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LETTER: Restore civility—delete your Facebook account

Writer says social media program ‘ripped the heart from Community with a Heart’

To the Editor,

We have a problem. Facebook, and the way its algorithms, groups and interface manipulate us subconsciously to react and inflame, has ripped the heart out of this so-called Community with a Heart.

An article published in peer-reviewed journal Social Media + Society states: “Our results suggest that Facebook was misguided in the claim that it is decreasing conflict simply through enabling the connection of individuals…uncivil disagreements between groups on social media are associated with, and can statistically predict, violence when these groups meet in the real world.” (Gallacher, J. D., Heerdink, M. W., & Hewstone, M. (2021)).

Personally, I have begun to see all social media platforms as a new mass addiction. Facebook and Facebook Groups are the fentanyl and carfentanil of the social media world. I deleted Facebook from my life two years ago. It was very hard. I even did it in steps, like weaning off cigarettes; first limiting my time, then removing myself from groups and pages, then only using Messenger, and finally I deleted it completely.

That came with real consequences like disconnecting from easy family, friend, activist, and even business interactions.

It was a good decision. I’ve taken to encouraging everyone I know to do the same. I still use some social media platforms but not Facebook or Instagram, which is also owned by Meta and has been shown to be particularly harmful for young people, especially girls.

If we want to restore civility in politics and in general in our city, I’d encourage my neighbours to meet for a lively chat at an Alberni Valley Bulldogs hockey game, Harbour Quay or even a dinner party. Not Facebook.

Chris Alemany,

Port Alberni