Several months ago, after writing a newsletter and blog twice each week for a few years, I suddenly get an influx of Friend requests on Facebook.  At first, I was overjoyed. Then I discovered that these “friends” weren’t the kind of people who I’d expect to like my writing. So, I began the laborious job of unfriending them.  But really, I was taking my time, not thinking it was something that had to be done immediately.

Then one day, I get a request from the Facebook Messenger system asking if I wanted to activate it.  I did, and that’s when I was betrayed by Facebook.  Every time I got onto Facebook after that, I’d get interrupted by “Friends” and non-friends (people I never friended) wanting to talk. It was like having the hiccoughs and not being able to end it.

Then I started getting photos and videos I didn’t want and never asked for. Yes, I can – and did – block these. But by this point I was feeling distinctly harassed.

I tried de-activating Messenger, only to discover that I couldn’t. I messaged Facebook and let them know the situation and how I was feeling, and to please!deactivate Messenger.  No response.

That’s when removing all unknown “friends” became a priority. I did it. En masse.

At last. Peace.

I learnt something from this: don’t be so hasty in assuming that people really want to be friends with me simply because they say so – on Facebook. And always keep in mind that Facebook has its own agenda that isn’t necessarily mine.

OK. So that was Facebook.  But it could have been almost any large corporate business these days.  With Facebook, there’s no real way of contacting them – as with many online businesses. So, I’m left with something that’s broken and that I need to work around rather than simply fix or get rid of.  Oh, I know they’re a big company and they can’t respond to all complaints or concerns. But they need to. Just like I need to. Just like you need to. If you and I want to maintain our connections in a good way.

Being betrayed by big business might not seem as big a deal as being betrayed by a real friend.  But in a way it is. It’s just that we are so used to this from companies these days that we tend to shrug it off with resignation and cynicism.

I think there’s more I can do. I can write about it and see if that makes a difference.
This isn’t about painting Facebook or any other large company into the corner of evil-doing. It’s about expecting good service instead of negligent service.  And I wonder: if we never complain, why would they think anything’s wrong?

How the NSA betrayed the world’s trust

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