At this rate, I’m kinda expecting a revelation that Mark Zuckerberg was at the Donald Trump Jr. Russian meeting.
Like you, I’m constantly annoyed with Facebook while utilizing it on a daily basis. The bothersome stuff, while annoying me, doesn’t affect my life in the slightest…or it didn’t until now.
I’m the type of person where a messed-up food order at McDonald’s won’t faze me, while I’ll watch a good friend of mine use the opportunity to go ballistic, and the next thing you know he returns an hour later from his food run with my Big Mac and the full story on how he unloaded what-for and made a 16-year-old struggling with acne cry. While I’ll get over that there are pickles on my sandwich, other little things will totally piss me off.
I’m annoyed with the petty stuff on Facebook. Your food pictures irk me. Why do you do that? Am I supposed to be impressed you ordered sushi? Do you want an “attaboy?” One of my friends posts nearly every single meal she eats. She once posted a picture of cereal. I shit you not. But c’mon. Any doofus with opposable thumbs can put a sandwich together.
Another annoyance; vacation pictures. Vacation slides have been joked about, derided, and hated ever since the photo slide technology was invented. It was why people in the 1970s couldn’t get their friends to come to their dinner parties. Nobody wants to see your vacation photos. I’m telling you this as your friend. Cut it out. You have turned Facebook into one, long, boring vacation slide. I don’t even need to know you went on vacation, but if I do know then I’m going to assume you enjoyed yourself. I don’t need the pictures of you giving the devil-horn sign with your tongue out while you’re at Sandals. I’m not against vacations and I hope to take one again someday…but if I do take one, I know without a doubt that nobody is going to need evidence that it actually happened. OK, maybe in my case they will.
Tagging your location isn’t just annoying, it’s stupid. Like the vacation pics, you’re just bragging about how great your life is, and convincing no one. What you’re actually doing is making stalking you very convenient and alerting burglars that right now is a great time to break into your house. And thanks to Facebook they know what breed of dog you have.
Other annoyances are game requests (I don’t want to play Candy Crush with you), Facebook Live notifications (I get these things from people I didn’t even know I was friends with), the vague post (which are the only type of posts my teenage nieces give and I never respond to, because I’m afraid they’ll tell me), the social experiments (the “let’s see how far this posts can go” and the “if you love Jesus, you’ll share.” Fuck you), pokes (people still do that and I still don’t know why), selfies (We get it. You’re pretty and insecure), and political memes. I hate political memes. I could easily write another 1,000 words ranting about political memes.
Some people hate political posts or that cartoonist who shares his cartoons every time one of his clients publishes them online. You have every right to hate those and, you can bite me.
But now, there is something annoying about Facebook that may have affected our lives. Russians.
Facebook was the target for Russian trolls and useful idiots sharing fake news during the campaign, but Facebook assured us that no foreign outlets were purchasing ads from them. And just like every single member of the Trump campaign, they had collusion with Russia that they conveniently forgot about.
Now, it turns out that $100,000 was spent on political campaign ads that Facebook has traced back to a “Russian Troll Farm.” I don’t want the troll farm image in my head, but I think that crop is yielding in the White House. Also, expect more revelations about Russian ads. I don’t believe for a minute that it stopped at $100,000.
Russians didn’t just purchase a few ads. They engineered these things to select certain demographics and particular regions. For example, white housewives in Wisconsin. Investigators want to know if they had any help from U.S. political operatives who may have pointed them in which direction to target these demographics. Maybe, but the American operatives working for Hillary Clinton weren’t smart enough to go after demographics in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Anyone with a basic understanding of math with a copy of an electoral map should know where to target political ads, and where the stupid people live.
Most of all, I believe this destroys an argument Republicans and people in American intelligence agencies have been using. That argument is; Russian meddling had no effect on the outcome of our election.
Facebook says the Russians used the ads to “manipulate.” No shit, Sherlock. Every ad in the world is created to manipulate. How many will purchase a Kia this year because of Motorhead and a guinea pig? I don’t know, but someone somewhere believes that’s going to happen because they put a lot of money into that campaign.
Whether someone’s pitching Coca-Cola or Donald Trump, they’re not spending ad money just to blow through a budget. They expect results. I do believe that if a high tide throws an octopus into the backseat of my car through the sunroof that Farmers insurance won’t let me down….or that if I have Allstate then my children will be better behaved while we stand gleaming and lovingly together in front of the Statue of Liberty. But, not every ad works that well. Like, Domino’s telling you that their pizza doesn’t suck anymore, or Panera telling me that their salads are “clean,” or that new car commercial giving me the impression that I’ll find riding in a boxcar with hobos much more comfortable than their automobile.
The Russians expected their ads to work. They wanted chaos for their money and nobody can say that we didn’t get chaos. Nobody can say the Russians didn’t get the election results they wanted. We got a hell of a lot more than $100,000 worth of chaos.
I believe the Russians affected our election. We are a nation that gave us Duck Dynasty and Honey Boo-Boo, but I’m not entirely convinced that we’re dumb enough to elect Donald Trump as president on our own. I’d like to think we’d need a push. I know there’s a large portion of our nation who can be manipulated to vote for fuckery. We’re stupid. But are we stupid enough to do this on our own?
Mark Zuckerberg and all the other Facebook executives want us to believe they had no influence on the election. I’d try to believe that too if I wanted to sleep well at night. But, Facebook is worth over $435 billion dollars. Your social media platform doesn’t acquire that much wealth without it having some influence.
Unfortunately, Facebook isn’t just cat and food pictures. It’s a news outlet for many of us. It’s very influential. It’s also complicit.
Clay Jones can be reached at [email protected]
Copyright 2017 The Moderate Voice