I’m done with Facebook for a se­ries of rea­sons

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - OPINION - NAOMI LAKRITZ Naomi Lakritz is a Cal­gary jour­nal­ist.

Facebook re­cently banned a good friend of mine for 24 hours. Her crime? When she re­sponded to some vile anti- Semitic re­marks some­one had posted, she vi­o­lated Facebook’s com­mu­nity stan­dards. What did she say that so ruf­fled Facebook’s feath­ers that they pun­ished her for it? She told the anti- Semite to “Crawl back un­der your rock, ser­pent.”

That’s tame when you compare it with what the orig­i­nal poster said, but he wasn’t banned. Not sur­pris­ing. I’ve pre­vi­ously re­ported to Facebook cer­tain post­ings call­ing for “Death to the Jews.” The re­sponse I al­ways got was that such a post­ing does not vi­o­late Facebook’s com­mu­nity stan­dards and would not be re­moved. Re­ally? Facebook thinks it’s per­fectly OK to in­cite peo­ple to kill Jews?

That’s just one more rea­son why I’m glad I’m no longer on Facebook. That Mark Zucker­berg, who is Jewish, would al­low such things is dis­grace­ful.

There are other rea­sons I’m happy to be done with Facebook. I was tired of hav­ing tele­phone or email con­ver­sa­tions with friends and then see­ing ads ap­pear on my Facebook page for what­ever we had been dis­cussing. Once a friend men­tioned Kelowna in pass­ing dur­ing a phone con­ver­sa­tion and for months af­ter­wards, ads for ho­tels in Kelowna popped up on my Facebook page. It’s creepy.

An­other rea­son I quit Facebook was best summed up by a woman writ­ing awhile ago in the New York Times. She said she’s not on Facebook for the same rea­son she doesn’t go around her neigh­bour­hood each morn­ing, knock­ing on doors and ask­ing peo­ple what they had for break­fast and what’s new in their lives.

Then, there was the trou­bling com­ment from Facebook’s early days that Zucker­berg is still try­ing to live down. He called Facebook users “dumb f---s” for trust­ing him with their per­sonal data. Does he still feel that way? Who knows?

And let’s not for­get Facebook syn­drome, the con­di­tion that you suc­cumb to when you’re scrolling through your friends’ posts, grow­ing in­creas­ingly de­pressed be­cause they all seem to be liv­ing such per­fect live. Of course, they face the same ups and downs that ev­ery­one else does. But on Facebook, it doesn’t look that way.

How ridicu­lous this all is was made clear when I was at my den­tist’s where a sign in the wait­ing room urges pa­tients to “like” the den­tist’s of­fice on Facebook. What­ever for? I like my den­tist, but why would I want to fol­low his of­fice on Facebook?

It was the same sev­eral years ago when I made a quick lunch stop at some ham­burger stand on a ru­ral road in Man­i­toba. “Like us on Facebook!” a sign by the counter urged pa­trons. What for?

Not be­ing on Facebook is a re­lief. It’s like be­ing back in the 1980s. A sooth­ing quiet has de­scended. Facebook’s noise is gone. A mil­lion things don’t shout for my at­ten­tion, like other peo­ple’s cats, pup­pies, ba­bies, trips, chil­dren’s achieve­ments, po­lit­i­cal views, boasts and, of course, zil­lions of causes be­ing pushed by zil­lions of groups. I have so much more time to do the things that I want to do, in­clud­ing be­ing with friends in the real world.

Writ­ing in the Guardian ear­lier this year, com­puter sci­en­tist Jaron Lanier, au­thor of the book Ten Ar­gu­ments for Delet­ing Your So­cial Me­dia Ac­counts Right Now, said: “While it is per­va­sive, Facebook has not brought as much into the world as it may seem.” He added, “Those who have gone through the ex­it­ing process, how­ever, might find that in the end they have not only made a po­lit­i­cal state­ment but saved time and im­proved their lives.”

I don’t care about mak­ing po­lit­i­cal state­ments. I just know that a Facebook-free life is amaz­ing.

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