Canaries In The Coalmine, Hopefully

A child runs away from the camera at night on a dark suburban street, the only light coming from a single street lamp.
I get that running-in-molasses feeling in my nightmares, but the worst feeling I get in dreams is not being able to read. True story.

Even my dreams are political now. The monsters that I have to run away from through molasses are white supremacists and capitalists. These are the times in which we live, and the social landscape has infused my unconscious mind.

I announced on Facebook that I am leaving Facebook. It is something I’ve contemplated for a while now, but every recent bit of news about how the company is being run is another stone adding to the mental weight of my participation.

This is not a news site, so I won’t give the full rundown, but my misgivings started with the revelations about Cambridge Analytica and Russian meddling in our elections. But there is more recent news. As I read each one, they became another stone in the bucket of my metaphorical soul.

Conservatives cry that there is an anti-conservative bias, which never is visible or documentable, and media outlets will bend to their whines to try to maintain their belief in the media’s “fairness.” The result of this play has been Facebook allowing right-wing institutions “fact-checking” powers that the social media platform never seems to give to left-leaning institutions. 

Parker Molloy has done a lot of work documenting how conservatives and the far-right have run their usual playbook of “working the refs” against social media in general and Facebook in particular. She reported this after we found out that Zuck has been secretly meeting with conservatives. When that was published, Zuck tried to pull the “I listen to both sides” defense. Of course, there is no documentation of Zuck meeting with union workers, trans activists, or Black Lives Matters. Zuck had and has no specific examples of meeting with anyone even center-left. 

More recently, Elizabeth Warren took advantage of the apparent Facebook policy against fact-checking politicians’ or public figures’ speech. She ran an ad on Facebook, stating Zuck endorsed our Cheeto in Chief’s 2020 campaign. Of course, having some dignity and integrity, she immediately debunked their own lie, in the text of the ad itself, making a point about how bizarre Facebook’s policy was.

Facebook immediately pulled the spot despite its public policy.

Zuck’s minions eventually restored the ad after their hypocrisy was exposed, which led to Zuck’s Harvard speech. His thin-skinned reactions to some of the Democratic candidates’ (OK, mainly Elizabeth Warren’s) campaign rhetoric and the threat of regulation, culminated in his stupid “we support free expression, and that means we can’t fact-check political ads” speech at Harvard last week. He gave remarkably fact-free defenses that Facebook could be a social good, using zero examples from within the existence of Facebook, instead focusing on the actions of civil rights activists like—wait for it—Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Hearing his testimony before Congress today, where he stammered incoherent defenses of his phony money scheme were the straw that broke my reluctance-camel’s back. I can’t, in good conscience, continue giving Facebook my eyeballs and attention. I posted today, and I’ll post regularly for the next week, to make sure the algorithm lets every one of my 369 friends and followers know: after Halloween, I will no longer be on Facebook.

I am present and active on several other platforms, not the least of which is this one (hello! thank you for reading this), and I will be sure to list all the ways to follow my antics and interact with me in the cyberspaces. One thing I will be doing is opening up regular comment posts here. Doing that will give all of you, my dear readers, the chance to comment on these posts. Take those opportunities to tell me when and where I’m wrong (which is fantastic; I want to know when I’m wrong, it’s how I learn and grow), and, most importantly, post memes and adorable animal pictures. 

Those posts will go up twice a week (unless they’re incredibly popular.) I’m thinking of one on Wednesday and one on the weekend. I’m working on a comment policy that will let haters, bigots, and authoritarians know they are not welcome here; I’ll post that shortly. What I do hope is that you, yes, you, reading this, will feel safe, respected, and comfortable, especially if you’re in one of the under-represented or oppressed categories of folk, like people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer, or anti-capitalist. This blog is open to you in particular. 

In the meantime, I know many of you have many reasons to remain on Facebook, but if you can cut ties at all, without losing touch with people you love and care about, I strongly encourage you to do so. If Facebook starts bleeding users, perhaps they’ll change course. It’s doubtful because the billionaire bubble is very real, but it’s at least one lever we can use to shift it. 

Something like Facebook or Twitter have the potential to be a net social good, for realsies. How they’re run today, however, ain’t it, chief.