Palmes-Dennis: Why I believe in using Facebook

JUST like any netizen of the world, I love Facebook. Who else doesn't? Except maybe those who have not yet signed up for it since it was founded 14 years ago. I like looking at the photos of family members, friends, classmates, former co-employees and acquaintances. I am sad when I learn of the death and misfortune of people known to me.

Through Facebook I get connected with classmates that have since moved on to another place. Indeed these are interesting times in today's world. As a Facebook user nobody tells me what to share and what to post and I check into my account anytime I want. I just want to be part of a global community of users and I don’t want to feel “ancient.”

It is in Facebook that I reconnected with classmates Lourdez Garces and Edith Tancongco, both based in the US. Facebook is also the platform where I can monitor my grandchildren Christian aka Sam, Susane Lorette aka Tating and Arriane Jaden aka Yanyan and baby Jacob “Porky” B. It makes my day when I see posts that show that they are okay at the moment (ATM).

I look forward to seeing the Facebook posts of cousin Gerva Tagapolot Celeredad in Davao City, Philippines and of students scattered all over the world. And I am inspired everytime Carlyn Francisco posts something in her Facebook account every morning or I read news posted by Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro and Sun.Star Davao, Mindanao Gold Star Daily, Mindanao Daily, Philippine Daily Inquirer and Cebu Daily News at their Facebook pages.

In fact I watch the program hosted by Cagayan de Oro City Hall Information Officer Maricel Casino Rivera featuring Mayor Oscar Moreno over at FB Live. When it comes to connecting with family and friends, I go to Facebook.

I am reminded of all these because I never publicly thanked Facebook for all the good things it has done to my life. So I watched with interest Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg being grilled by the US Congress in relation to the controversy over privacy data following the Cambridge Analytica fiasco. In the two-day hearing I heard words like regulation, control, Cambridge Analytica, Russians, 2016 elections, former US president Barck Obama, US President Donald Trump and so on.

I can also tell who among the legislators were serious and informed in their questioning. I also noticed that Zuckerberg wasn't paying attention at times either because he was tired or overwhelmed by the questions posed to him.

At times I thought that Zuckerberg was in a classroom defending his thesis preparatory to graduation. I tell you this Mr. Zuckerberg, I am a fan of yours. Of all the words I heard during the hearing, I chose the word “control” for discussion. Among many things, control is defined as the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.

Facebook is now a global community and our Facebook account is our property free of rent and charge. A Facebook user is free to post, upload photos, announce one’s feelings, check in, go live, tag friends, use a background color, take a poll, support nonprofit groups,or make a list or delete a post or the account itself.

The Facebook user has control over whom to share his or her posts with and not Facebook. Zuckerberg explained that Facebook earned from advertisements posted on its pages and like many others, I merely glance over the ads or ignore it completely.

There are factual news reports posted in Facebook as well as fake, unverified rumors made to appear as news or fake news. Facebook doesn't force us to believe in it or else be threatened with sanctions. Again, it's up to us to believe it in or ignore it. I also believe in Zuckerberg's contention that Facebook is primarily a tech company and not a publisher in the strictest sense of the word. Zuckerberg said whatever is posted on Facebook is not news unless specified as such by news outlets who have their own Facebook pages. What is posted and passed off as news came from users in the global community, he said. I also find it ridiculous that a legislator asked whether Facebook can determine whether a report posted in its pages is fake or not. Going by Zuckerberg's definition, the people at Facebook are IT professionals and not journalists. Though Zuckerberg is quick to add that they prohibit any posts that promote terrorism and any content that inspires hate, violent and criminal or anti-social behavior.

He said Facebook has mechanisms that allow users to react and post complaints on posts they deem offensive and they act accordingly.

We must remember that when Zuckerberg and his friends founded Facebook, there was no previous model to look up to. Facebook was among the first of its kind, a social media site. Any complaints of abuses were addressed in the crafting of libel laws that deal with spurious and malicious content online

As legislators, it is their duty to craft laws and not seek regulation of Facebook and or any social media content without factual basis. And as part of the global Facebook community, we must all be responsible users if we are to continue using the social media site to get connected with our families, friends and others we hold dear in our lives.

About 14 years after it was created, I find it hard to imagine a world without Facebook. At least I take heart in knowing that Zuckerberg and his people are finding ways to protect their users' data privacy from those who seek to exploit it for their own ends. Don’t get me wrong, I can live without Facebook and in fact, have been leading quite a fruitful life away from it.

It's just that I don't believe it should be deleted because of what happened to it.

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