Hatebook - The biggest tech problem in the world with an easy fix

My biggest pet peeve and why I got involved in TWS. I think this is the single most detrimental effect of technology the world has seen.

I rue the day Facebook suddenly let you see hundreds of people’s comments that you don’t know. It was a weird day - I thought something was broken. Then I had a sinking feeling that this wasn’t good.

That ‘flip of the switch’ happened shortly after they went public in an attempt to make the site more sticky. Before that, the only popular place to see people cussing each other out was in YouTube comments, because that was an anonymous service before Google bought them. (Google at least tries to identify you.)

Now, suddenly, the social app built by college kids trying to ‘bring people together’ became Hatebook, and it WASN’T anonymous. Now you had people ranting and you knew who they were.

But I call it perceived hate, because people aren’t ever like that in person or in one-to-one chats with people they know. You have to act civil in a society but Facebook has circumvented that…in fact it has basically circumvented the concept of ‘society’. It the unnatural communication platform (100’s of people in a single chat thread causes frustration of not being heard) and it causes people to want to ‘shout’ their point.

It is also prevent the conversation from being focused. So many people pulling it in different directions. People have that reptile brain laying in wait while the frontal cortex makes them behave and function in society. When frustrated and angry and seemingly anonymous, we’ve all seen what becomes of normal people on facebook.

Then that person leaves their house and goes to work or the store and their psyche is different. I don’t want to speculate too much but it was 3 months after going public about 8 weeks after ‘flipping the hate switch’ when a white supremecist that had functioned normally in society for 40 years suddenly decided to take out his frustration on some turban -wearing Sikhs near his house killing 6 in their temple. I can’t prove Facebook is related to any crime but when that shooting happened I was still wondering if Facebook was broken or would they rethink their drastic, profit-motivated decision. I felt certain that guy had been up all night arguing with strangers about religion and politics - a new accidental national pastime. ( Sikhs story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisconsin_Sikh_temple_shooting)

Fast-forward 6 years. We have a media-savvy president that knows how to get ratings and all he did was ride the wave started by YouTube and Facebook. And the discourse isn’t getting better. It is only getting worse and worse. Facebook is where jillions of people get their news, fake news, and their impression of society, ironically.

Facebook was changing features often back then. We would all throw up our arms, complain to each other and then a week later just get on with it knowing we had no say in what they do. Maybe collectively we will. Flipping the hate switch to ‘ON’ that day has put up walls everywhere. If he would just flip the hate switch off, a few people would grumble for a week and then 2 billion people would get back to the business liking each other’s pet/baby/food pictures. It is literally a switch and only one man can flip it. I think it’s time to tell Zuckerburg “Tear down the walls!”

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Maybe he’ll do that in 2020? :slight_smile:

I agree, in fact, I feel like I became that way myself. I got addicted to arguing with people in stupid Facebook threads. The more such posts I’d interact with, the more I’d see on my feed. Eventually a few weeks ago I just removed the Facebook app, and stopped reading the news feed entirely. I feel a new sense of freedom, I feel happier and less angry. Best thing I’ve done for a long time.

The weird thing is, I was already aware of it, I knew that it was a worthless waste of time, and the sort of interactions I was having were of no value to me or other people, but I couldn’t help it. I got a little burst of pleasure every time someone liked my carefully constructed reply and putdown of someone’s point. So I guess I was some sort of dopamine addict, enjoying those little effects. Of course, I got very few likes for my mindless rambling, so that just made the problem even worse.

I honestly think the UX is a big part of the problem. Threaded conversations are a terrible way to discuss anything complex, and encourage autonomic replies and hate, instead of intelligent, reasoned debate. I am going to start a new thread to discuss, how terrible threaded conversations are :smile: