Facebook and the implications for sad people
As you probably know by now, Facebook have been manipulating user’s newsfeeds in an effort to study and affect their moods.
There are a whole load of hooks in this story, but one I haven’t seen so far is asking the question, if Facebook have been manipulating what people see in an effort to make them sad, might this be a precedent or excuse for them hiding sad people altogether?
I am a sad person. I struggle with anxiety and depression, and my body is limited in several ways that would make anyone sad to have to deal with. I draw great comfort and strength from the ways in which I engage with my friends over social media. I also like the fact that, although I am not around often in physical locations, and hardly ever bump into people by accident (all my interactions are planned), I can, through social media, spot if someone is having a rough time and offer them support.
This research proves that you can filter out the sad posts from people in your social group, but what does that do to the people making those posts?
I wasn’t born yesterday. I know that there are times when the sadness of others is overwhelming. I know that, from inside my own body, there seems so little I can do to make things better, so it must be hard for others to read that too. I limit the posts I make regarding my disabilities for exactly that reason. I know that there are only so many times someone you haven’t managed to have a pint with in two years can say ‘That sucks’ to you over Facebook before they wonder if they even know the person they are offering sympathy to anymore.
Being sad sucks. Needing support from other people because you are so sad you can’t just pull yourself up sucks more. But asking for support and being met with silence because the platform you are using to do so has decided that it wants its users happy and spending money? That would suck the worst.