Excuse me for asking, but I think it’s worth asking.
This question was prompted in a satirical hardcore publication: The Hard Times. It begged the question, “If Parler is conservative Facebook, then what the fuck is Facebook?”
Great question, right?
New conservative social media app Parler’s message is that they’re “uncensored” social media, despite having new users sign several terms of conditions before joining, all having to pledge some form of “you can’t say mean things here” or whatever. It’s crazy that white dudes can get so angry because Twitter or Facebook won’t let angry white dudes say the n-word.
In July, I published a YouTube video about Parler and its lack of a good user interface, or really any good user experience. The design is scrappy and dull, the actual experience is glitchy. There’s a lot that their design team needs to work on and it looks like a high schooler’s design project.
At the time, Parler was just released. They had gained traction thanks to many conservative pundits, such as Fox News’ Tomi Lahren or Ben Shapiro. Back in the summer, conservatives were upset because Twitter began censoring false statements about mail-in voting (which is 100% safe, by the way). Fast-forward to the fall and Parler is receiving even more praise thanks to U.S. (lame-duck) President Donald Trump and his baseless accusations about voter fraud.
Twitter has quite literally censored Trump’s tweets about voter fraud because they aren’t true. I think it’s crucial for social media networks to act like journalists in this instance. Journalism’s job is to prevent politicians from saying stupid stuff and getting people to believe it on the basis of fact. Journalism’s job is to hold leaders accountable. In a way, Twitter is part of that media circle. They are a medium and we should treat them like one.
Facebook has taken a slightly more subtle approach and flagged anything conspiracy-related as ‘disputed,’ whether it’s about the outlandish claims that Hillary Clinton was involved in a child sex ring or Wayfair’s supposed child trafficking through their very public website. Both have been debunked here and here.
Despite Facebook doing the semi-right thing and trying to block some of this information from spreading, it’s still worth mentioning that Facebook is the enemy. Whether they’re trying to buy out competition via manipulative tactics like they did Instagram and almost did Snapchat or selling users’ data, Facebook is not on your side.
Earlier this month, I wrote about ditching Google Chrome and their monopoly over software. Add to that list: Facebook and their monopoly over social media.
The only major social media companies that Facebook doesn’t own are Snapchat and Twitter. TikTok is obviously popular, but not to everyone. And Facebook is even competing with that thanks to Instagram’s new “Reels” subset.
It’s time to delete your Facebook account.
Who is still using it anyway?
Two years ago, Newsweek published this little gem titled “Facebook Is Officially For Old People.” And they’re absolutely right. Especially now.
Gen Z-ers are on Snapchat, they’re on TikTok. Where are they not? Facebook. And sure, grandma probably loves finding her recipes and sharing them on the platform, while grandpa loves posting racist shit, but Facebook is actually growing and it’s very weird.
Most of Facebook’s growth is happening in less-developed countries where Facebook claimed they’ll grow by 250 million users between 2019 and 2023. In less-developed nations, especially African nations, users don’t know they’re on the internet.
Why is that?
Facebook actually provides users with free mobile devices and Facebook as the sole app — again, free of charge.
This can actually become a problem, as the platform has amplified fringe extremism and it’s had deadly consequences. In Myanmar, for example, Facebook has been accused of inflaming violence after Rohingya Muslims have been the target of ethnic cleansing by the country’s Buddhist-led government.
In March 2018, Marzuki Darusman, the chair of a UN fact-finding mission on human rights in Myanmar, stated that Facebook’s controversial presence has “substantively contributed to the level of acrimony and dissension and conflict … hate speech and incitement to violence on social media is rampant, particularly on Facebook.”
This sort of behavior from Facebook is dangerous and the platform’s only claim is that they are focused on “connecting people” rather than face the consequences of their actions in which they’ve allowed hate-speech to thrive.
So should Facebook or Twitter be “censoring” speech?
If it’s harmful to someone else, yes. Absolutely.
The irony about Parler is that the platform is so poorly-designed that it’s users were actually running to Facebook to complain about Parler.
Using Parler as an alternative to Facebook isn’t really the best decision either since Parler is a news-focused platform whereas Facebook is geared towards friends and family. Parler is a better competitor to Twitter, but it doesn’t do a great job at that either since it has a small user-base and it’s app doesn’t promote community.
That’s where Twitter is brilliant: it combines it’s best about social media and promotes that sort of community we exited Facebook for. I do not want to advocate for social media as if Twitter is any better than Facebook — though it is, for a variety of reasons. All social media should come with a ‘surgeon general’ warning because consuming too much can be detrimental.
My point here is: delete Facebook.
And never look back.