Facebook has undergone some changes recently, anyone who uses the platform has probably taken notice to the fact that there is far less political content on the site now than there was a while ago but what has replaced this content? Facebook groups, individuals who are believed to be like minded are connected to one another through the Facebook algorithm.
This change may be for the worse. While on the surface level it seems like a great idea, people who like guns may be able to reach across the internet and talk to one another about things related to that topic, but what seems to be happening is that two people who may be “interested” in the same topic may not necessary be so similar. Facebook made this change as a way to combat the vapid hatred users engaging with political content engaged in, now instead of attacking politicians and corporations many are turning on each other instead.
Now, instead of political fights, everywhere you look on Facebook conversations about everything from cooking to kayaking are blowing up into major battles as the scolds and Karens, who once went head-to-head on political posts, are now visiting their hostilities on the most benign groups and conversations.
A few recent examples from my Facebook feed:
A guy in a group for Ohio kayakers posted a picture of himself kayaking on a serene lake. Can you guess what happened next? All the Karens came out to berate him for not wearing a life jacket. The poor victim of the scolds tried to defend himself by pointing out that he was a championship swimmer in college and, besides, he was paddling on still waters. That wasn’t enough, of course. Others weighed in with stories of the bodies of fallen kayakers being pulled from lakes and rivers. My comment on the topic was: “Here’s an idea: how about if we treat people here like the adults they are and trust them to make the best decisions about their own personal safety.” That was met with hostility as well.
In another group focused on homeschooling, a mom asked for advice about her daughter who had some unusual bleeding. Responses ranged from “TAKE HER TO THE ER IMMEDIATELY” (all caps), to warning her that her husband was likely sexually abusing the girl and she needed to throw the bum out NOW. This “advice” went on for hundreds of comments.
Most people are not prepared for a sudden influx of comments, whether they are negative or positive, and considering that these comments tend to be highly abusive and or toxic many suggest that this change is in fact for the worst.
In the eyes of Facebook however this is great news! When users interact more on the site, regardless of how they are interacting, Facebook sees this as a good thing. Tech companies care about things like time on page and user interaction.