Monday, January 15, 2018

Doing a Facebook Purge, a Review and Commentary

By C. M. - January 15th 2018.

Facebook isn't just any website.

It is the 3rd most popular website in the world after Google and YouTube. (See https://www.alexa.com/topsites for the list of top sites.)

As a social network (the first truly popular social network) it has played an important role in the last decade of helping people to communicate, socialize, organize events and meet new people with similar interests.

But it is also broken.

Don't take my word for it. Mark Zuckerberg (the creator of Facebook) recently said his new goal (resolution?) in 2018 is to fix Facebook. He has realized it is broken and needs to be fixed.

The realization came to Zuckerberg after the revelation that the Russians had manipulated Facebook with fake news reports to influence American voters into voting for Donald Trump. This kind of sophisticated election tampering by the Russians went unnoticed until it was too late.

"I started doing these challenges in 2009," Zuckerberg wrote in the post on his Facebook page earlier this month. "That first year the economy was in a deep recession and Facebook was not yet profitable. We needed to get serious about making sure Facebook had a sustainable business model. It was a serious year, and I wore a tie every day as a reminder."

"Today feels a lot like that first year. The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do -- whether it's protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent."

"My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues. We won't prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools. If we're successful this year then we'll end 2018 on a much better trajectory."

 However...

This is not why I am doing a Facebook Purge today.

I am personally doing a Facebook Purge because of the following reasons, in order of significance.

#1. I find myself too often arguing with morons and jerks.

Yesterday I made a comment on a group about how admins have to balance free speech with the desire to moderate and remove hate speech. I said it was a balancing act. Yeah, metaphors. And wouldn't you know it, one moron decides to disagree with me and says it is not a balancing act, you just make rules and then stick to them.

Oh really? What rules? How do you make the decisions of what to allow and what not to allow?

So for example the admin in that particular (male dominated) group was banning racist comments. But sexist comments were probably still okay, as male dominated groups tend to not worry about sexist comments. Thus the admin is still making decisions about what to allow and what not to allow... which makes it a metaphorical balancing act.

And I have to explain this to the moron who just doesn't get it.

So one of the things I will be doing today is purging Facebook groups that I find to be a waste of time. Groups where people just argue most of the time.

For example I am a member (or was a member until today) of the Toronto Vegetarian Association (https://www.facebook.com/torontoveg/).

I joined that group because I like eating more vegetables. I am not a vegetarian or a vegan. I was simply a person who wants to eat healthier and I was hoping people on there would be posting recipes, events for foodies, that sort of thing.

Instead what I routinely see on there is people complaining about the meat industry or the fur industry, arguing about organic food, free range chickens, and a whole host of other topics.

Worse, vegans and vegetarians have a tendency to be jerks. Or sometimes morons. Sometimes both.

And so I am leaving groups like that too, because frankly they are not posting the food recipes I had hoped they would be. I should have just joined a cooking group.

So why am I wasting my valuable time arguing with morons and jerks?

So I will be purging every Facebook group I consider to be a waste of time.

#2. Finding more time for groups I admin.

I am the admin of various groups and part of this Facebook Purge process will be deciding which Facebook groups I want to keep being the admin of, and whether those groups need a set of rules so that people know that I expect a certain level of behaviour.

So for those groups I am keeping, I will be posting a set of rules. Hopefully this will discourage people from being jerks - and thus I won't be bothered as much to decide whether to ban people who are disruptive jerks posting racist/sexist comments.

Although I admit, there is a certain kind of joy that comes from banning a person from a group and sending them a message that tells them why I kicked them out. That part is certainly enjoyable.

#3. Friends and people I barely know who waste my time.

Sometimes you end up being friends with people whom you have not seen in years. They move away, you stop hanging out, but you still talk to them regularly on Facebook.

Some of them I have realized... they're just a waste of time.

Some of them are even argumentative jerks and morons and yet I am still friends with them. Clearly I need to dump them and purge them.

#4. Wasting time when I could be doing something more productive.

Facebook is a huge time waster.

I currently spend at least hour every day talking (sometimes arguing) with people on Facebook, clicking Like and so forth.

A lot of it is things that don't even matter to my day to day life.

What I need to do is prioritize things that are my close friends, the people I actually socialize with, and family.

Everyone else is basically me wasting time on Facebook with cat videos and things that have little or no bearing on my life.

#5. I have a son now.

And I would rather be spending time with my son. I routinely post photos of him on Facebook (to share with his grandparents, other family members and friends who also have kids). But if I cut down on the wasteful Facebook time, that means more time spent with my son (possibly taking more photos of him).



So what about you? Should you do a Facebook Purge too?

Probably a lot of us should purge how much we use Facebook.

Just imagine how much more free time we would have to do something productive instead of all the time we waste on Facebook.

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