Bye bye, facebookRead Now
Thank you for what you've offered me, but I'm leaving you now.
You've done a great job, in many ways, of bringing people together, and making the coordination of events particularly easy. There's been some genuine breakthroughs there.
And other things too - from birthday reminders to group suggestions - that you've done well. At times, you've brought people together - especially those that experience marginalisation through health, identity, beliefs, or interests - in a way that has probably saved them, or at least made the world more navigable. Thank you, for those things; they're not nothing, and you deserve credit.
But there are downsides to your service too, and I want to name some of them...
I don't personally mind the exchange of my data for your service - at least, now that I'm aware that that's what the arrangement is (it wasn't clear at first). But I feel for people for whom this has more dangerous consequences than it does for I.
I hate though that you've allowed this data to be used for nefarious purposes, such as changing elections. You've put your own profits in front of the greater ethical good many times, and avoided taking responsibility by saying that all you've done is created the tools, and it's up to others to regulate their use. That's technically true, but I feel every bit as good about that as I do when arms manufacturers say that guns are not the problem, people are. Stop welching on your ethical responsibilities, and stop protecting your clients.
I dislike the constant pings and reminders, across whatever device you can gain access to, constructed so carefully to get me back on your platform with the most seductive draw-cards you can find, then to keep me there by doing whatever it takes. It's so manipulative, especially when it masquerades as something you're doing to help me.
I am stunned that when anyone puts something to do with sex-positivity up, you manage to find it and take it down so quickly. And yet you're having so much difficulty working out what to do with actual threats or acts of violence. I'm sure it's complicated, and I know you're working on it, but it seems ludicrous that we're stopped from making love while making hate is apparently a grey area.
(Having said that, I appreciate that you got the unsolicited pussy-pics out of my in-box. For a few years there, I was getting at least a couple per week, from people that were only trying to scam me. You were slow to act, but got there in the end, and I appreciate that. I imagine it's hard to say yes to some parts of sexuality, but no to the less desirable parts).
It's an irony that Facebook has become so sex-negative, given its alleged roots. Kicking people off the social platform for merely having an interest in sex would seem to be the ultimate social shaming, and is doing nothing to further sex-education locally or globally. You are part of the problem with the way sexuality plays out, because in the absence of access to information, bad choices are made, and you're contributing to that. But there's more money in just saying no to it all, right?
But perhaps most of all, I hate the divisiveness. I hate that you've worked out that showing people something they totally agree with, or will totally react against, makes for better metrics for you. You've worked out ways to feed this back to your users, so that the most anger-filled and divisive are encouraged to write polarising and trauma-fueled tempests. These in turn garner a following and continue to destroy whatever the issue is and any chance of its resolution.
Somehow, you have made people that come to a conversation with compassion and understanding seem like they're apologists or that they're spineless. You have marginalised from your platform the very elders and leaders that can bring people together and create peace and progression of the issues.
But it's even worse than that - you haven't just quietened them down. Between you and Twitter (and others) you've managed to create a whole new form of social violence, where an angry mob comes together and bullies those that they don't agree with into submission. The left destroys individuals from the right, the right destroys individuals from the left. Your metrics go up, bodies are left in the middle, people are too scared to interact with the subject material, and we are not making progress.
You are not bringing us together, or anything like it. This... This is how you want to make money? This feels good to you?
Yes, the individuals involved in these processes need to realise what they're doing, and stop. But that'll be easier once you stop rewarding them, and stop telling them the polarising mess you're feeding them is 'news'.
You're like a boxing manager, with two players in a fight. So long as someone gets injured, you get paid, and all is good. It's a long, long way from being a 'social network'.
It's taken me an impressive amount of effort to get off you. Since I run a business, the process of setting up an alternative platform for our groups has taken months of work, and is now ongoing to maintain. In the process, we've lost a bunch of people, since not everyone's ready to be dragged onto yet another platform, which is fair enough.
But it's been an acceptable price to pay to have governance and agency over what happens. Our users are loving being able to control what they see, and how they interact with the platform.
And finally, knowing that everything I've set up is not about to be whipped out from under my feet because I said the word 'sex'... Well, let's just say you're out of the race now.
Thanks for what we had. At times it was really fun, and I felt like part of the revolution.
I hope you can learn and change, and in the meanwhile, I hope the damage you're causing is contained.
Rog is the driving force behind Curious Creatures, and the main author of this sexuality blog in Melbourne. They were brought up white, middle-class, mostly heterosexual, and male. They now identify as kinky, tantric, polyamorous, queer, and very, very curious. Are you curious? Read more about Rog and Curious Creatures.