Why I Left Facebook at the End of the Year

Each of my WordPress followers pressed the “follow” button for a slightly different reason. When I follow someone it is because I have found their writing interesting or motivating in some way and I want to keep track of them and be able to read more of their content. When I think that this is the reason someone follows me, I feel strangely moved. There are days when writers need to be reminded that someone really does care and wants us to write more and will be looking for our content.

I had a very meaningful time on Facebook for many years. It was a place where I felt I could go to be encouraged. People on Facebook cared. And I cared about them. I tried to post encouraging comments. I “liked” numerous posts. And my friends were very responsive and kind.

I have moved a number of times and Facebook became the place to keep in touch with people I no longer saw in person. I considered myself to be very blessed with my group of friends. Oh, it was an odd mix, but I loved it. A few friends didn’t agree with my political leanings and challenged me from time to time and I enjoyed the fact that they expressed alternate views. I reexamined my points of view. It forced me to look at what I believed from a different perspective.

My tendency was to share links to relevant news and often I added a paragraph of commentary. Many of my friends frequently expressed their appreciation for this as I pulled up pieces that weren’t commonly seen by everyone. However, I began to notice that I was no longer getting responses to my posts. I decided to do a survey of my friends and discovered that my closest friends were not seeing my posts. I began to suspect that Facebook did not like what I was posting and was reducing my distribution. When I mentioned this to my husband he thought I was making it up, so I kept watching and eventually I got the confirmation from Facebook itself. According to them I was posting false news. One piece of “false news” was a link to a letter that 500 scientists sent to the United Nations, claiming that climate change science is complex and we do not know the exact correlation between human activity and climate change. I was told by Facebook that if I continued to post this type of “false news” I would see my “overall distribution reduced and be restricted in other ways.” But they had already done this to me for a year or longer.

If you say anything that questions the current politically correct dialogue–and I tend to do this–then you are labelled as a false prophet, in other words. There are names the politically correct side has for you. These are conversations you are not allowed to have. I am not even talking about whether, or how much, climate change is impacted by human activity. I just want to give both sides the opportunity to speak. But today we are in a society where this kind of dialogue is no longer allowed–not even on Facebook–and Facebook is going to enforce this. It is not only Facebook, however. When I went back to the original site on Google where I obtained the article, it was blocked.

I never considered myself as a threat before, but apparently I am a threat to Facebook. One day Facebook stopped me from posting a link to an article written by a doctor about how doctors suffer as a result of not being able to be open about their struggles. It looked like a harmless article to me but I received a pop-up that said: Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other persons on Facebook have reported as abusive. You can find it at this site. It is entitled The Conspiracy of Silence (World Mental Health Day).

In a way, Facebook ultimately succeeded in silencing me completely because I left Facebook. But I was silenced on Facebook for a long time before that. After a decade or so on Facebook I know my friends and it is not normal for me to have ten posts that have no response at all from any readers. And this happened again and again. Several times I did a survey and the result was the same. My friends had not seen my posts. They had no idea what I had been posting during the week.

Some person or algorithm did not like me so it silenced me, and very effectively. I finally became weary of it and I went off of Facebook.

But I do not believe we ought to be silent. The article I tried unsuccessfully to post, that was written by the doctor, contained this quote, “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference” – Elie Wiesel. We cannot remain indifferent. We need to find creative and effective ways of expressing our views, while practicing patience and tolerance with those who oppose us.

I think it is extremely saddening that a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, godmother, and friend has to leave behind all of her dear contacts because the mail carrier reads her mail and deems it not fit for distribution.

Finally – Something helpful about finding your voice

Thank you Jeff Goins! In his article, What You Write About Doesn’t Matter as Much as You Think, he writes “Most writers are concerned with the wrong thing. They have a simple, misguided belief that holds them back from creating….They mistakenly believe that what they write about is more important than how they write.”

Naturally this statement caught my attention. You can find the whole article at Goinswriter.com. It is worth reading. Here is an excerpt that was particularly helpful to me.

Finding a worldview

Everyone has one. A paradigm. A perspective. A code of ethics. It’s how we all live our lives, whether we realize it or not. This is what sets a person’s voice apart from the rest of the noise vying for our attention: not what they say, but how they say it.

I hate to be the realist here, but look: There is no subject you could write about, no niche you could target, that hasn’t been reached before. So for crying out loud, stop trying to be so clever and original (it’s not working).

Instead, focus on the how, the worldview of what you write. What about the way you see the world is different? What would resonate with some and cause others to disagree? Write that.

Write something that’s worth fighting over. Because that’s how you change things. That’s how you create art.

So, voice is about having a unique point of view. It sounds so simple. Your voice is what you bring to the table that is distinctly you.

Yes, voice has to do with writing style, but it has more to do with our experience, our passions, our perspective. Each of us has a different story which shapes our writing. Think about the home in which you were raised, the schools you attended, the friends you had or didn’t have, your religious beliefs, your successes and failures, your joys and sorrows. All of these influence your writing and make it uniquely your own. The DNA of your life is unlike that of any other person.

When you write from your unique viewpoint, some people will love your writing and others will not.

Cec Murphy, who has published numerous books and articles, both as an author and ghost writer, says he would rather have people hate what he writes than be inauthentic, or untrue to himself in what he writes, and be loved.

We tend to want to show only a certain acceptable side of ourselves. Our culture has taught us to compare ourselves, to be “politically correct.” Writing with your own voice is not for the faint of heart. It takes being able to handle both the accolades and the criticisms. But you may be surprised how others will identify with what is the real you. They may love your originality. Along with Cec, I want to be appreciated for who I really am, as opposed to who I might pretend to be.