Facebook is advertised as the chain that links people and societies together. Mark Zuckerburg, Facebook's big cheese, claims that the website exists to "create a more connected world." To me, Facebook (and other (a)social media) are websites that end up sucking people's time from their lives, leaving them with negative thoughts of jealousy, anger, sadness, and regret. However, there is another sinister side to Facebook that I have not talked too much about. It is an important aspect of Facebook that has caused great damage in many lives. I have seen it firsthand in my own life. It is using Facebook as a weapon. Below I will discuss a few ways in which Facebook is used as a weapon. I may have left something out. If you see something that should be added, or if you want to share your own experiences, please leave a comment.
Relationships and friends are vitally important to Facebook users. (a)social media would not exist without all the online "connections" that exist between people. Yet, sometimes people get angry at others, or do not agree with their views and, as a result, punish them. This is most often done by unfriending the person.
Unfriending oftentimes is used to send a strong message to the other person. It's a message that states that the person is angry at you and has acted on that anger. It is a message that states that you did something wrong and that you should be sorry. The wrong could be anything - minor or major. It could be a differing political view, your religious views, or the fact that you said something wrong on Facebook (which is a real danger since many people have no personal filter when it comes to writing on Facebook). It could be that that the person just does not like you. It could be that the person wants to control you. No matter what reason it is, if you are using Facebook as a form of punishment, you might want to think about the maturity of such an action.
I have unfriended people before when I was a Facebook user. I tried to do it in a way that they would not notice it. I do not like to hurt others. There are legitimate reasons to remove a person as a friend on (a)social media. For example, if you do not know that person well and there is no real relationship, you might as well move on. However, even when fighting with a person over a personal view, should you remove them? I think that when the friendship seems totally irreconcilable, then it's time to say goodbye. Yet, the truth is, I see too many people unfriend a person to friend them a few days later and pretend nothing happened. It ends up looking and feeling awkward. It is a waste of time.
As a Facebook user, you are bound to be a part of the "friend and unfriend merry-go-round" that is part of the Facebook culture. Historically it has never been normal to be exposed to every political view and every aspect of all of your friends and acquaintances lives. Some stuff is made public on the internet that is really none of my business and I should have never known about a person. And, I am sure that I said some things that were better kept between me and my family (or just to myself). The truth is, we talk far too much on Facebook, and that talking gets us into serious trouble more often than not.
Liking One Person's Posts and Ignoring Another's
Some people use the like button as a weapon. Some will like every post but yours or ignore your posts on purpose. I have seen people that would like every one of another person's pictures. Hundreds of pictures. Almost each and every one. Yet, this person rarely liked anything that another person that was related to her. It caused some jealousy issues and made that other person feel left out. This blatant favoritism can be used as a weapon to control another. It is an issue that many deal with. If you are dealing with this in your own life, could you please explain to me why you are on Facebook?
Trolling and Lying
Some people use Facebook as a means to troll others. It is not yet as bad as Twitter, which is full of some of the the most vile comments on the internet, but many are trying to troll others on Facebook and some are devising some new ways to get at others as I write this. While this is harder to do when people make private profiles, trolls do exist through various news stories and political posts. Many people have created famous memes and images that have been used to troll the world into believing something that is completely fake. And people mistake these outright lies for knowledge and they share it with others. How sad.
Bragging to Make Others Feel Inferior
Bragging about life is another way in which Facebook is used as a weapon. In the wake of the tragedy in France, a Facebook user told me that he was bragging about his great apartment that overlooked One World Trade Center, which was all lit up in the French tricolor. This was said to be an attempt to outdo a relative who was sharing his sympathy about the attacks. Seriously? Many are on Facebook for the sole purpose of bragging about their careers, leisure time, lifestyles, educational attainments, money, etc. Some will use any excuse to brag about their lives. Many of these people do so to get at relatives/siblings, ex-girlfriends/boyfriends, spouses, friends, classmates, etc. Wealth comes and goes. We all live and die. So why are you wasting your time on the internet instead of enjoying life? If you are bragging about life and are glued to Facebook, you really have nothing at all to brag about. Facebook addiction is not anything that should be envied, and instead of bragging about your life, you should come to this site and see why Facebook and (a)social media is toxic.
Why Do You Spend Time On Facebook? Don't You Have Better Things to Do With Your Life?!
I have written a lot on this website about how I feel Facebook is a toxic pastime. I have said over and over for the past few years how Facebook is a time eater that gives a person nothing back for the amount of time that is spent on the site. Facebook may also be a tool to gather information from individual users, and a huge part of the world is willing to freely share their lives and personal information on the internet because they are addicted!! You are giving your private data out to a company that has shown over and over again that it can not be trusted, yet many do not care. Many do not care that they log off the site feeling depressed and self loathing. Many do not seem to care that they go through each day feeling lethargic due to the comparisons that they have made with other people. Many will place themselves on a website where they are exposed to constant bragging and political nonsense. What is the gain? Tell me that. The main excuse I hear is that it "allows me to keep in touch with others." Would the world be so horrible if you had to keep in touch with others through e-mail or via phone? Would your life really be that awful if you did not have hundreds of connections through an (a)social media website?
How we spend our time is a choice. I hope you make the right choice and spend your time in a positive, uplifting and productive way. Being on Facebook is not a positive, uplifting or productive pastime. Nobody has been able to tell me with a straight face that their time spent on their personal Facebook page has been productive. You are wasting your time. But, the good news is that you can leave at any time you wish! You can end it all and enter into a more full life. Now is the time for change. It feels good to let go. You will be tempted to return. I won't deny that. Even I have been tempted over and over again, and I have given in a lot. Every time I am smacked alongside the head by something I read. Every time I am baffled by the time I waste on the site. Even if it is just fifteen minutes a day - it adds up. Yet, it is rarely just fifteen minutes a day. It's usually much, much more. How much time are you serving on Facebook? Are you a prisoner to (a)social media? Then do yourself perhaps the biggest favor you have ever done in your life: Quit now. Your life will be much better. That's something I truly believe and that's why I am still writing on this website years after creating it. Stay strong and don't give into the pressure to be on these websites. Remember, it is your choice, it is your life. Unconnect from (a)social media and reconnect with the world.