Why Do People Love to Hate Facebook?

People hate Facebook.  Most people do, anyway.  94% of teenagers use Facebook and, according to a Pew study, they don’t even like it.  We now live in a world in which people don’t know how to not use Facebook, as tragically stupid as that sounds.  It’s a cause for stress, frustration, social anxiety, anger, bullying and misanthropy.  And, in 10 years, it has made itself mostly indispensible to a certain subset of people in the world.  What people?  Good question.  Let’s find out if you’re one of them.

Thirty percent of adults in the US get their news from Facebook, a statistic that hopefully just sent a shiver down your spine.  22% even think Facebook is a good place to get the news, potentially oblivious to the fact they’re only seeing news Facebook deems worthy of sharing.  And what kind of news do these people like?

  • 73% of news consumed on Facebook is entertainment news, that subsection of the news that barely earns the name and lets you know who Miley Cyrus is having sex with and how Gwyneth Paltrow chose to leave her husband; the kind of stuff people with souls will never care about.
  • 65% of news is community and local news, because people like to know what’s happening outside without having to look outside.
  • 57% of news is sports because yay sport.

On the other end of the spectrum is the kind of news people on Facebook don’t like to see.

  • Only 39% want international news, because understanding what Russia is doing to the Ukraine and Crimea is hard to do.
  • Only 37% want science and technology news because no one dropped out of school to keep learning shit about science and technology.
  • Only 31% want business news, like stories about how Facebook manipulates and exploits you.

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Facebook fosters a community of basically superfluous information, as if that needed to be said.  Actual news is rarely shared while fluff pieces, memes and goofy pictures are the most shared.  Because those actual news stories are so rarely liked and shared, the Facebook algorithm will squash them like bugs, ensuring only the fluff pieces get pushed through your feed.

While Facebook was the cool, new way to reconnect with people back in 2006, in 2014 your mom is on Facebook, your teachers are on Facebook, your boss is on Facebook and now it’s just a way you have to watch your back 24/7 instead of during business hours because everyone you know can see what you think and do and like.  Saw a cool lesbian vampire movie?  Better not have your Netflix linked to your Facebook or else grandma will see it.  Think your boss is a dick?  Better not vent online because he’s going to be reading it when he gets home, too.  Also, don’t check in as Mayor of Chipotle if you called in sick, Facebook will share that too and sell your ass out.  All you can reasonably share is crap no one wants to know.

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So basically Facebook offers you nothing of value and you’re having to mind your step because literally everyone you know is on there as well.  It’s a den of inconvenient stupidity. Worse, Facebook has plans to expand internet access to the two-thirds of the world that has no internet access via the use of drones and lasers.  That means people in Third World Countries who have limited access to clean water are going to start sharing terrible 1st World Problem memes until they actually get how awful they are in context.

The most terrible recent development of all in the world of Facebook is its $2 billion acquisition of Oculus towards the end of a future in which we can hang out in a virtual environment with our friends.  You know, instead of hanging out with our friends.

Does anyone want what Facebook offers?  Do you want to have virtual fun with your friends?  Do you want pre-screened news about celebrities and local events instead of what actually matters in the world?  Do you want your mom reading about your relationship status while you edit your language so you don’t offend anyone?  Hell no.  No one does.  And yet, according to Facebook numbers, there are 1.23 billion active users every month on the site.  That’s more than one person in seven. 

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Amanda Hess, a writer for Slate, once said ““Facebook is the living dead: the most popular, least relevant social network where teenagers and adults alike gather out of fear of missing out on things that don’t even make them happy.”

You’re on Facebook because everyone else is on Facebook.  And you hate Facebook because everyone else is on Facebook.   And it’s never going to change until everyone starts moving away and not letting Facebook dictate what we see and how we interact with friends.  You know, the way everyone did it for all time before Facebook existed.