Stories about the corruption of social-media giant, Facebook, are coming in at an increasingly faster pace. Apparently, not only is our privacy at risk, but we are being manipulated and targeted. There are accusations surrounding the election cycle, mind games, and total betrayal — all in the name of socializing. It may well be time to take another path — or at least a supplemental one. Here is where social newcomer, MeWe, enters the picture.
What is MeWe?
Touted as the “Next Gen. Social Network,” MeWe claims to offer “the best chat & group app with privacy you can trust.” This new social media platform makes promises including:
Brilliant features with no BS. No ads. No tracking. No targeting.
Although, to some degree, I am addicted to the information train that is Facebook, I sense there is something better out there. Is MeWe a promising alternative to the Facebook disaster? Only time will tell. For now the only logical choice is to give it an honest try. As I enter the world of MeWe, my friends slowly join as well. We feel much freer when it comes to discussing sensitive topics and enjoy the camaraderie of being pioneers of sorts. As we test the waters, and more friends join, we hope to cut our Facebook ties — or at least divide our attention. A monopoly is never a good thing. A monopoly of a manipulator is even worse. Good, healthy competition allows growth and honesty.
What Facebook Is Up To
In one instance, more than 70 million US users were affected by the Cambridge Analytica scandal that harvested and shared their personal information in an effort to influence the US election cycle of 2016. In addition, the simple act of answering those entertaining quizzes, asking for personal preferences, actually helped hackers spy on users and mine their personal information.
Facebook is also notorious for hampering the spread of much “good” (read Christian) information. Basically, anything that a Facebook employee finds “objectionable” to their personal viewpoint is targeted. Are you a Catholic priest and want to use the title “Fr.” or “Father”? No, says Facebook. Does a Catholic college want to share the Good News of Easter by offering an innocuous image of a crucifix in a Facebook ad? Nope, not acceptable.
Facebook Jail And Such
I myself was in Facebook “jail” several times for “inappropriate content.” What is this abhorrent content, you might ask? It was simply my usual fare of informational, non-graphic, pro-life content — the main reason I am on any social network. Among my “friends” that had similar treatment are priests, religious sisters, law enforcement supporters, and other pro-life advocates.
Even the sassy online sensation, Diamond and Silk, find themselves in the crosshairs. As they recounted on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle,” the pair shared what they called a “months-long battle with the company after noticing a drop in engagement in September 2017.”
“They kept giving us the runaround, ‘nothing is wrong with your page,’ ‘there’s nothing wrong with it,’ ‘we don’t know’ … It was just back and forth, back and forth,” Diamond said.“The straw was the other day when they wrote and said that they deem our content and our brand ‘unsafe to the community,’” she added.
In the beginning Facebook offered an attractive outlet and sharing source. Unfortunately things have dramatically changed since then. First we saw our feed lacking input from our “friends” as Facebook decided for us who we wanted to see, how we wanted to see it, and who saw what we shared. As it became a publicly offered company, Facebook also began a more urgent drive to monetize its services. For example, a small Facebook fan page like mine, Designs by Birgit – Catholic Life In Our Times, took years to build up a 2500+ list of fans. Yet a tiny percentage of these members find what is shared on their news feed these days. For a payment, however, I can increase my readership by a few percentage points. Charging for what I have worked for is hardly attractive or fair-minded. Since I offer what I create free of charge, paying for exposure is also not a viable option.
Between the accounts of misbehavior on the part of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, some of which I regularly encounter, and a need to evangelize, many of us are put in a tough spot. This turn of events is unfortunate because I have come to rely on the Facebook platform to share my small apostolate with others.
Let’s face it, our socially active society thrives on a platform that allows snippets of information to be shared at the click of a mouse. Soundbytes reign supreme. For the most part, newsprint and even television news are no longer sought-after sources. Instead, we rely on a carefully cultured cyber-family.
Coming from the paranoid world of Facebook, I wonder if MeWe might just be the next best thing. We are all weary of the shenanigans Facebook plays on us on a continual basis. What we do need is an honest, clear platform on which to share what is important to us and our souls.
My call from the Holy Spirit has involved the pro-life cause since the beginning. My personal testimony is intended to help women who find themselves with an untimely pregnancy. Mine is a story of hope, love, and the faith of my parents. In this vein, I create pro-life memes and write for several Catholic publications. To date, my most successful platform to broadcast this work has come through Facebook. With like-minded friends and other pro-life advocates many of God’s children, in need of encouragement, have been touched. I do this because that is what God has called me to do. Mine is a drop in the bucket but it is a sincere effort to inform, encourage, and share with Christ-like love. As Saint Teresa of Calcutta told us, “Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.”
Join me, and a growing number of friends, on the social platform that offers us the privacy and peace for which we long. The more we encourage each other, the more successful we will be in cutting the cord from our Facebook addiction. In turn, Facebook will no longer own us and our content. Perhaps we can all be a small part of a big change.
Copyright 2018 Birgit Jones