Friday Firesmith – Facebook and Bugs in Your Food

I’m not sure how long it will last, but I’ve left Facebook. At the end of the day, what I could say was time well spent versus what I knew was wasted time was exceedingly lopsided. What bothers me the most, I think, is it’s a platform that has no ethics when it comes to misinformation. For those of us who at least make an attempt to be as factual as possible, those out there who are spreading manure faster than the cows can make it, have us outnumbered and outgunned.

I belong to, or I belonged to, a group dedicated to reviewing the food, prices, and service at restaurants found in the Valdosta Georgia area. The Admin, and I as a moderator, decided never to allow bullying or cussing, or rude behavior. That was a fight, but after we started blocking people, things stabilized. However, the behavioral issues never truly went away. People like abusing other people online.

Then there was the “roach in the food” photos.  There was a period of time where random members of the group started showing photos of roaches in food at local restaurants. The problem was that in one photo, the table setting wasn’t the same as that found in the restaurant in question, and the plates were different, too. The person who posted the photo, when confronted with the evidence, then admitted they had seen the photo on someone else’s page and reposted it. That happened three or four times. And there was at least one stock photo that wasn’t even in Valdosta.

There were managers who were telling their employees to join the group to both promote their business and to defend it from bad reviews. That got weird, too.

But you see where all this is leading, don’t you? Integrity is hard to find. It’s nearly impossible to police. And FB isn’t trying at all to even remotely make sure that people don’t ruin other people’s lives with smear campaigns.

Worse, if you aren’t careful, you can find yourself scrolling down, hitting one of the emoji buttons, scrolling down, hitting the button, scrolling down . . . and suddenly you’re little more than a chicken trained to peck a button for a treat. You aren’t really investing in what you’ve seen, you’re not even going to remember it in fifteen minutes or so, but there you are, liking, or loving, or caring, or being sad, or laughing. Or are you?

At least here, at Friday Firesmith, we have Jon, who isn’t going to let things get out of hand, and he’s going to make sure no one gets too mouthy, too. (Even if it’s me) You have two choices, like it or not like it, and you can even choose to scroll on past to look at the photo of some guy nearly killing himself on a skateboard while trying to fly. But the difference is not only how the site is managed, but how people react to what they find here. Generally speaking, with a few notable exceptions, people have been pretty decent about how they disagree with me. FB doesn’t cull the stupid or the violent.

Dog Rescue and Snake Identification are the only two reasons for me to be on Facebook. Lives are saved and families reunited because of the Dog Rescue Groups that camp out on FB, and it is an incredible thing. At any given moment, someone out there is posting a photo of a snake, and discovering what it is, nearly instantly. That also saves lives, and that is a wonderful thing.

But I am worn down, and I am worn out by all the negativity on social media.

I need a break.

I need to reconnect with my life.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.
Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.


27 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Facebook and Bugs in Your Food”

  1. Facebook is Satan’s tool to reach people in urban areas where his snakes can’t go.

    There is a group, on facebook dedicated to my home town. I understand you have to be approved by the moderator to join, and have to be a member to even access. I’m getting the story 2nd hand from an old girlfriend but she tells me it runs well and people are civil. That may be because it’s small, I think the town is up to 3,000 these days, everyone knows everyone else or at least their family. Evidently groups with a specific purpose, like dog rescue, can work quite well.

    But having been a moderator for 10 years on a message board (not facebook), it’s a lot of work and can make you pretty down on humanity.

    On the up side I was contacted by not one or two but a number of nice people willing to share the secret of making $4 million dollars a month, working 38 minutes a day, with 4 day weekends off, in my bedroom… and believe me I’m no stud.

  2. I quit Facebook about six weeks ago. I had reached a point where I felt bad or dirty every time I used it. It wasn’t just one thing, it was the whole package that convinced me to leave.
    I have typed and erased an additional few sentences to be added to the above paragraph six different times, and I just can’t capture my feelings without writing way too much or sounding too flip if I try to pare them down. Just let me say I agree with Mike’s story, plus much more.
    I spent parts of three days going through ten years worth of posts, erasing mine, walking back likes, and removing my label from others posts and photos. Then I submitted my ID to the Facebook site that will permanent remove your name if you go four weeks without logging on even once. No, seriously, that is one of their requirements before removing you. So, I am now permanently gone.
    It feels great.
    Good luck, Mike!

    PS: Here is a site that will talk you through a permanent deletion.

  3. The unfortunate truth is that facebook does not care about you, your privacy, your quality of life, your safety, or your well-being. You are revenue.

    Not just facebook, but them and google are the big names. I joined facebook to keep up with family, and in ten years it has become so ugly we had to quit.

    I have noticed that face to face, people are overwhelmingly kind. It seems to be the ‘safety’ of anonymity that brings out the ugly. It has forced me to revert back to my 80s protocol – fewer online forums, less online purchasing and more driving to a local shop and getting to know the people who work there. It’s only been a couple months, but already I feel better about people and life in general. It’s familiar territory – I had just forgotten.

    Maybe people weren’t meant to have such loud voices?

    Thank you Jon for keeping B&P sane; it’s one of the few online homes I have left.

  4. I left Facebook about 8 years ago when I saw what “privacy settings” meant to them. I was working for a company that let you log in through Facebook instead of creating your own account, and you could connect with other people through our own network based on certain data provided by Facebook. There was more visible information about other people through our own database than through Facebook itself: Here’s someone on our system I might want to talk to about something. Let’s check out their Facebook profile for more info, but … it’s locked? Turns out that “share only with friends” didn’t prevent them from sharing your data beyond that. I spent the rest of the day removing just about every photo and post I could, and never posted there again.

    I spent several years on Twitter. For the most part, I kept to myself and built a personal wall, following things that interested me, blocking those who offended me, posting mainly about things that would never trend (El Brendel, Cop Rock), and occasionally offering technical or emotional support when I could. I got reasonable feedback much of the time but when I needed support myself, I got crickets. Once again, I spent the rest of the day kicking everyone off my follower/followee lists and never posted again. I just follow the news there now.

    These days, I just moderate Nextdoor. It’s a good excuse to be aware of local goings on, and not get involved in day to day discussions beyond smacking down the trolls, racists and sexists. I kinda feel like I’m contributing to the local community instead of an advertising service, which is what social media platforms really are.

    • Keith, the privacy nightmare bothers me a lot. I keep telling people all those FB games are nothing more than to get you to agree to surrender your data for free.

  5. I applied for a job and the application asked for my FB, Twitter and Instagram URL’s.
    I don’t have any social media accounts period, never have.
    Guess I wont even get an interview.
    Oh well, life goes on.

  6. I’m still on Facebook. It’s fairly obvious what my opinions are by the things I share. Although some things I share are purely interesting or funny in my opinion, and I think some of my friends may think so as well.
    I don’t waste my time arguing with people on social media, what’s the point? Most people’s minds won’t change and they are only there for the sake of the argument. They couldn’t care less about a civilized discussion. I have met one or two, actually from here.
    I guess I mostly stay on Facebook for entertainment, there are some things that have truly made me laugh. I also found my father again after 37 years, so there’s that.

  7. Now many of your recent posts on your blog website make sense – I thought it was starting to look like a farcebook feed! Usually it’s only your writing found there.

    I never got on farcebook, but I am guilty of checking up on old friends through my wife’s account every blue moon or so.

    Farcebook is like religion in many ways. It unites people who otherwise wouldn’t be, it causes wars that otherwise would not happen, and the overseers profit from it all.

  8. I like Facebook mostly because I can sort of keep up with family and friends that I just normally wouldn’t call just to chat with. BFB (Before Facebook) I would only hear from some cousins and relatives when someone in the family died. Then at the funeral, you say, “We need to get together more often” but never really do until there’s another death.
    I used to go through my entire Facebook timeline until I found the place I stopped on the previous day. That just became too time-consuming so I don’t do that anymore. I’ll usually scroll down a bit until I see something that takes me on a detour that I probably don’t return from.
    Of course, Facebook is a great reminder for the birthdays of friends, relatives, and my readers.

    • Jonco, your reasons for liking FB are almost the same as mine. I check a couple of times a day for messages, and notifications to see what family and friends are up to..We have 3 busy kids, and 8 grandkids, the older ones post photos of their skateboard, and mountain bike antics. The eldest son is an arty muso and posts his latest creations via instagram. On mother’s day this year the whole family sang along to son playing guitar, ‘You are my sunshine’ just for me, and it gave me a pleasant kick to read friends remarks about it.
      I get reminders about friends and relatives birthdays, and it may be a lazy way, but so handy to send good wishes.
      I’m old enough and wise enough to avoid the click bait.

    • Jon, if I could leave the rest of it alone, the birthdays alone would be worth it. But it’s like the free booze they hand out at casinos; once you start on one par the other follows!

  9. The only reason that I remain on fb is I am part of my company retirement group, Vietnam veterans my daughter, and two or three close friends. That is it.

    • Richard,

      I think FB lures a lot of us in with common interest groups and then it just gets out of hand. I once held pretty steady with two hundred friends. That lasted for years, then one day I woke up with twice that many and had no idea where most of them had come from.

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