If you follow me on Facebook, then it’s probably no surprise to you that I’m a little fed up with it.
Discussing any controversial topic, especially vaccines (which I tend to do often) is fraught with landmines — namely, trolls, who like to bully and harass people who don’t believe what they believe. I try to avoid talking about them, because the general line of thought goes that if you ignore them they’ll go away. Here’s the thing: they won’t. It’s not about attention, it’s not even about me. It’s about their mental instability and need to bully those who aren’t like them, and no strategy (ignoring, retaliating, etc.) will ever make them stop.
I know plenty of you are fed up with that, too. You just want a safe space, like it used to be, to ask questions about natural living and connect with like-minded parents. I want that too. We should be able to have that — I mean, Facebook’s Terms of Service actually state that no user may bully, threaten, or harass another user. Not that they actually enforce that at all. People have reported hate groups, illegal image use, hate speech, etc. and Facebook ignores it — constantly.
But! Try to post a photo of yourself breastfeeding and if one person reports it, they’ll take it down and slap you with a suspension.
We’ve known about all this for awhile now. But there’s more than that. Oh, so much more.
Facebook is Not Private
Here’s the main thing you need to understand about Facebook: it’s not private.
We all know that what we say on there in groups and on pages could be shared. Sure. We know if our profiles are public, then friends or even employers could look us up and see what we do with our time. It’s the internet, and it’s forever.
Did you know that even if you are posting in a private or secret group, Facebook can read and even use that information? They can (and do) share it with marketing partners. And if you post a picture of your kids and set it to show to “close friends” only, Facebook owns that image and could use it in advertising. Without letting you know first — because you agreed to it when you signed up.
This even applies to the private messages you send through their service.
There’s more, so much more. Megan over at Living Whole detailed many of Facebook’s Terms of Service issues just a couple of days ago. I won’t rehash all that here, I’ll just let you read her post. Do it — you’ll be shocked.
Facebook is Anti-Natural
Are you shocked yet? If not, it’s because you didn’t read Megan’s post. Go do it; I’ll wait.
Now are you shocked? Good. We’re making progress.
I mentioned above that Facebook does nothing to stop hate groups, hate speech, harassment, and more. They openly allow trolling groups to exist, for the sole purpose of infiltrating other closed groups and public pages and taking screenshots and mocking those users. There are hundreds of these types of pages that exist. They have been reported dozens of times. Unless they engage in mockery without redacting peoples’ names (which does get them shut down), they remain up. This is ignored. Several times, my readers have sent me a private message saying, “Did you know about ______ group? They are mocking you/your followers. What sad, hateful people.” I get that message almost daily, from different users.
But we all know that Facebook is pretty keen on removing breastfeeding photos, and even suspending or banning users for posting them. I don’t see how this is more offensive than hate groups, and you probably don’t either (because you’re sane), but that’s how Facebook operates.
A week or so ago, Zuckerberg came out publicly as “pro- vaccine.” The next day, there was a piece in TIME calling for Facebook to “shut down anti-vaxxers.” I’ve watched since that time as my posts’ reach has been directly related to the subject matter. Is it about, say, food or homeschooling? It gets pretty good reach, especially with a lot of likes and comments. Is it about natural health/remedies? It gets almost no views, even if a lot of the people who do see it like and comment.
I’m not the only page to notice this. It’s happening to most every “alternative” blogger out there. (We’ll just ignore the fact that our organic — that is, unpaid — reach on an average post has gone from around 20% of our fans a couple years ago to barely 1% now. Facebook would like us to pay to reach the people who already “opted in” by liking our pages.)
It’s completely legal, too. Facebook is a private company and they can make whatever rules they want. They can limit our reach just for fun, or because they don’t happen to agree with what we’re saying. We’re not guaranteed a platform to speak there. “Free speech” legally only means the government can’t censor you or throw you in jail. But private companies can (censor, not jail).
You Deserve a Safe Space
Are you mad now? Really mad?
With this country in the state it is, with everyone practically rioting against “natural” parents and trying to strip our rights — to make medical decisions, educational decisions, and more — it’s become a cold, hard reality that we’re alone. Except, of course, if we can access and band together with other like-minded parents.
We rely on social media for that. Some of us are lucky enough to live in areas with a high number of like-minded families. Many are not. It’s easy to feel sad and alone if you are in an area where most are not like you. On social media, you can find your “tribe.” The people who think like you think, who do like you do.
You should have the right to do that. You should have the right to connect with others without having your speech censored or your reach limited (or the reach of the pages you prefer to see).
Now, there is such a place.
It’s called MeWe, and it’s a new social media site. They take privacy seriously — you own all your content, not them. They also don’t allow bullying, trolling, or harassment. They won’t allow people to target pages or groups and be nasty to them. They won’t allow them to start hate groups. And every group can choose their privacy settings, so that they have to approve all new members before they join (which keeps trolls out, if you screen members carefully). Plus, if someone is nasty, you can ban them — and they actually stay banned.
This creates a safe space for like-minded people who just want to have a real discussion about all things natural living. One of the main guys over at MeWe is actually a “natural dad” himself, and I’ve spoken to him about some of this — it’s for real. It’s not going to end up like Facebook.
Because of Facebook’s blatant violation of privacy and obvious censorship of natural communities, I’m moving my operations over to MeWe.
It’s going to take a few weeks to actually get the word out to everyone, and help everyone get set up over at MeWe. We are screening members because we want a solid, positive community. But after awhile, I’ll delete my presence on Facebook. I just can’t be a part of that business anymore. I disagree too strongly with what they are doing.
If you’ve been a follower on Facebook, you’ll want to jump over to MeWe. You can join the Modern Alternative Mama community right here. In just four days, we have over 1000 members. Make sure to share this post with your like-minded friends so they can join us too! It’s pretty active over there. 🙂
I’m not the only blogger to do this. Many of my natural-living colleagues are jumping ship and heading over to MeWe, too. See, they care as much about privacy as I do, and the ability to reach their fans without censorship.
If you care, too — join me now. We, as alternative parents, have a right to raise our families to be naturally healthy, to connect with other parents doing the same, to share wisdom and information freely, and to do it without facing mockery!
Are you ready to make the switch?
How do you feel about Facebook right now?
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