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Opinion | I Love Facebook. That’s Why I’m Suing Meta.

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the author's positive experience using Facebook and his desire to have more control over his Facebook feed. It also explores the potential benefits of tools like "Unfollow Everything" that allow users to curate their social media experience, and the challenges faced when social media platforms resist such third-party tools.

🙋 Q&A

[01] I Love Facebook. That's Why I'm Suing Meta.

1. What are the author's positive experiences with using Facebook?

  • The author enjoys using Facebook to connect with high school and college friends, celebrate birthdays, and share news about their lives.
  • The author reconnected with a college housemate on Facebook, and they later got married.

2. What issue does the author have with Facebook's feed algorithm?

  • The author wishes he had more control over how Facebook delivers updates from his friends.
  • Facebook's algorithm forgets friends the author wants to hear from, becomes obsessed with people the author is only loosely connected to, and generally feels like an obstacle to how the author would like to connect with friends.

3. What tool did the author find to address this issue?

  • The author found a software tool called "Unfollow Everything" developed by a British software developer, Louis Barclay.
  • This tool would automate the process of unfollowing each of the author's 1,800 friends, allowing the author to experience Facebook without the endless updates, photos, and videos generated by Facebook's algorithm.

4. What potential benefit did the author see in tools like "Unfollow Everything"?

  • The author saw that if tools like "Unfollow Everything" were allowed to flourish, they could create a more civic-minded internet by giving users better control over what they see on social media.

5. What happened to the "Unfollow Everything" tool?

  • Facebook forced the developer, Louis Barclay, to remove the software.
  • The author notes that large social media platforms appear to be increasingly resistant to third-party tools that give users more control over their experiences, and many have stopped supporting third-party tools directly.

[02] Broader Implications

1. What are some of the serious concerns about what social media is doing to individuals and society?

  • The article mentions that there are many serious concerns about the impact of social media on individuals and society.

2. How do the author's views on tools like "Unfollow Everything" differ from the broad measures proposed by Congress?

  • The author suggests that the broad measures proposed by Congress, such as forcing the sale of TikTok or asking platforms to ensure young users aren't harmed, do violence to freedom of expression and may put even more control over what people read and view in the hands of powerful companies.
  • In contrast, the author believes that if users have a right to choose what they experience on social media, tools like "Unfollow Everything" could allow people to decide how social media works for them and their children.
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