Don’t turn other cheek on Facebook
As legal and ethical charges mount against Facebook, it may be time to question your moral obligation to delete your account.
The social media company has become a destructive element in many countries around the world. It has allowed foreign entities to manipulate elections in other countries, it has run smear campaigns against other tech companies, it has allowed users’ personal data to be exploited for financial gain and it has ignored government requests to answer questions about its practices.
But that’s not the worst of it.
Its most damaging act played out in Myanmar, a part of the world most people couldn’t find on the map and even fewer care about.
The country has been devastated in recent years as military personnel have used Facebook as a tool for ethnic cleansing.
The military exploited Facebook to spread hate and propaganda against the mostly Muslim Rohingya minority group.
If you keep using Facebook, you’re helping fund a company (it makes its money from selling your personal data) that is eroding democracy and perpetuating hate speech.
Two groups it cares about have already turned against it. Computer science graduates no longer see Facebook as a desirable place to work and Wall Street has distanced itself from the company, as doubts over its activities have seen the company’s value fall US$253 billion (NZ$367.6b) in the past five months.
Is posting memes, baby photos or scrolling mindlessly through endless posts really worth it, knowing you’re backing a company that is playing a part in damaging the lives of so many people?
However, taking a moral stance against tech companies is a slippery slope. Should you stop using Google because it’s working on a censored search engine for China, or stop using Amazon because of its heavily criticised workplace policies?
By becoming so big, tech companies have cornered users. Many people love Facebook because it connects them with friends and loved ones and there isn’t really an alternative.
But companies such as Facebook will only listen when users push back and the best way to do that is to delete your account. Taking a moral stand is complicated but the list of deplorable acts by Facebook is getting too long to ignore.
Facebook is no longer a desirable place to work according to many computer science graduates.