Facebook sucks…

As I have written before, but I think really apart from interacting with friends, Facebook is a giant experiment and not one that actually achieves a lot of good. The whole premise of Facebook is to be bigger than anyone else and to churn fantastic profits from advertising. The “social media” is about creating a product that people think is amazing so that people will use it, so that they can sell the advertising.
It is when you start to look between the lines and see all the cracks that you realise that many of these free social media platforms are a crock. At the moment Google is the only social media platform that I haven’t had a bad experience with. I suppose there could be one coming – or I could count against Google their annoying repetitive advertisements which mine your emails and search history daily and immediately. Fortunately there aren’t that many pages where advertising for Russian singles sites pop up but at times it seems like that is the only adverts you see all day long. I must see about getting an ad blocker on the browser because some of the other adverts especially the ones that are for fake products and scams are really annoying as well.
I did previously comment on my experiences with Flickr. Facebook and Flickr are about equal in my list of loathsome social media experiences. But most of my contempt is reserved for Facebook. As many people are finding out to their cost, the amount of trolling and self-aggrandisement on Facebook knows no bounds. There have been numerous shocking examples of bullying behaviour and trolling on Facebook. Here is an example:
In this case a coffee shop manager made some stupid comments about their business, the result was a group of people vandalised their Facebook page and caused their business to have to close down.
Closer to home there have been several examples that come to mind. One was a local school where an unsubstantiated allegation of bullying was made by a parent who put a sign up in the street and then got the news media to publish a story highly biased towards him. The story resulted in the school having to take their Facebook page offline because of people vandalising it with attack comments. All on the basis of hearsay, not proven fact. I posted a comment in favour of the school, which got 250 thumbs down on the Stuff newspaper website. 
Another case is this one
Essentially there is no system that can prevent someone signing up a fake social media profile and having a go at someone. I have not had these experiences, but I am aware of getting friend requests almost every week from profiles that search out and make a lot of cold call friend requests to a lot of people. This is clearly what happens when you click on the profile to see who it is and find the profile has been deleted by Facebook. When you click “Delete request” and then “Mark as spam” if there are too many “Mark as spam” responses to a particular profile then FB automatically suspends the profile. This is the best response as if you do not know who a person is then you should certainly not trust them on Facebook or any other platform.
When we started doing things like Yahoo Groups for some communities of interest such as railfanning, it was tame compared to what happens on Facebook now. As a lot of admins of these groups have found, trolling and flame wars are everyday occurrences on their groups and the moderators have their hands full dealing with problems like these. Added to the fact there are people who use these groups for their own ends such as stalking or criminal activity against group members, whose background is entirely unknown (such as whether they have a criminal record) and there are huge potential problems with these situations. There are also problems because the news media also exploits social media to make stories, a lot of stuff that is appearing on the major news sites in NZ originated on social media and is often exaggerated or is not checked for factuality before publishing. Another example is the Neighbourly site which Fairfax NZ has taken a shareholding in – they are obviously looking for a news source for stories.
I think the fundamental problem is that the whole notion of social media is that everyone has something worthwhile to say and it gives people a vehicle to say things whether they are smart or not. So it has created a platform for a massive amount of online trolling and half truths masquerading as fact to be peddled. For me, social media is best utilised to interact with groups or agencies that I have good relationships with, like Christian ministries that I follow. When it strays into self opinionated drivel, that is best avoided and that is why my own FB pages largely stick to fact rather than opinion where possible. The news media of all hues is busy using FB and in many cases their own websites to peddle in many cases these days the most inflammatory opinionated rhetoric which they just let go as if they were someone special or we owed them a living. Duncan Garner and Sean Plunket are both fools who use social media to spout their opinionated drivel under the guise of “free speech” and then stalk off in high dudgeon when they get challenged. Well known Christian conservative lobby group Family First has come out all guns blazing against the new government attacking their policies before half of them are even known and some of their comments are at best half truths. It’s a great time to be limiting one’s social media activity because there is so much rubbish out there.