facebook is really stressing me out these days

i guess i shouldn’t be surprised, but facebook is stressing me out. it’s funny how this tool that started out so amazing after ten years of existence has just become so awful. it’s sort of like bloatware situations, but it’s a little different.

the other day, this was my ‘trending’ section:

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six of those updates are alarming just on first glance. and i’m sure i wouldn’t click on any of them, but even if i don’t want to click, it’s really fucking hard not to look over there at all.

i’ve tried to find a way to get that bar to default to sports (which i care nothing about), but i can’t figure it out.

also the new algorithms that prioritize popular content in my network have totally invisibilized some people in my circles. i just never see anything from them anymore. i didn’t think facebook would ever get so obvious/oblivious as to directly make some voices unheard… but here we are.

when facebook said a while ago that they wanted to be everyone’s source for news, i should have known right then that facebook was going to become increasingly stressful. the news profits off of creating stress.

negativity bias in news has been studied widely. people are more attracted to things that seem dangerous. i’ve read that this is just an evolutionary leftover. obviously, when we were in constant danger in our environments, information that was likely to tell us to get away so we could survive was important. but those brain pathways are hijacked (maybe unintentionally, maybe intentionally) by news outlets. so if facebook wants to be our source for news, of course, they’re going to have to play the same game: attract attention with negative stories. well, i guess they didn’t have to default to that option, but it seems they have. (sidenote: i even read one study once where a news outlet tried to show more positive stories than negative. their ratings and viewership went down. so it’s a terrible catch-22. if you show positive news, you lose viewers which means you lose advertising dollars which means you can’t stay open. in order to stay open as a news outlet, you have to show negative news. shitty, right?)

and the friend-post algorithm thing must fall victim to the negativity bias as well. my friends statuses that are ranting or angry get more attention than the positive ones. i have many friends who try to break this on a regular basis by posting statuses like “what made you happy today?” or “send your favorite TGIF gif.” but those are the aberrations, not the norm.

anyways, just needed to vent out loud that facebook is an increasingly stressful place and it’s not accidental. these are choices made by people over there and i’m not happy about it.

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