Thursday, February 01, 2018

So, This Facebook Thing Is A Bust ...

So today is not going to be a political rant. Instead, I am going to bitch poisonously about Facebook.

So here's the deal.

About a year ago, I created this blog and the corresponding Facebook page. I would write blog posts, which would be automatically posted to my page using IFTTT. I would then share these posts to groups in which I am a member, groups that share the same political sensibility as I do (more or less).

For months, this worked just fine. I would share one a day. On rare occasions there would be more than one post. On less rare occasions, there would be days that I didn't post anything at all. On occasion I would take a break entirely and not do anything for a week or so.

About a month ago, things started to change. First I was restricted from posting and commenting for a day, even though my behavior had not changed. Okay, fine. I slowed things down. However, they started to spiral fast. I am now at the point where I am seeing the following:
  • I write an original post in a group (not sharing, just typing), or I comment on someone else's post. It is immediately -- within milliseconds -- blocked as spam, and I have to go to the help center and click the "It's not spam" link. Again, within milliseconds, I receive a notification that "Facebook has reviewed this and it's not spam" message.
  • Today I found an article on Slate that was worth sharing. So I did. To one group. ONE. Instantly I received a notification that I am blocked from sharing and commenting in groups for the next week.
  • Ironically, when I submitted a report about it I received a notification that I was blocked from submitting reports.
The interesting thing to note about these "reports," as I have discovered, is that they are not actually read by anyone. Facebook quite plainly states that, while you are welcome to submit a report, there is absolutely no guarantee that anyone is actually going to read it, and even less that they will do something about it.

The problem is that Facebook is the only "long form" social media site out there. Twitter is okay, I guess, but you can't really have a substantive debate in 140 characters or less. Google+ would be an acceptable alternative if a) anyone actually used it, and 2) it actually had a usable platform. Facebook is the only platform that allows one to engage in the kind of back-and-forth one would have in person. This makes them an 800 pound gorilla.

Therefore, screw Facebook. I am going off of Facebook for the foreseeable future. If they are not going to allow me to voice an opinion, I am not going to allow them to have any usable marketing data. I am going to change all my personal information so that it is completely false and useless. I am not going to be available on Facebook or Messenger. For people who need to reach me, they can do so by email.

I gotta lie down.

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