Facebook – The Evil Empire

Although many in recent years, refer to Facebook as the ‘’evil empire’’, more so in recent weeks with the announcement that WhatsApp users will from February 8, 2021, share their personal information with Facebook, the owners of WhatsApp. Those of us not willing to share data will be locked out of WhatsApp. “If you're a WhatsApp user, you'll have to share your personal data with Facebook's empire from next month – or stop using the chat apphttps://www.theregister.com/2021/01/06/whatsapp_privacy_policy_demand/

For those in my age group who think that the ‘’evil empire’’ tag is familiar from somewhere, you are right. Close to 37 years ago, US President Ronald Reagan, - the great communicator – dubbed the former Soviet Union as the Evil Empire. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evil_Empire_speech

Whether indeed Facebook is an ‘’evil empire’’, I’ll leave for others to debate.

I have already downloaded the Signal app and fully expect come February 8, 2021, to be classed as an ex-WhatsApp user.

There is enough of me is already in the public domain, I don’t need to readily add more. Likewise, my footprints, or maybe that should be fingerprints, are also trackable thanks to Google, Microsoft, and a host of other social media and internet platforms that spy and collect my data. Enough is enough, it's time to fight back against the “empire’’.

I switched about 12 months ago to the Brave internet browser as a means of protecting myself from the spying eye and data collectors. I also use DuckDuckGo as my internet search engine, and I’ll be the first to admit that it lacks the power and depth of more mainstream search engines, but I believe that it better safeguards my privacy.

And as I wrote above, I have made the switch to Signal.

I am more often than not meet with sheer incredulity when I mention when asked, that I have do not have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. The rejoinder to this snippet of information is often “how do you function, survive, without at least Facebook?’’. The simple answer is ‘’very well’’.

Just occasionally someone takes pity on me and tells me “if I can use Facebook, so can you. Here, I’ll help you”. Such offers are normally politely refused. Infrequently, when I become pissed-off by the repeated notion that without Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, I am not whole, I invoke one of my heroes, Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx, celebrated lines, ‘’I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member’’. Few understand the underlying reference.

The truth is that until some 18 months ago, I did have an active Facebook account. It was not that I had an interest in what people are eating, showering, playing with their cat, dog, or hamster. I used Facebook as a means of expressing myself, raging about the world, and sometimes as a record of events.

Initially, I limited access to a group of ‘’friends’’. Later, at the urging of friends, I allowed access to ‘’friends of friends’’. Big mistake!

And this is where the problems for me commenced. People who I did not know, did not want to know, started to challenge my opinions, thoughts, and rants. And while I certainly did write opinion pieces, and raged against the world, I was never rude, crude or offensive. Yet, here I was, at the receiving end of assaults from total strangers. It reached a climax in the summer of 2019 when belligerent, close to threatening posts were directed at me. For all of thirty seconds, I even considered going to the police. In the end, I deleted my Facebook account and created my blog on Wix. I could not be happier. I do not miss Facebook.

There is no shortage of quality articles, opinion pieces on Facebook. For those who wish to read an article from July 2020, I can recommend ‘’Publishing World’s Evil Empire? How Facebook and other social media subvert journalism’’ https://www.global-geneva.com/publishing-worlds-evil-empire-how-facebook-and-other-social-media-subvert-journalism/

While social media is here to stay, the question begs to be asked, will Facebook, as we know it today, be around in five years?