I'll admit it. During the height of the pandemic, I turned into a Facebook junkie. Glued to the screen at all times of the night and day, sometimes missing sleep, meals, and other things I needed to do. It was more than my full-time job, it had become my life. But this was no waste of time, I had an important mission I was trying to accomplish: to stop the spread of evil in America. I needed to do what I could to influence an extremely important election that was coming up. Many were saying the most important election in our lifetime. Wait, didn't they say that about the last election? And weren't all the same people who said that then saying the same thing now? Never mind, it was vitally important that I stay vigilant on Facebook, including waking up at 3 am and checking on my latest posts, seeing how many likes they received, how many commented on it. The more that said I was right and good, the better. And if they didn't like it or perhaps dared attack me and my position? Well, I had to attack them back, assassinate their awful characters with a snippy, barbed post showing the world their obviously hideous faults. After all, they are part of the evil that is bent on destroying America as we know it. If you're not with us in this battle, you're against us. Me? I was merely a warrior fighting for the future of America.
I went to my post “This jerk running for president needs to be in jail, not running for office!” It received 1,537 likes! That must be a record. If I keep this up, I'll be instrumental in turning this election around, defeating the forces of evil trying to destroy this country. Maybe they'll be naming streets after me one day, writing stories about my great victories of the battles I waged on Facebook. Who knew a great American hero would rise from the pages of a social platform to defeat the forces of evil and turn America into the great country it was meant to be. And that hero could be me! I must keep my diligence for posting on Facebook up. I must continue the fight against these terrible forces. If not me, who? If not now, when? But wait, I'm getting awfully sleepy. It's already 7 am and I've only slept three total hours last night. I know, I'll go to the 24-hour coffee shop and get a mocha java latte to go. A large mocha java latte, with a triple shot of espresso and whipped cream on top. That'll keep me going. Hmm, I only have one dollar and twenty-five cents. That makes me $7.32 short. Perhaps if I bring my laptop I can show the cashier the 1,532 likes my post received on Facebook. I'm doing vital, instrumental work for the future of America. Surely, the coffee barista will give me that large mocha java latte with a triple shot of espresso and whipped cream on top for free. That's the least she can do for a great American hero who is going to save this country with his posts on Facebook. Then I can leave my one dollar and twenty-five cents as a tip to the barista. It's a win/win/win. A win for me, a win for the barista, but, most importantly, a win for the future of America.
I know I wasn't the only Facebook warrior fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. In fact, there were tens of thousands of others in the groups I belonged to on Facebook, quite a number of whom I had friended. We shared many fine posts, exchanging brilliant and witty memes, intelligent comments, pointed, insightful dissections of what is wrong in America. Sometimes laughing at the obtuse, hateful morons of the opposition, our avowed enemies, especially when they claimed we were the evil ones. Us? They're joking, right? Everyone can see how hideous and awful they are, what terrible, angry, hateful people they've become or always have been. And we, the loyal, patriotic, and determined opposition knew it was our sacred duty to oppose them, bring them to their knees with logic and brilliant insight. Defeat them on the battlefields spread across Facebook's groups and elsewhere on social media, as well as the comment sections in news articles. And we had to be ruthless about it, spare no prisoners. We laughed at their tears, smirked at their rage, and chuckled at their attempts to foolishly explain their positions which were so laughably stupid we only needed to make a short, brilliantly truthful comment to eviscerate their stances. Their weak, indefensible positions, which were really just lies, hideously ugly, and mean-spirited lies. We were an army of warriors. An army of true Americans who believe in what America stands for. So we will continue to wage war on electronic battlefields using words and truth to stamp out our evil foes or, if they are smart, win them over to our side, shoring up our troops, while diminishing the rotten, diseased opposition.
The first time I got suspended from Facebook it was a 24 hour ban for “bullying”. What a laugh! How can you bully a bully? The person was saying terrible things about our side, the side of what's good, just, and what America is really supposed to stand for. It was my duty to write a truthful response, to state his obviously low IQ and ancestry that clearly came from the shallow end of the gene pool. I was merely stating obvious facts. How can that be bullying and get me suspended from Facebook?
Nevertheless, I served my suspension bravely. Though I will admit, there were moments during that 24 hour period where I would try to post a necessary, harsh rebuke to some nitwit's post of lies, raging anger, and hate only to have the comment completely vanish once I hit “post” along with a pop-up window reminding me of my suspension. Oh, well, a small price to pay for being a warrior for the truth, trying to counter and defuse the worst amongst us in America. Though I thought my inability to even do a “like” or thumbs up on posts I agreed with was taking the entire suspension thing way too far. Is that somehow considered “bullying” too by Facebook?
As soon as my first suspension ended, I dove back into Facebook, gobbling up the posts in my news feed and groups. Why are so many of the posts in my news feed so negative, full of so many terrible things being done by terrible people usually to innocent and good people? Is the entire country turning into a hideously ugly, hateful place? I had to redouble my efforts, be the first to post the latest article or meme of how awful the other side is, the first to respond to some mean and hateful post from the bad side of humanity. After all, if the opposition got their dream candidate in, this country was ruined. I had to continue the fight for America's future.
Within a week I received another suspension. Some idiot made a comment about a famous woman of color whom he said was really a male monkey. I simply responded that it was clear he had such a small manhood that he suffered from penis envy even when it came to women. I thought a reasonable enough witty insult, especially to a sexist racist. He reported me to Facebook and again I was banned for“bullying”, this time for 7 days. Really? So he can make a horrible racist and sexist comment but my little barb, which is funny to everyone who is not a bigoted racist, is suddenly “bullying”? On top of it, his comment stayed up, so I guess it was perfectly acceptable by Facebook's standards. It was at this point that I started to get suspicious of Facebook's judgments and perhaps their motives.
It was during this suspension that I read several interesting articles about how Facebook programmed its algorithms to heavily favor negative reactions, particularly the angry emoji giving it five times more value than the “like” emoji. It would then news feed these members more content that was more provocative, likely to make them angrier and thus become even more engaged, staying on Facebook longer, reading and ranting about posts that upset them and making them prime high dollar advertising targets. The longer you stay on the platform, the more emotionally wound up you are, the more likely you are to be influenced by advertisements, especially ads that sold products and services that appealed to one with a heightened emotional state, perhaps selling firearms, weapons, protection services, survival equipment, and so on. After all, these people already believe they're at war and they need the necessary tools to fight such a war, right? In other words, Facebook was selling and fomenting anger and hate merely to fatten their advertising coffers.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized Facebook was creating a market much like the Sackler family did with Purdue Pharma for the opiate they made billions from, OxyContin. Market their product as relatively harmless, non-addictive, actually good for those who use it as well as society at large and create uncountable addicts who feverishly keep coming back for more, making the producers of the poison wealthier and wealthier. It can very easily be argued this type of profiteering is an evil that hides behind corporate banners, immune from real criminal liability and, worst-case scenario, the corporation being fined a fraction of the money they made in profits, except never denting the personally owned billions made from that same toxic product because their personal fortunes were exempted from lawsuits. Then restructuring that same company into one with a different name that goes on with business as usual.
The difference between Facebook and Purdue Pharma is instead of swallowing, snorting, or perhaps even injecting little opioid pills the users of Facebook are swallowing and even mainlining racism, bigotry, hate, rage, and the panic that if they don't keep at it, their world will fall apart. Whether they are further peddling such poisons on the social platform or merely fighting the good fight against hate, you have a dedicated, addicted, feverishly engaged audience of all political beliefs that are prime targets for very lucrative advertisements. Dedicated algorithms selectively and accurately feed them articles and posts that keep them hardcore addicts to hate and rage or the fight against them.
Coming to the realization that I was merely a manipulated Facebook addict, living practically full-time awash in spoon-fed hate and rage, I began to question the effectiveness of my fighting on Facebook to reduce such hate and rage. Did a clever post or comment I made that received hundreds, perhaps thousands of likes really make any difference in this battle I once saw as essential and necessary? Was I only preaching to the choir on one side and steeling the resolve of the others who were even more determined to spew their hatred and cruelty? I concluded that a few thousand likes on Facebook and $8.57 can get me a large mocha java latte, with a triple shot of espresso and whipped cream on top and not much of anything else. It certainly very likely won't sway a single voter in any upcoming election, other than the always undecided independent voters whose very dubious judgment and last-second decision to vote too often depends on the final sound bite they hear prior to getting into the voting booth. In other words, I'm just like everyone else on Facebook, mostly talking to myself out loud on a social platform that has as much lasting value as a chain smoker's last cigarette as she reaches for her next smoke.
My last ban on Facebook is what pushed me over into the category of person who no longer cares what is posted on their news feed and political groups, knowing my participation is just as much a waste of time, energy, and my life as playing a slot machine that is programmed to eventually take all my money if I play it long enough. I had already become a lot less engaged and only made little comments on occasion, in a much calmer fashion, mostly as an attempt to wean myself from the feverish pace I had been doing for the months prior.No one likes to go cold turkey, no matter how awful and sick their addiction had been making them, which is the true sign of an addict who promises to have “just a quick one”. I had read a post in a group about a dangerously deranged member of Congress who repeated QAnon's laughably absurd claim that the wildfires in California were caused by giant Jewish space lasers as part of a diabolical Zionist plan to disrupt and then somehow rule the world. The comment I made was that such mentally unwell bigots are so off the sanity and civility charts that if they can't find enough hate to spew, they merely make more up. My comment was deemed “hate speech that goes against Facebook's community standards” and earned me a 30-day ban. What? Talking about the hate and hateful nonsense others spew is “hate speech”? And what community standards of Facebook regarding hate are we talking about exactly? The same standards that fomented further hate with algorithms feeding hate-filled angry posts including those about actual hate groups and related paid ads to those with a visceral reaction to such posts? Those community standards?
It's ironic that those who post on Facebook call getting banned“Facebook jail” but it would seem getting locked out is the opposite of jail. The real people in Facebook jail are those stuck inside wallowing around in cesspools of anger and hate. As one who has kicked addictions to cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs both street and legally prescribed and promoted pharmaceutical versions, I felt the same relief with my last ban yet an emptiness and sickness for the way I was stupidly, mindlessly poisoning myself and now having to relearn how to live a healthy and happy life. It's like some stranger had taken over my life and I came to claim it back, pick up the pieces, and heal so I can live as happily and healthfully as possible.
Facebook is in hot water now for their calculated, greedy, power-driven policies and algorithms of promoting, fomenting hate and rage, and they know it. So their solution seems to be to wipe out any and all comments that can be deemed negative. In other words, they give equal weight to those creating hate and hate speech and those who find it offensive and destructive. Both are considered equally bad and should be banned, which is an absurdity. To go against hate, to expose and denounce racism, bigotry, and the propaganda and lies that support them is not only the opposite of hate, it is the duty of everyone who believes in the values America claims to promote: fairness and justice for all. To claim that both sides are equal would be like stating the fight against the genocidal fascism of Nazi Germany and Imperialistic Japan by the Allied Forces had “good people on both sides who just differed in their beliefs and everyone is entitled to their opinions and practices”. The Allied Forces fought against true evil in WWII and when similar evil rears its hideous head in Modern America, it is the duty of every good, decent, and patriotic American to not only loudly denounce it but to expose that evil, which means unapologetically stating it for what it is, hatred bent on destroying the good in others as well as those others, their perceived “enemies”.
So as I detox from the poisonous elements of Facebook's political and news platforms, I now appreciate their clumsy, incompetent, and wrong ham-handed attempts to do damage control by banning me so idiotically and arbitrarily as they would if I were spouting off about evil Jewish space lasers whose owners are somehow going to take over the world by randomly setting wildfires in California. It just further proved what I already was realizing about my Facebook addiction to the rage and hate it contains. I understand the reasoning. From the modern corporate business model that is really only concerned with the fattest, most lucrative bottom line, damn the collateral damage, Facebook followed that philosophy very well. In this smash and grab corporatocracy, to get on top you must be totally ruthless. Legitimate concern and practices for social well-being look great in catchphrases and on a company's officially stated philosophy and procedures but to actually do it? Come on, get real. We're talking about making the biggest profits possible in the modern corporatocracy that America's crony capitalism model has become.
So, thank you, Facebook, for the 30-day ban. Every junkie needs a good swift kick in the ass to be forced into a position where they have to go cold turkey. It is only then that they can get a fresh look at how they have been poisoning themselves, wasting and ruining their lives. If there is anything I could point to that shows you are doing at least some good it is the fact that you are jettisoning even the good people away from your political and news feed platforms so they can breathe some good, clean fresh air and not the stench of hatred. It also helps them to get over the laughably absurd idea of thinking a few dozen, hundred, or even thousand likes on their post denouncing that same hate has any lasting value or will change anything other than further filling your advertising coffers. As any junkie will tell you as they clean up and detox, it's great to be alive again and to look for real hope and happiness in the world that they have been missing, not wallowing in poisons that are slowly killing them.