5 Simple Solutions That Would Make Facebook Bearable Again
Facebook has been open to the general public for 10 years, which means that all of the bugs and kinks should be worked out by now. But because of the nature of the Internet and just plain ol' dumbass human interaction, the longer Facebook is an entity, the stronger its IQ vacuum becomes. Fortunately, I have some very simple solutions to some very big problems. Maybe one of its 12,000 employees will see this article and use these free ideas to fix horseshit like ...
Seeing Racist Posts From People You Love
Want to keep in touch with all those family members you see only when someone dies or subpoenas you as a character witness? Obviously Facebook is perfect for that, until you friend them and watch your feed fill up with images of Obama burning the Bible and laughing his MS Paint-drawn horns off. It's usually accompanied by links that promise to show you something "They" don't want you to see. It almost always includes a curse word, followed by "Muslims." Every issue, no matter how minor, is "destroying the country."
Make even the most innocent comment about the subject and your timeline erupts in a flurry of racist idiocy, like a wrestling match between Hulk Hogan and David Duke. In my experience, people rarely talk in such extremes in person, but once they're on a platform where they don't have to see the horror creep into the eyes of whoever they're vomiting this nonsense onto, all bets are off. While you're wondering where all this crazy came from, they're busy stacking their profile with Minions memes to really hammer home their views on immigration.
"THIS will show them! Let's see you debate THAT!"
Knowing your extended family's personal political stance shouldn't affect how much you love them, but there's only so many shared images about "those lazy welfare queens" you can take before calling an exorcist.
Google has an algorithm that can predict your searches like a fucking Pandora channel. There's no reason Facebook shouldn't be able to create one that blocks all content by keyword. It could even filter out all content for a specific profile that they didn't upload themselves. Meaning every meme gets cock-blocked way before it ever reaches your eye-holes.
We'll call it "The Timeline Un-Fucker."
Now you can keep updated on their actual lives and not whatever shiny new conspiracy theory has caught their attention this week. It's more connection than unfollowing but doesn't require you to "hide all posts by this clearly insane, racist dickhole" every time they find a new one.
This same algorithm could benefit every single personality type out there, even outside of the political subjects. Don't want to see anything related to pumpkin spice? Block it. Minions? Blocked! NRA? Blocked right in the face! Tetris? Oddly enough, unable to be blocked.
Watching Your Family And Friends Fight Each Other
I posted something about #blacklivesmatter about a month ago. Ten minutes later my phone sailed right through my (closed) window of its own power and volition. You know the reason already. It took about four seconds for friends and family to go from a somewhat human discussion to an all-out flame war. While I was talking to a family member about different ways to look at a problem, a bunch of unrelated people decided, "Hey, I don't know this person, so I'm going to yell my thoughts right into his stupid goddamn suckhole until he feels dumb enough to concede my victory."
Neither side is ever going to see the other person in real life. Chances are, they'll never interact again, even online. They don't give a shit that you're the common denominator. Both sides only see someone they have to enlighten on the ways of the world. With caps lock. I seriously got private messages from one side of the argument later on saying, "Oh, is he still arguing in good faith now?" No, dipshit; he feels attacked, so he's lashing out. I don't care if he's wrong; you wouldn't start screaming your beliefs at a stranger on the sidewalk, so don't do it on my timeline. And fuck you very much for asking if you can "go ahead and unleash now" on a member of my family, person I kind of remember from school.
Nice to meet you! Again ... I think?
This particular problem actually has three solutions, and I wouldn't mind seeing every one of them put into place.
Just because you have these two groups of people in your life, it doesn't mean they have to interact with each other. If they insist on doing that, however, at the very least Facebook can create a special warning that pops up before their message gets posted: "This person is a family member. Please remember that I have to see this person in the real world at some point, whereas you do not. You being a cockhole to them, whether they deserve it or not, makes life difficult for me."
Or for your more vocal friends, a "Rage to Humanspeak" translator could work wonders. It would auto-translate all rage-fueled phrases into a calm, polite, and rational response. Something like "You can't possibly be this fucking stupid" would become "I see the issue from an alternate perspective."
Finally, for the absolute worst-case scenario, the comments would show up as each person getting the final word. Once the "discussion" turned over-the-top, there's no going back with your bile cannons loaded. The last response each person posted would show up as the final response in that thread to the person that posted it. So Uncle Dave and Friend Chet both would walk away thinking they had the final say and the other guy was totally shut down. Winners all around.
Having To Explain Hoaxes To People Who Were Duped By Them
Social media (and the Internet as a whole) allows news to be shared so fast that even professional outlets aren't checking to see if they're full of shit or not. Some people just read headlines and say, "Yeah, I bet that could happen," without checking, or even caring, to see what butthole that story was pulled from.
Every week there's a new dumbass, image-based meme warning parents about houses giving out drugs disguised as candy for Halloween, saying NASA has "confirmed" 15 days of darkness, or about Satan being spotted shitting from the clouds above an ISIS camp. I made that last one up, but I'm sure someone with decent Photoshop skills can make that happen and get it passed around on Facebook in a matter of minutes.
With one click of a button, you can warn your whole monkeysphere about that horrific, "might be bullshit but better safe than sorry" story. You'd be a bad person if you didn't share it.
Any story purporting to be true can be shared only after the sharer enters a verification code found on the relating Snopes page. Any news story too recent to have a Snopes entry can be posted only by consenting for the post to flash red over and over, prefaced with big bold letters, "THIS POST HAS NOT BEEN VERIFIED AS FACTUALLY ACCURATE AND IS IN ALL LIKELIHOOD A STUPID FUCKING HOAX!" Any attempt to share a well-known hoax will get your account banned for 48 hours and, after three attempts, someone will come to your house and personally punch you in the dick, even if you're sharing it ironically.
Timestamps And Read Receipts Make You Look Like A Dick
You've had a rough day, and all you want to do is sit down and chop some faces in World Of Warcraft. Maybe it's been so bad that you find yourself sharpening your actual, real-life battle ax. And then your phone chimes. So you swipe it without looking and see a message from your just-divorced friend who is going through some major life blah blah blah.
You are not currently in a helpful state of mind ... but you also can't say, "I'm blowing you off for a video game. I can barely deal with my own problems right now, and I'm going to lose my shit if you don't leave me alone -- I CAN'T BE THERE FOR YOU ALL THE TIME, FUCK!" We've all been through that situation where in order to be a good friend tomorrow, you have to be a shitty friend tonight. We know it's better in the long run, but you can't really explain that to a person who believes they're lodged deep in the colon of a catASStrophe. Hehehe.
The only time I need to know something RIGHT NOW is if someone was bitten by a wolf.
Related to that is the message that shows when you're in the actual act of responding. If I'm typing out a really long response and then realize halfway through that it's stupid, or unhelpful, or stupidly unhelpful, I'm going to delete that shit. From your friend's perspective, when they get your final message of, "K ... brb," it looks like you're the world's slowest typer, or you were just composing a sonnet to confess your love but decided against it at the last second. There's no way to not look stupid in that situation.
Remove the timestamp. Remove the read receipt.
Do I need to know that 3:45 a.m. was the exact minute you were needing me to send you more lives on Candy Crush? I do not. Do you need to know how long it took me to figure out the most polite way to tell you, "No, I'm not going to look at your screenplay"? No one here needs to use Facebook's messenger to establish an alibi. What's the next step in communications, here? The other person seeing letter by letter what I'm typing? Is the next big thing in social media just an empty Google Doc page?
Crap, I forgot to give edit permissions again. Every fucking time!
No one needs the pressure of trying to form a response on the spot. This is the exact reason we treat telephone calls like a massive life interruption. It puts you in a position of theoretically having to be available 24/7. If I see my phone blinking at 4 a.m., I have to check it to make sure there isn't some massive work emergency. If it's a drunk message from someone just going through their contacts, shotgunning the same message over and over to see who responds, they know I've seen it. Once they know I'm awake and I've seen their inebriated attempts at human speech, I'm a bitch for not giving them my time. Speaking of time ...
People See You On Facebook When You Shouldn't Be
Have you ever needed an urgent response from someone, but they're not replying? Like maybe at work, you can't move forward on a project until Toby Projectfinisher gives the go-ahead. Or maybe you're planning your Thanksgiving festivities, but you need to hear back from the one friend who can afford to bring a turkey. So you wait and wait and wait, and you're getting more pissed off by the second because your whole day is being held up ... and then you see that person fucking around on Facebook?
Or maybe you've been Toby Projectfinisher. You just posted a picture of the biggest horse cock you've ever seen, only to be met with replies of, "Hey, aren't you supposed to be working?" Or, "Shouldn't you be studying?" It's so easy to be sucked in to what's going on with other people's lives online, because you need to use the Internet to do almost anything. And it's right there. All the time. Every page has a way to share something in a few clicks. It takes zero time but gives the illusion that you're just sitting on your ass, looking through page after page of horse cock pictures until you find the exact right one for your Facebook feed.
Wait, I totally forgot why I was doing this.
I have at least 10 tabs open in Chrome while I'm awake, and my phone is no less than three feet away from me at all times. I'm on Facebook so much I should have a syndrome named after me. But whenever my icon turns that "I'm online, please interrupt my day" green, I can't tell you that I'm crazy swamped ... because I'm on Facebook. If I'm on Facebook, I can't be that busy, right?
A "share" button that comes with the little "poop" emoji. This feature is for anyone that has something else they should be doing but has to take a break to see a man about some porcelain. And then shit into that porcelain right in front of that man. It allows them to take all the time they need on Facebook without having to explain, "I'm only posting things right now because pooping is boring." You can let people know with one little icon, "Yes, I'm online, technically, but trust me -- you don't want to strike up a conversation at this very second."
I guess what I'm suggesting in every one of these entries, when you really boil it all down, is asshole management. For your contacts as well as yourself. It's become pretty obvious that self-control isn't working on its own. Might as well use the power of Facebook to impose it.
Emily works for Cracked and would like you to share this while pooping. You can also yell at her about titles on Twitter.
No matter what, Facebook will always be a place for people to prove they are better than you. See 10 different versions of this in 10 People From Your Past Who Will Haunt You On Facebook, and learn why people actually get aroused posting on Facebook in The 4 Selfish Reasons People Share A Thing On Facebook.
Also follow us on Facebook, and take all of your racist anger out of your feed and funnel it into our comments section.