Ross: Smother them with niceness on Facebook

Oct 6, 2021, 7:14 AM | Updated: Oct 8, 2021, 10:19 am
(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, says Facebook’s problem comes down to “engagement-based ranking.”

“Facebook knows that content that elicits an extreme reaction from you is more likely to get a click, a comment or reshare,” Haugen said recently.

Yes. It’s called appealing to the reptilian brain. If you search the phrase “reptilian brain,” you’ll find articles with titles like “7 Ways to Engage Your Customer’s Reptilian Brain,” and “Neuromarketing: 7 Ways to Sell to the Decision-Making Lizard.”

And on and on, and Facebook is far from alone! A lot of companies see us as lizard people and they do it because we take the bait.

“More lies, more threats, more combat,” Haugen said.

Well then, if we don’t want that result, suppose we use the more evolved part of our brains to spread stories that celebrate unity, healing, truth, reassurance, and reconciliation? Smother Facebook with niceness.

I know many of you try. There are just not enough of you.

So this may have to be a generational effort. Parents must raise fewer reptiles, and they must monitor their children’s online habits to make sure their carefully raised kids don’t turn into reptiles.

“But Dave,” you may say, “celebrating unity, healing, truth, reassurance, and reconciliation is just so boring.” And I will acknowledge that. But if that’s the way you feel, don’t blame Zuckerberg for the result.

Bottom line: If you see a post suggesting that the coronavirus vaccine contains a “living organism with tentacles that darkens the eyes of newborns” – which was posted by a member of the New Hampshire legislature, don’t share it! Not even ironically. I shouldn’t even be putting it in this commentary. I’m going to ask the staff to delete that line after this airs.

… If that’s even possible anymore. I remember when the news just went out over the air and unless it was something really important you’d never have to hear it again and you could go on with your life. That seems like so long ago.

(Editor’s note: Sorry, Dave. It’s forever.)

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Ross: Smother them with niceness on Facebook