There is a distinct anti-Facebook rhetoric in my news uptake these days. In my own attitudes towards the social media as well, I feel an inherent disgust towards what Facebook stands for. My distaste of the notification-for-attention market system has been strong enough to encourage me to wipe every item that has ever appeared on my wall as well as every message that I have sent and received during all the years that I have been a content-laborer on Facebook.
In my heart, therefore, there is no love for Zuckerberg, and yet, I cannot sympathize with the calls to a full departure from Facebook and Facebookistan. This latter being Instagram, Telegram, and any other service whose data is funneled into Facebook’s databases. I don’t think leaving Facebook is a particularly good solution and before I can meaningfully speak of a solution, I need to have first defined the corresponding problem. Here it is, the problem for which I will later attempt to suggest a solution.
Facebook proposes to build a unique relationship with every individual human being 13 years of age and older, wherein agents of the company shall give pleasure to the human signatory to the contract. In return, Facebook is not asking for anything. Facebook’s official mission statement of “to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together” in lay terms means that Facebook claims to be offering a service which is one hundred percent flawless and, as if that was not good enough, Facebook is not asking for anything in return. Not even one cent for a lifetime of use. No. Facebook is the ideal cure for the human predicament and it is free as well.
If any human being has taken the above fantasy anything but what belongs to the same perpetually growing garbage heap that spews out The Tick, then, I would ask if something in the genes of that Homo sapiens is the most appropriate candidate for extinction.
It might have been in fact so that Facebook learned along the way how to best squeeze cash out of its customers’ loyalty. Here, “customer” is my preferred term for what may be more commonly addressed as a “user” of Facebook. In my opinion, we did not “use” Facebook; we were in fact in a relationship with Facebook, wherein we were given never-imagined capabilities in return for our attention. Let’s imagine, for example, the possibility to enjoy an instant video chat with someone on the other side of the planet. Five hundred years ago, if you described the concept of a video chat, you had effectively entered your name in the list of questionable characters maintained by the local agent of the Inquisition. And yet, Facebook has made it possible to every one of its 2.27 billion users for free.
Hence, Facebook has been an investment for every one of its customers. And as with any investment, the cost of maintaining ownership and the return that the investment yields over time fluctuate as it matures. It is imaginable that at some point during the life of any investment it may appear as a complete waste of effort or, on the opposite end, an unbelievable gain. Nevertheless, unless maintaining a zombie presence on Facebook is a detriment to one’s state of being, in any shape or form, then I don’t see why one would delete her Facebook account instead of erasing everything in it and letting it freeze.
The proposition that a dormant existence on Facebook is superior to a complete exit, yields a rather desirable side-effect as well. In practice, as long as I have an account on Facebook.com, I am a stakeholder. Hence, whenever Facebook attempts to take another exploitatory step, not only it has to crush the resistance of anyone still active in Facebookistan, but also, every freed up soul who will now return to Facebook for a cause.
I’m not deleting my Facebook account. I am maintaining it in order to protect everyone who is still plugged in.
p.s. Sometime soon let’s also talk about flooding Facebook’s algorithms to the point of complete disorientation through unleashing content generation bots on any piece of hardware that we can get our hands on.