One big reason why I think Socrates wouldn't like Facebook.

Facebook is the first* so populated social media platform that has given "like" an extra functionality, apart that is, from simply expressing your approval of a message. It has created an algorithm that among other parameters detects which accounts you "like" the most and displays more of their content against the content of the rest of your connections.

Consequently Facebook claims that it shows you more of the content you like in contrast to the (up until now) main practice, that of a very clear and simple chronological display of all content, that was initially adopted by every social media platform.

So, Facebook does not consider the fact that you decide to become "friends" with someone enough to show you their content but in a way evaluates your relationship based on likes and interaction. But how appropriate can it be for a platform of communication to show you only things that you are more likely to interact with? Is it ethical to prioritize content this way? What happens to the content that goes missing because of this policy?

Personally, when I am "socially connected" I want to have an open eye to what I perceive as "society". I mean that I usually wonder what other people might be thinking about a specific matter and I am inclined to be challenged by opinions and point of views that are not similar to mine. I want to observe. This is exactly why I generally choose to follow and connect with many accounts and want to hear as many voices as possible. I don't connect only with people with whose content I feel comfortable with.

Of course I want to connect with likeminded people and make friends but I also want to be able to see what other choices I have because I don't pretend I know it all and more importantly I don't think that my opinion and point of view (or content generally) is the only one worth reading.

Unfortunately Facebook's policy to show me more of the things that I like makes its platform a very well protected environment almost idealistic and unreal where as a user I am almost never challenged by different views (is this why it is so addictive too?). I do want to be able to see posts that I don't "like" because I don't believe that being "liked" by someone should be the only reason for a post to exist. 

Facebook's enormous acquisition all over the world with over a billion of active users makes this issue even more troubling as millions of people, all of us, only read content that Facebook considers we are going to "like", thus we are less exposed to opinions we don't agree with and to things we don't know of, an exposure that would potentially help us develop our critical thinking or even change our perception on a matter.

In other words, Facebook is turning as into idiots (with the sense of the Greek word that it comes from). As Socrates had once described, "idiōtēs" is a private, ignorant person who is concerned only for his own truth and is unwilling to understand and care for society as a whole.

Those people were left aside during Socrates' time, as they were considered as incapable of making a clear judgement even unsuitable to take part in voting.

No matter how passionate about my own truth I am (and usually I am very) there would be no point in expressing myself if I am only addressing my message to likeminded people and I am excluding people that have different points of view.

In other words: I am being liked therefore I exist #not

Of course users are able to "like" not only things that they actually like but things that they want to see more of, but this would be a systemic misinterpretation of their "like" that I am sure not everyone is ready to go through.


*Note: Through time, Facebook's practice has been followed by other platforms too. Various online services tend to show you more of their algorithm's recommended content such as videos, images, products, articles, a feature that is meant to serve your liking.