Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Trouble With The Almighty Social Network Facebook And Why We All Should Stop Spending So Much Time There

Facebook, it's become part of our lives every bit as much as the telephone has. Mark Zuckerberg created the ultimate in social networks that went beyond just connecting colleges  and university students; it connected the world. I won't be a hypocrite about it because I use Facebook. I like being able to stay in contact with relatives, friends, people I have met, networking with other creative minds, and let's not forget the world of the role players and other artistic folks. So what is the problem? Where do you want me to start?

Facebook is the breeding ground for online bullying, hate groups, cat fishing, fraud, and drama worthy of an entire season of Jerry Springer complete with stripper pole. I am not for censorship and I stand beside the 2nd Amendment from the US Constitution even when it comes to idiots and hate groups spewing forth their idiocy. What grinds my gears and makes me madder than a wet hen is that they choose either personally or by automated checks on what they will moderate and what they will not. I want to disclose this here and now-Facebook is not moral. It's not their job to protect any of us users. It's not. They put guidelines down to protect themselves. They're a corporation; a publicly traded company and they only care about what won't come back to bite them in their backsides or cost them money. Facebook Inc. IS in this for the money. Mark Zuckerberg didn't create Facebook as a public service. We've all seen the movie, The Social Network. No where in that movie did it convey that he created it for the masses for nothing more than to have his name attached as Creator and nothing more. Sorry, there's only one person who has continually given un-selfishly, and he's fictional and drives a sleigh at Christmas. I'm not hating on Mark though. I am hating the fact that there's just so much wrong with Facebook and the innocent and what's right with the network are being spit on and deleted.

For people like me, writers and those wanting to promote themselves and their businesses, Facebook is a great tool to use. However, at any given time one's page or group can be deleted for nothing more than some one's opinion. Not long ago, my dear friend and fellow author had posted a picture of a very good looking male model. The man was nude but he was not posed in a pornographic way-just the opposite. It was a very artistic rendition of the male form and the picture was reported for being indecent. There was no genitalia or inner butt crack, which by movie and television standards must be covered along with a woman's nipples. Now this author who does have steady book sales and quite a fan base, is locked out of her group account for seven days. How does one get reported? It is quite simple. If a page or group gets more than one person (or an IP address with multiple accounts-which violates Facebook Terms of Service) to report an account by clicking by their name, then the page is flagged and either a human tech or automated one will check the page or suggested item that is flagged. It doesn't matter if the person(s) reporting are from the same IP address or if someone who is trolling or just wanting to cause trouble is reporting falsely. Facebook could care less. Again, they are not here for you or I; but themselves.

Facebook should care about people but they don't. I'm not sure any social network out there actually does but since Facebook is the most widely used, one would think they might grow a conscience and decide to at least be more user friendly rather than cram updates, apps, games, and more changes down our throats. It's getting more and more costly just to use Facebook in one way or another. Online bullying on Facebook is rampant as is just the average citizen who constantly throws their own tantrums and such causing misery for other users because again, Facebook isn't monitoring them. Cat fishing and other scams are pretty commonplace as well. Facebook does not work with local law around the nation's sexual predator lists-so Facebook is to a pedophile what Toys R Us would be to a kid. Sadly, there's no place online that is going to be 100% free of this since the World Wide Web gives users anonymity.  Anyone can be anyone and danger can wear the mask of innocence when it comes to the Internet especially concerning social networks.

I've spoken about cat fishing and I want to stop a train of thought before it gets started. Role Players are not cat fishers. A large percentage of Facebook users are men and mostly women who in the spirit of being the ultimate fans of comics, games, books, movies, or even their own creations create pages so they can let their love of subject/character and creativity shine through. It's no different really than those people on You Tube that make videos. Everyone wants to have their own entertainment. Facebook however, has been making strides to eradicate Role Players and I am not sure as to why that is. They will allow hate groups and what not but pick on peaceful people who love theatrics, drama, and creating stories. All of these groups for the most part are rated so that underage children cannot gain access to them and are as safe as any other Facebook profile if not more because there are actual human beings who are moderating around the clock. As with anything there are good role players and groups and then there are bad ones. It's all a matter of doing just a bit of research and communicating with the people in these groups to feel out which ones are legit and which ones are harmful and toxic. Many great groups have been punished for nothing more than being ultimate fans and creative persons. There is no appeals and no human person to go to when a legit group is reported.

I can keep going on and on but artistic and creative people are not wanted on Facebook. Facebook gives the illusion that it's a social media for all, but in reality-they want those who are going to generate money and all us common folk-don't do it. It's like being in high school and while it's a public school, the A listers and the "In" crowd are going to set the tone and bully when they can and when they want.  So maybe, we should all find our own social network. Mark can't be the only one that has mastered the HTML Coding and programing. Facebook can't be the only way in which human beings can communicate and network on the World Wide Web, can it? Perhaps, we should all stop spending so much time and money on Facebook. It's a corporation that is using us far more than we are using it.