Jen McMillin


My Facebook Dilemma

By now, it is clear to me that Facebook is blatantly abusing my personal data, as well as yours.  It has been shown time and time again that Facebook does what it wants to make profits for corporate shareholders and owners, and apologizes later.  

Facebook will meet with one of the groups it targeted with Soros opposition research

Facebook will conduct civil rights audit following bias allegations

The US government alleges Facebook enabled housing ad discrimination

Facebook Says Security Breach Affected Almost 50 Million Accounts

My gut reaction is to shut down my personal page, my public page, and disengage from the mess.  Without the ad revenue and ability to sell my data, Facebook will have to change its ways. Right?

What stops me though is the integration of Facebook into every part of American life. I feel that I cannot turn it off without losing access to my connections.  Right now, there is no other way to reach the massive number of people to connect with community events, news articles, and to build a platform for new movements.  So what is the solution?

We must hold Facebook accountable through both user pressure and drafting legislation to protect user data.  

But at the same time, the users of social media need to take responsibility for the content we consume and share.  Memes and videos are fun, but they boost the reach of organizations that sometimes have nefarious purposes such as distributing inaccurate information or hurtful propaganda.  Expansion of media literacy needs to happen for people to not only be mindful of the news they consume but the “digital filler” we absorb online.

So the next time you share a cat video, look to see what page originally posted it.  No one wants to find out later that they shared a post created by an organization that promotes shaving your head bald to stomp out big shampoo, or a similar silly idea.

And one of my new year’s resolutions - to limit my passive intake of content and read more books and talk to more real people.  I hope you’ll join me.