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08 July 2015

The Evil of Facebook



I came across an article on how Facebook causes envy. It was a study conducted by 2 German Universities. One cause of envy was users posting photos of holiday vacations or having a “good time.” Considering my career and the isolation that comes with it, I think they're on to something. 

The researchers found that one in three people felt worse after visiting thie site and more dissatisfied with their lives, while people who browsed without contributing were affected the most. “We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry,” researcher Hanna Krasnova from the Institute of Information Systems at Berlin’s Humboldt University told Reuters. –from the article

I confess. I have a negative opinion about social networking so any article that shines a bad light on f/b or MySpace feeds my bias. I know what some of you are thinking — f/b don’t kill people, people kill people, it is not the application itself which produces envy. This would be the logical way of thinking about it. It’s just like arguments against gun restriction. It is not the gun itself -- it’s the deranged people who use guns that cause terror. 

This is true. But I think the evil of fb can be related-- in a sense-- to one of my favorite movies. In the film The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo had left to his nephew Frodo a magic ring as part of his inheritance. When the wizard Gandalf discovered it belonged to the Dark Lord Sauron, he tells Frodo of its power and the eventual destruction of Middle Earth if the ring found its way back to its master. Immediately aware the danger and responsibility Frodo offers it to Gandalf. Frightened by the prospect, Gandalf explains he would desire to use the ring for good but the ring working through him would bring about evil.

Down to earth reasoning tells us it's not f/b which is evil. It only provides a medium that sometimes brings out the worst in some. Though who can say it has not become self-aware, that it’s bent on evil and destruction for those who try to wield its power? There are countless stories of people whose lives were destroyed by f/b: wrecked marriages and friendships; the envy and jealousy; the lonely who feel slighted because they don’t get enough “likes”. Then there’s the gossip, lies, and all manner of wickedness behind the screens. Who knows, maybe f/b is the “One Ring that rules them all”?

If any of the Wise should with this Ring overthrow the Lord of Mordor, using his own arts, he would then set himself on Sauron’s throne, and yet another Dark Lord would appear. And that is another reason why the Ring should be destroyed: as long as it is in the world it will be a danger even to the Wise. For nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so. I fear to take the Ring to hide it.  I will not take the Ring to wield it. — from J.R.R Tokien’s, Lord of the Ring – the fellowship of the ring

2 comments:

  1. Or perhaps what is scary is that f/b is a type of reflection of the human condition. Not self-aware, but reflecting back our own vanities of which we prefer to be unaware.

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