Years ago, a book titled; “Talking Back to Facebook” suggested the social media platform was getting out of hand. I agreed, but noted that the phenomenon was otherwise a relatively harmless way to transfer trivia and perpetuate pet pictures. Alarmingly, Facebook has morphed far beyond delightful drivel and grinning grandkids.

That was 2012. Since then, much has transpired to justify (Stanford professor) James Styer’s prophetic book, and it ain’t pretty. All manner of disinformation, from wacky ways to combat COVID, to preening predators posing as politicians, to governance by tweet, to paving the path to Jan. 6th.

These “platforms” have become handy mechanisms for the self-celebrating elite to display their privileged, glittering, free-wheeling lifestyles for “followers” to adore and envy. Or to feel less about themselves, in particular, impressionable teenage girls. Choosing a facial moisturizer is one thing. Choosing to end one’s life is another. Ya think Mark Zuckerberg gives a whit?

Facebook, once a clever communications tool, has deteriorated into a wicked weapon for advertisers to track proclivities, promote purchases, capture capital, master mindsets, con and collect customers, and to weaken societal well-being. It’s been said that today, 30 percent of Americans get their “news and information” from what they read – and believe – on social media. Preposterous. Walter Cronkites, wherefore art thou? Will truth, integrity and intelligence please stand up and be counted?

I’m not sure when, or if, the social media conundrum will end. But in the interim – it still ain’t pretty. Not at all.

Buddy Doyle
Gardiner

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