Why I Have Said No to Social Media
by Bill Lise
(Published June 26, 2022)
Although I have a LinkedIn account (which is arguably social media and discussed elsewhere), I trashed my Facebook and my (never posted to) Twitter accounts on May 5th (47 days ago as of this writing). I am not looking back, but there is perhaps some reason to explain my thinking regarding social media in general and Facebook in particular.
The Target Demographic is Not Me
There are surely others who feel that Facebook and its advertisers, many of them clearly criminal, are targeting a demographic unrelated to them. This aspect of Facebook was particularly abhorrent to me, and I continue to wonder why people persist in using Zuckerberg's surveillance and behavior-manipulation platform. Addiction appears to be the most likely cause.
Judging from Facebook advertising, the user demographic that Facebook is selling to its clients is a user with few salable skills and a highly risky level of credulity. Being desperate to escape from their current plight, both financial and social, is an added bonus to advertisers. Many of those advertisers are selling things like:
- cryptocurrency investment schemes;
- smartphone app-mediated gig work that pays out on the day of work;
- boat race gambling
- dating sites
- apps that help you deceive people on social media that you are something you are not (photo filters, hashtag generators, and worse); and
- services aimed at Asian laborers in Japan wanting to repatriate money earned here via things that look very much like underground banks (these formerly were aimed at Filipinas; the current target seems to be laborers from Vietnam).
You can see how uplifting these ads are and how down-market Facebook thinks its potential victims are.
But You Can Use a Plug-in to Block the Ads, Can't You?
Yes, that works when you are accessing places like Facebook from your laptop or other full-function computer. It does not work with the Facebook smartphone app.
But even if you use an ad-blocking plug-in, although you might not see the ads, you are still participating and aiding a business predicated on victimizing desperate and credulous people who are not too bright.
And hiding from the ads in that way is like going to an event populated by thieves but wearing a specially designed pair of eyeglasses that render the criminals invisible to you. You would still be at that event, and the organizer of the event would still be gaining money from the criminals because you showed up. And, worse yet, the organizer would still be placing ads on behalf of their criminal advertisers based on your behavioral data, which you cannot hide behind those magic eyeglasses. You would be no more protected than an ostrich with its head and the sand but still inviting people to butt fuck it while it hides.
There is a World Outside of Social Media
With the Covid-19 pandemic still here, significant face-to-face meetings have been stopped for over two years. But I trust the pandemic will end, perhaps by the end of this (the third) year or sometime during 2023. I believe we will get there. In the meantime, resourcefulness is going to be needed. Thinking beyond social media is a good first step, unless of course you match the ideal Facebook target demographic, something nobody should boast about.