Warning: Facebook May Be Hazardous to Your Health & Security

I am surprised that the government has not required Facebook to come with health warning. There should be a post that pops up before you are allowed to log on for the first time or possibly every time. Here’s what it should say:

WARNING: This is an addictive part of the modern world. It will addict you like heroin, or nicotine, or alcohol. It will produce euphoric highs and catastrophic lows in your psyche. It will become a written word and audio/video  bludgeon that will smite you down in  a hundred different ways at any time of day of night. You will lose friends and gain stalkers. And Facebook Light will not be any more healthy for you. Signed the Surgeon General.

As I mentioned in a previous column, I have become addicted to staring at my phone, chain-smoking non-filters, sucking dark coffee and getting wound up like a kid on Christmas morning wondering what little treasure awaits me on FB, and how can I out react who ever wrote the post, long before I turn my phone on that day.

Not every day mind you but most days and most any time of day, I will turn to FB to cure my boredom. It has made me lazy on certain levels. It’s not good at my advanced age. Gotta use it or lose it when you are over 65. Instead on taking the dog for a walk, I’ll flip open FB and get lost in a political argument, which I already know has zero chance on changing anyone’s opinion or vote in the next election. Yet there I am, primed to fight about the latest piece of political turmoil that the President seems to dreams up on a daily basis or his opponents post about his past offenses.

Facebook gives one a certain sense of invincibility. A sense of security when they argue with someone who lives five states away, and can call them awful names knowing there is not likely to be any face-to-face confrontation. Even after some very fiery threats, people feel reasonably certain no one will knock on their door and tell them to meet me outside to fight it out. Facebook can bring out the child in you if you aren’t careful.

It’s seems like it always politics or government policies that brings out such hostility and tribalism on FB. The anger and resentment are unbelievable at times. And that’s just the stuff that I write, and, as you all well know, I’m sane. Most of the things I read from other people are completely INSANE, in IMHO. LOL.

I have a friend that finally got on Facebook last year. It is much like going back to school for a refresher course on social slang, grammatical shortcuts and other current references to common place items that have entirely new names and or meanings. She was so tickled when she figured out what LOL meant or WTF⏤truly, it made her day. Then came the email saying someone had been unreasonable, illogical, and downright mean to her about some subject. It was her wake-up call to what kind of culture Facebook has produced across the width and breadth of our nation, and the world for that matter.

And it’s not the pinnacle of where we could be social media-wise and culturally, in general.

What Facebook has been good for is contact. Contact with people you don’t know or even like for that matter, but it is contact non the less. And though contact can produce friction, it can also produce synchronicity. The number of my world-wide friends, actual and virtual, has been due in part to my time on FB and for that I am extremely thankful. Getting their take on our countries issues is enlightening and certainly better than regurgitating the same ol’ lines that the parties put out.

Probably the single thing I would remove from FB is politics. It’s too divisive, it’s too easy to fabricate lies and too easy to ignite people over real or imagined positions in our political theater. A no politics rule would lighten up the entire experience in my opinion.

Perhaps I’ll send Zuck a text saying lose the politics and raise the nations notion of what’s good and what isn’t. Here are several links to articles about the Facebook purge of some political content from Facebook. The social media company is finally attempting to remove misleading stories and fake accounts. Also, details on the hack of 50 million accounts should make users aware to update their passwords, as recommended in stories in CNN, The New York Times and The Guardian.