A Life Less Analog, Technology

Facebook is a cancer that spreads racism and fascism

Technology column header

I’ve stopped using my Facebook profile. I haven’t deactivated it yet, and I’m still maintaining the Facebook page of Digital Life Asia. But I sincerely believe Facebook is a cancer and look forward to the day when I will no longer have to use it. In fact, I look forward to the day when no one will be using Facebook anymore.

I don’t think anyone actually likes Facebook these days. It’s toxic, amplifying our worst instincts, pushing extreme views, and highlighting our differences. Instead of bringing us together, it’s tearing us apart. Instead of being an online community for real people, it’s become the playground of paid trolls and the platform of choice of authoritarians.

Fake news

Image credit: Facebook Media Gallery
Image credit: Facebook Media Gallery

Facebook is a cancer that has been spreading fake news. Moreover, in the midst of protests in the US over the killing of African-American George Floyd, Mark Zuckerberg has defended Facebook’s hands-off approach toward Donald Trump.

This is in stark contrast to Twitter, which fact-checked Trump’s tweets, and whose CEO Jack Dorsey refused to back down. Even Facebook employees are revolting against Zuckerberg. For the first time, they are publicly criticizing him, and even staged a walkout. Now, advertisers are also taking a break from Facebook.

So why are people still using Facebook?

It’s a moral issue

You know all the jokes about Zuckerberg being an android?

Sometimes I’m really scared that he genuinely doesn’t understand what it means to be human. Or that he doesn’t know — or care — about the difference between morality and legality.

The cynic in me believes that Zuckerberg only cares about money. He wants his platform to continue being a moneymaking machine, even if it means pandering to Trump or other politicians.

You can see it in that video above, when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez grilled him. It doesn’t matter to him how incoherent his reasoning is. He will allow politicians to run ads that contain false or misleading information on Facebook, because he doesn’t care about morality. Obviously he knows how Facebook is being used as a weapon by authoritarians all over the world, including the Philippines.

But he doesn’t care. As long as he can get away with it legally, and as long as advertisers keep giving him money.

The monster they created

Even former Facebook executives who built the social network are expressing guilt over what they helped create.

Facebook was designed to get us hooked. That’s why even though it has turned into a monstrous thing that we don’t like, many of us use it because we’re addicted. Even though we know it’s harming society, manipulating elections, and destroying democracy.

Facebook is a cancer, and it is eating us alive.

Which makes me wonder how it feels to be a Facebook employee. To know that you work for a company which is destroying the lives of millions. And that you ultimately work for a man who knows that but just doesn’t give a damn.

Obviously I know it doesn’t matter to Facebook if I stop using their social network. But at least I won’t be part of this monstrosity anymore.