The venality of FaceBook

venality: “the state or quality of being venal (= willing to behave dishonestly in exchange for money)” (Cambridge Dictionary)

That seems to describe FaceBook pretty well.

Of course I am a late-comer to this realisation. Well, I always knew that FaceBook was unsavoury. But not quite how unsavoury.

I’ve been “triggered” it seems by “Reels” on Instagram. Is it just me or is there something odd about showing videos of teenage girls (12-14) doing “weird stuff” to grown-ups? Nothing sexual of course – I’m sure the ‘Reels’ are being monitored (and many are quite possibly actually generated by FaceBook) but “weird” things – like pulling weird faces, suggestive moving of eyebrows, intriguing hand gestures. All of this is designed (whether by users desperate for attention or by immoral revenue lords I don’t know and ultimately it doesn’t make a difference) to draw people in, stimulate their emotions, glue them to the screen. And max out the revenue. Facebook makes money from trivialising human emotions. It is fundamentally anti-human.

As an experiment I tried to file some reports. You can choose from a limited list of reasons to report. Surprisingly, given the furore in the press, there is no ‘child safety’ option. You can’t send any kind of a message. I tried the online reporting form where you can actually leave a comment. It was undergoing ‘technical difficulties’ and didn’t work. No real surprises there.

I noticed that all the ‘Reels’ being fed on my installation of the app. were of young women or girls (aged 12 – 15). They must have detected that the account belongs to a man and quite possibly that he is single. It is interesting how the age cut-off seems to be about 12. It doesn’t look to me like they are taking child protection very seriously.

The furore in the media about “child protection” and social media probably achieves one thing and one thing only – excellent publicity for them. The chances of our lost in the mire politicians actually doing anything about this (rather than shouting about it and pretending) is, I think, about zero. The function of modern political-class politicians is to make life easy for the corporations, and enrich themselves, nothing else.

Where shall we look for morality in the modern West?

This is probably why I don’t see the Taliban as a disaster. At least they have a moral code. At least they don’t live just for money.

Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer