In order to keep my daughter busy during the lock down, we encourage her to join a lot of online classes tailored for her grade. Usually, everyone has their own platform/app to broadcast the lessons. Last week, her teacher forwarded a link for a course on Vedic Mathematics which is supposed to help her in doing the math calculations faster. The only catch was that it was conducted through their Facebook page.
Now that was a turnoff. It’s been more than two years since I logged in to Facebook. I was frustrated with the amount of negativity that was being spewed on my wall. Why do I still have an account then, you ask? Just in case if I have to apply for a job in the company which I think is wishful thinking. So I was asking my wife to use her Facebook account for this class. She denied straightaway. She has not been using her account for about 5 years or so now. And she doesn’t even remember her credentials. I had to be the sacrificial goat now.
I logged in two days before the class to check if I can even log in and if the account is active. It was. I checked the notification and messages. Nothing great. Only one person who lost my contact number has pinged me recently asking for my number. Otherwise, it seemed like nobody cared for my existence, which is good. Then, I committed the sin of going through the timeline. I thought I will see posts about Covid 19. First ten posts went like this:
- Aggressive post against the ruling party with intense fanatic debate in the comment section
- Sponsored content elevated by Facebook
- WhatsApp forwards that found their way into Facebook
- Some page that one of my friends liked
- Aggressive post against one or more religions with intense fanatic debate in the comment section
- Pages or content suggested by Facebook
- A friend showing off her cooking skill, kids achievements. Finally, that’s more like what it should be.
- Some contacts trying to sell their quilling, art, classes, etc.
- Some contacts re-sharing a memory suggested by Facebook
- Aggressive against the ruling party with intense fanatic debate in the comment section
That was enough to test the waters. I didn’t dare to enter deep into the abyss. It hasn’t changed a bit in two years.
On the day of the class, I logged in again. This time notification section was showing five of my friends suggesting me to like five different pages that they have created or are following. All in the span of last 24 hours. I think when I logged in, Facebook went and told all my contacts, ‘hey, your friend has returned. Do you want to shower him some love by suggesting some pages to like?’ I don’t know if Facebook has bugs but Facebook definitely bugs. Blame it on the algorithm, shall we?
Some of this thought is shared in this video by the stand-up comedian Aravind SA. Enjoy.