After several days of contemplation, I have made the decision to leave Facebook and Instagram permanently. While this is not a big deal personally, it is professionally. I manage three organization pages, ReNu Your Life, the Cedar Rapids Metro Parkinson's Association, and the Iowa City PD Support. Although I've had an uneasy feeling about these social media platforms, particularly Facebook, since the 2016 election and after watching the documentary "The Social Dilemma", the most recent testimony by Frances Haugen has sealed the deal. Her bravery to come forward should be commended.
The involvement of FB in the January 6 Capital riots, the political influence it wields around the world, the division between friends and families it has sown through algorithms, and the continued spread of misinformation especially related to COVID and vaccinations is too much. To add to that, the fact that Instagram targeted young girls with pro-anorexia-related posts is sickening. One of the Facebook internal studies that Ms. Haugen found talks about how Instagram harms teenage girls. One study says 13.5% of teen girls say Instagram makes thoughts of suicide worse; 17% of teen girls say Instagram makes eating disorders worse. Facebook and Instagram did nothing about this. We are seeing skyrocketing mental health issues in this country. I do not want to be part of a platform that adds to the problem.
As Frances Haugen stated, "When we live in an information environment that is full of angry, hateful, polarizing content it erodes our civic trust, it erodes our faith in each other, it erodes our ability to want to care for each other, the version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world. Ethnic violence including Myanmar in 2018 when the military used Facebook to launch a genocide". https://www.cbsnews.com/news/facebook-whistleblower-frances-haugen-misinformation-public-60-minutes-2021-10-03/
All of this being said, I know that removing pages may affect outreach by the organizations that I manage. Both the Cedar Rapids Metro Parkinson's Association and ReNu Your Life have websites and email-based newsletters to keep in contact with clients. Please subscribe to this newsletter to stay in touch. Visit the website of the organization that you follow to subscribe to the newsletters and stay in touch.
Thank you to all of my followers and to the many friends that I have "met" over the years. My FB & IG accounts will be active through Sunday, October 10th. Please message or email me if you would like to stay in touch.
Be well, both physically and emotionally.