Social media in 2017 sucked. Liberal or conservative, places like Facebook were the frontline in a non-stop battle over politics, sexual harassment, fake news, gun violence, and the general idiocy and despair of modern life.
Naturally, this creates a bit of a quandary for the folks who put together Facebook’s annual Year in Review. I mean, who wants to remind the world what an awful place it has become?
Leave it to Facebook to find the silver lining in every cloud of human misery. This year’s list seems plucked from a strange alternate universe of positivity, where every tragedy was really an opportunity for hugging and coming togetherness.
For example, that mass shooting in Las Vegas that left dozens dead and triggered a ferocious, yet futile, debate over gun culture in the United States?
In Facebookland, this becomes a “tragic incident” that “motivated more than 3,300 people to offer help to their community through our Crisis Response tools on Facebook.”
Hooray for humans!
The most talked about moment on Facebook was International Women’s Day. This was a day fueled by protests around the world that highlighted sexual violence against women, income disparity, the Day Without Women movement in the U.S., and all sorts of grim reminders of the rampant gender inequality that still exits. On Facebook, however, this moment was described as “people around the world talking, sharing, and posting in celebration of women and related issues.”
Related issues! Holy euphemism, Batman!
The Women’s March on DC in January was the largest gathering for a Facebook event in 2017. Facebook describes it thusly: “This single event sparked more than 15,000 other local events to be created in different cities across the globe, bringing millions of people together from over 100 different countries for one of the largest global movements in recent history.”
Not noted: The event was sparked by anger over the presidential inauguration of an accused sexual harasser who was promising to roll back a wide range of protections for women. Yeah, that guy. Thus, the pussy hats.
Other awful events, like the Earthquake in Mexico, Hurricane Harvey, and the Manchester bombing are remembered as moments, viewed through Facebook Goggles, when “people came together to support one another in times of crisis.”
If one were to make a more realistic list, it might look more like this:
- Trump’s inauguration begins a daily onslaught of social media anger.
- #MeToo movement leads to widespread reporting of sexual harassment incidents that ends careers of numerous celebrity creeps.
- Russian tampering of elections forces executives from Facebook to testify in front of Congress and promise reforms.
- Fake news undermines credibility of Facebook and other social media platforms.
Ok, now, everybody hug! And have a great 2018!