According to a story in The Wall Street Journal, Facebook has known conclusively for a long time that its “algorithms exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness” and that “if left unchecked,” it would feed users “more and more divisive content in an effort to gain user attention & increase time on the platform.”
Basically, it went unchecked.
Interestingly, most of the perpetrators and offensive issues are on the far right. The crap tends to be spread by ultra-heavy users who are on Facebook as much as 20 hours a day.
If you weren’t already nuts, seeing 20 hours a day of Facebook ads would put you around the bend tout de suite.
Personally, I don’t think Facebook can be saved. It is already a cesspool of negativity and misinformation (not that your family vacation photos are any more interesting, either). So, I say to everyone who is not a Trumper, jihadist, Nazi, racist or fascist: Close down your account and wait for someone else to open “Facebook II, For The Rest of Us.” Just turn FB1 over to the crazies and let them amuse each other.
Facebook II would correct everything that is wrong with FB1, including the algorithms that compel longer and more varied viewing. It would have no groups, no likes, no shares and no collection of user information. No fake names. No links to anything that smacks of hate or misinformation.
To be on the safe side, let’s also eliminate anything that congratulates kids for normal life accomplishments like graduating and recreating in exotic places like ski slopes and beaches. No more mourning the dead, celebrating births or stating “how proud” you are of Junior.
While we are at it, no pictures of people holding cocktails — especially if they are at a party that did not include you. I realize that showing off what you just pulled out of the oven or are about to chow down on has been a big self-quarantine hobby, but let’s wrap that as well. If you can’t hand out samples, don’t publish it.
Let’s also eliminate any call for the best books you’ve read or your favorite streaming series. Just don’t care. No one does (except maybe your mom in Iowa).
I am of two minds when it comes to pet videos: No and never.
FBII will also ban any photos where the subject sticks out his/her tongue or makes a fake gang sign with their hands. Also gone will be any picture where folks in the foreground pretend to interact with giant structures in the far background. The goddamned Leaning Tower of Pisa will still lean, no matter how hard you “push.”
The new Facebook will also block any links to YouTube after 11 p.m. No more staying up until 2 a.m. watching old George Carlin and Richard Pryor routines. And let’s everyone stop with the TED talks. ZZZZzzzzz.
Every day Trump does or says something incredibly stupid, uninformed and generally infantile. FBII will eliminate links to stories that go into depth on just how incredibly stupid, uninformed and generally infantile that thing was. We should have learned by now that if he says it, it is just wrong.
Besides, all of his supporters will have stayed on Facebook 1.