Why I’m disgusted with Facebook and how I’m going to use it better

Longest title ever.

I’m a social media junkie.  I love being a part of hundreds of people’s stories at the same time.  I love sharing mine, too.  I currently have five social media accounts (if you don’t count my shoutlife account that has been dormant for years): Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, and… WordPress.  Does LinkedIn count as a social network?  We’ll add that.  Six.

In the past two and a half years, I’ve tweeted 5,827 times.

5,827

I’m not going to say it’s a problem, just like we’re not going to talk about my coffee addiction.  Maybe someday, but not today.

So, you know it’s a big deal when I tell you that on Friday, I was dead set on deleting my Facebook account.  I’ve taken fasts from Facebook before, but I’ve never considered actually doing away with it.

Here’s why I wanted to delete my account:

I discovered a Change.org petition last year that was entitled: Block All Child Pornography From Facebook.  My initial thought was but… there couldn’t be child pornography on Facebook. It’s just a social network.  There are a lot of pictures I wouldn’t put up on there, but surely nothing as horrid as child pornography.  Who would be so sick as to allow that?  That has to violate community standards.  They would take it down if they knew.

Famous last words.  They would take it down if they knew.  You’d think they would, wouldn’t you?  Wouldn’t that be the decent thing to do?  What do they have to gain by allowing it?

MENAPAT, which stands for Men Against Prostitution And Trafficking, knows otherwise.  They’re learned about groups, pages, and profiles all devoted to this atrocity.  So, like good community members, they reported the pages.  And they emailed their following to encourage them to do the same.

I am a part of that following.  I reported those pages because they were heart-breaking and horrible. And I got an email back from “Vicki” (I’m doubtful that she exists) each time, saying that she couldn’t prove that the page violates Facebook’s community standards.

Oh, really?

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 11.35.12 PMSource: Facebook’s Community Standards page 

“Vicki” has sent the same email to thousands of other people who attempted to report pornographic pages on Facebook.  In addition to encouraging people to report the pages, MENAPAT sent thousands of ‘Demand Cards’ to Facebook’s highest executives, demanding that they block all child pornography from Facebook, which has received no response except denial from the company.

I didn’t want to be a part of a network that allowed such things.  I wanted to throw Facebook out of my life forever and be done with it.

But I thought about it some more, and I realized that I’d much rather use it for good.  I’d MUCH rather use it to tell other people about what they’ve been doing, whether they’ll believe me and choose to act on it or not.  I’d much rather change my outlook, to use Facebook as a way of connecting with people to encourage and challenge them, not to show off my life, creep on someone else’s, or waste my time scrolling through my news feed.

It’s time to for change in the way I view my networking.  It’s time for me to use my voice for those who have none.  It’s time to use Facebook well and to fight to create an environment that does not exploit children.

I challenge you to do the same.  Share this post with your friends.  Sign the petition to ask the president to get involved.  Use your social network for good.

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