As you know, I am not a fan of the Facebook social network. In fact, my New Year’s resolution at the end of 2018 was to ask Facebook to delete all the data it had collected on me over 13 years, and quit Facebook.
Then, when it was announced that you will require an account on the Facebook social network to use the upcoming Facebook Horizon social VR platform, I reluctantly decided to rejoin. But I found that I had successfully broken my formerly powerful Facebook addiction. I befriended only six people, mostly close relatives. I would go for weeks, even months, between sign ins. I was no longer addicted to Facebook!
But unexpectedly, the coronavirus pandemic now has me running back into Facebook’s embrace.
What drew me back in were a couple of Facebook groups:
- We Got This – Winnipeg is a group that sprung up for Winnipeggers to provide help and support to each other during the pandemic;
- Libraries are Champions of Healthy Communities is “a place for libraries to discuss the health and wellness needs of their communities and their workers.”
I also belong to a couple of Sinespace groups on Facebook, where I would cross-post sponsored blogposts.
I had installed the highly-recommended F.B. Purity browser extension to control a lot of Facebook’s annoying features, but I found it interfered with the We Got This group, so I landed up uninstalling it completely. And, of course, now that I have uninstalled Purity, Facebook now sends me reams and reams of friend suggestions…
And this morning, I finally threw up my hands, gave in, and started accepting friend suggestions (Facebook is scarily accurate in remembering who my friends and acquaintances were). I’m baaack…
The fact remains that Facebook is tailor-made to keep track of all the loose connections in my life: family (including distant relatives), coworkers (many of whom are now working at home), and friends and acquaintances whom I rarely see in real life. This is now even more true with the imposition of social distancing policies and even lockdowns in places like Italy and California.
And, during a coronavirus pandemic, I am now willing to let Facebook strip-mine my data in order to make me feel more connected while I am maintaining social isolation in my apartment.
So, congratulations, Facebook: you win. For now.