Social mediums always carry a message; and Facebook especially does.
This has been a decision I’ve thought over for years. And now, it’s being realized. I’ll be shutting down my Facebook page for good. There are many reasons I wish to depart from this platform. But my biggest wish is that I could’ve seen the detrimental effects of this medium sooner…
Let me start by putting into perspective a popular phrase you’ve probably heard: the medium is the message. This is a quote from author Marshall McLuhan in his book “Understanding Media; the Extensions of Man.” The original text goes as follows:
In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded that, in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium – that is, of any extension of ourselves – result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.
In an article by Mark Federman, called “What is the Meaning of The Medium is the Message?” he breaks down what McLuhan meant by medium and by message. The medium is any extension of ourselves. A simple example would be holding a hammer in your hand. The hammer is the new medium we use to make our work less difficult and more thorough. Car wheels would be the extension of our feet, a faster means to get to each destination. None of these extensions are necessarily bad. But McLuhan was not concerned with what was obvious in the mediums, but what was underneath: the message. And the message, we will find, is not as perceivable. Federman explains it thus:
Note that it is not the content or use of the innovation, but the change in inter-personal dynamics that the innovation brings with it. Thus, the message of theatrical production is not the musical or the play being produced, but perhaps the change in tourism that the production may encourage. In the case of a specific theatrical production, its message may be a change in attitude or action on the part of the audience that results from the medium of the play itself, which is quite distinct from the medium of theatrical production in general. Similarly, the message of a newscast are not the news stories themselves, but a change in the public attitude towards crime, or the creation of a climate of fear. A McLuhan message always tells us to look beyond the obvious and seek the non-obvious changes or effects that are enabled, enhanced, accelerated or extended by the new thing.
So, how does this relate to social mediums? Though we can’t necessarily ‘hold’ an internet medium, its effects can still be felt. It’s still an extension from prior ones, like letters, emails, messengers, and etcetera. Facebook is a further one; but it’s not just a medium where we can keep in touch with friends and share our life and likes. That’s the obvious intent; but the groundwork of Facebook is far more controlling. It has its own agenda; and we’ve never seen it more clearly than when COVID-19 began.
On April 16th, an interesting article written by Jessica Bursztynsky came out on the CNBC website. The title was called, “Facebook will start warning people who ‘like’ or react to fake coronavirus news.” In this piece, we learn that Facebook will start rolling out warnings to Facebook users if they commented on ‘harmful’ COVID-19 posts that Facebook deemed to be ‘misinformation.’ Surprisingly, it was not this part of the article that stunned me. It was this:
After the WHO declared Covid-19 a global health emergency in January, Facebook started removing misinformation about the outbreak from its platforms. The company said Thursday that it’s removed hundreds of thousands of pieces of misinformation that could lead to physical harm, such as inaccurate content that says physical distancing is ineffective or drinking bleach cures the virus.
“We want to connect people who may have interacted with harmful misinformation about the virus with the truth from authoritative sources in case they see or hear these claims again off of Facebook,” Rosen said.
Let me list off some red flags here:
- Facebook started removing ‘misinformation’ in January. How did they know what was considered valid information then when nobody knew what the virus really was? According to the WHO, January was when the theory of the virus being spread by human-to-human transmission was introduced. But it wasn’t solid information to begin with! So, again, how could Facebook know what to classify as misinformation when everything at that stage was so unstable? This should give us reason to pause and question.
- If Facebook has removed hundreds of thousands of ‘misinformation’ from its site, how does that give us the right to think for ourselves? It’s as if I woke up in George Orwell’s “1984” and the Thought Police were after me. We don’t need Facebook to monitor what we choose to look at. If we live in such a knowledgeable age, then they shouldn’t deny us our rights to research the issue for ourselves. We should be allowed to create a dialogue and compare ideas with one another.
- ‘Inaccurate content’ might actually be accurate in certain circumstances. I wouldn’t recommend drinking bleach, of course (a rather interesting example for them to choose). But what if, through our own experiences, we noticed that social distancing wasn’t effective or that it was a bullshit idea from the start? I find it rather amusing that the WHO outline of COVID-19 is just as confused as everyone else. Quoted from their website: “This statement is updated on an ongoing basis, in response to evolving events and common media queries.” Why does it need to be changed so consistently? Either you get the story right or you get it wrong. But instead of the WHO owning up to their errors, they refer to their errors as ‘evolving events.’ I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it. If Facebook is censoring ‘misinformation’ based off of an organization that can’t get their story correct, this means it’s not about our protection. It’s about control. It’s a forced narrative that leaves anyone with doubt or questions labeled as a conspiracy theorist.
I can’t convince anyone of anything. I learned that a long time ago. But that doesn’t mean I can’t speak the truth. And once I saw the underground manipulation, the message, of Facebook, I couldn’t look back. I finally understood what McLuhan was trying to tell us back in 1964. So, if I’m awake now, I want to help awaken others, if I can. We are being silenced and censored by social media and it’s time to accept this reality. Popular programs like London Real have been censored viciously for having interviews that didn’t support the WHO’s agenda. I’ve seen multiple links on COVID-19 deleted by Facebook within minutes of the link being shared. We’ve got to stop putting our heads in the sand and willfully ignoring the problem. This is real! I’m not messing around; and neither should you.
Does this mean no one can use Facebook for the better? No. I tried that route before myself. Does this mean you should delete your Facebook account? No. That’s your decision to make. But I can promise you that there will be far more benefits letting it go than being constantly force-fed Facebook’s manipulative jargon. A lot of the negativity you feel in life is probably linked to Facebook. So, even if you don’t believe they’re twisting the corona story, you can at least be free from the debates and the fighting. You can begin to have some peace in your life.
So, the choice is yours. As for me, I’m saying farewell to Facebook. And good riddance.