and no one else knows we are not what we say we are.
I know of people living these fabulous lives with all of the milk and honey in the world when you see their social media posts, but most of them I know for a fact are not living that life; their children are just as average as anyone else’s kids; their family is as flawed as everyone else’s; they are in debt up to their eyeballs trying to keep up with the Jones’s; they have not seen their spouse/lover at any time prior to their made for social media picture; and probably will not see them any time afterwards and also probably will not see their side-lover either!
Oh, and your boss will probably come back to you when his/her new boy-toy/girl-toy hire loses his/her flavour and they need ol’ tried and true you!
The contempt for it grew in me obviously, but it also frightened me. Not that I’m some paragon of virtue sitting on my celestial cloud above all of the lesser mortals and sneering at their fallibilities, but I certainly don’t want to end up like one of those persons who do any manner of things on social media for attention.
For example, I don’t want to end up like one of our newer politicians in The Bahamas who made up an elaborate story about his rescue of hundreds (lololol) of patrons at a pizzeria from an invading horde of machete and knife-wielding maniacs hell bent on murder with their insatiable blood lust — only to find out the dramatic rescue by “Senator Batman” did not happen the way his re-telling said it happened.
Oh, yes! The story gave him a Facebook like bump of exponential proportions, like one would receive a bump of cocaine.
Senator Batman made “the established media” for his bravery on the account of his selfless acts and daring, nighttime rescue — I said at the time, give him a medal and a chest to pin it on at the same time (lololol).
But, alas, it was only to be found out a few days later by an investigation done by other people in “the established media” — including a viewing of the surveillance footage and speaking to witnesses at the pizzeria at the time — that his story was not what he said it was.
All of this, including the loss of social interaction and personal touch, is just one side of the issue. We need to discuss the hard-core, security aspects of social media and that of Facebook.
Point blank: The trolls and stalkers/lurkers are dangerously scary people as well as crazed lunatics. Perverse, but it takes all types. Why can’t they just turn the laptop/phone/PC/tablet off, is beyond me? Perhaps you may be able to tell me why that’s soooooooo hard to some folks who see things online that they don’t like!
As someone that ran for public office, the amount of “interested parties” that are just waiting to jump out of the bandwidth to verbally assault you as well as meet you on the streets with their version of the election after the election, is very troubling. (I have problems to this day with people that hated what I told them online even much prior to that… lololol….)
Also, not only do some people not appreciate or understand the written word at times (which is what leads to the arguments on top of the narcissist not accepting their inaccuracies and leaning their “truth” is right even in the face of Google and Bing telling us otherwise from a simple search), but they follow you home at times and find where you are to have the extended version of what they read online — oh, yes, it happens!
In addition to the crazies creating a security threat in real life, the security issues and loss of data privacy to go along with it is definitely something some of us knew could pose a risk once we typed in our profile information. As an aside, none of my IT friends have a social media presence at all and if they do it is unpronounced or they have a fake one.
But, we didn’t think Facebook would be selling this to third parties with little to no tracking of what the persons who bought our data would be doing with the data and who else they would be giving it to.
All of this is topped off with the Facebook algorithms force-feeding you propaganda and sponsored content that you do not care about, and quite frankly what has become very, very annoying when on repeat, is just not good for anyone who loves and cherishes diversity, and a very rich pool of information. (I guess we really should get back to going to a library and reading more books!)
When grilled by US regulators, and seeing how vapid they were in the face of Master Zuck, it was obvious that Mark Zuckerberg and Co. had gotten away with the most dystopian, Orwellian 1984-esque crime of a lifetime. And they did so not by force, not by overt stealth, but they asked us to be our “friends” and asked us to be “friends” with everyone else we could. So, our innocence, ignorance of technology, our need for connecting with other people, topped off by our narcissism, has caused us willingly to hand our lives and ourselves over to The Great Beast!
Perhaps the US regulator ignorance on display on national television was all fake and they knew better and wanted the beast to grow in size and proportion? Don’t act like it can’t happen, when we are just ten years removed from the biggest financial Ponzi scheme the world ever saw back in 2008 and that triggered the largest economic collapse on record, with a bubble intentionally built up from ten years prior to that with several US regulators found to be “too cozy” with the banksters (Yes, banksters! Not bankers. A word-mash of mobsters and bankers! Could be “bonksters” as well, because they sure did screw us roughly didn’t they?) they were supposed to be monitoring and regulating.
Other sources like Google are no better either! A friend of mine showed me an app that is attached to Google Earth that shows you inside of people’s homes and businesses- One picture she showed me was a live shot of the inside of a doctor’s office and the examining table.
Google has been under investigation along with Facebook for the same issues of data privacy and security too, just that Google works directly with the government and intelligence communities and Facebook just sells your data to who has the money to buy! (Speaking which, I’m probably going to delete my gloriously useful Google+ account *giggles* and also the Facebook owned Instagram account as well, because I am just not that type of photogenic-whore or nosy-nelly that cares much about your last meal or new shoes or where you spend your weekends…. Really!)
No, I do NOT want you to know I have an appointment at the dentist, when I visit my girlfriend at 8 pm every evening, why I prefer football over basketball and I don’t want you to know when I go where I go, to whom and for what reason! These aren’t crimes, but it’s just none of your damn business!
On that note, the other bit of rationale to ditching The Great Beast that trumps all else is that: F-F-F-Forget what anyone says about this, that, oh be strong minded, or stay connected, or they will do this, that or the third any other way, etc, etc… Save it!
While Facebook has helped a great deal to put people out in the forefront (like me) that would otherwise need to kiss the golden buttocks of the “media elites” *rolls eyes*, from publishers to editors and producers (including me, but my butt is sweet to the taste if I may say so) and of course it does have its place in advertising and marketing of smaller brands on a smaller budget, at the end of the day we can do all of that without my personal information on the line; and with that, it is a personal choice to unplug now and re-calibrate second, particularly if we decide to engage again.
But exactly how we decide to engage again and use this obviously and overtly intrusive and increasingly dangerous medium before we do more damage to ourselves and community, friendships and family.