Nothing gives me more heart and stomach cringe than the question of whether to stay on Facebook or not. It is constant self-gaslighting. Since the Facebook Papers were released by the brave whistle blower Frances Haugen, I have struggled daily in real ways. Parsing out my own personal and professional moral responsibilities, I feel strongly that it is unethical to stay on Facebook, both as a business and as an individual. BUT there are people I am friends with on Facebook that I have no other way to contact. People I care about who are not on any other apps. Giving up the ability to communicate with them is overwhelming. I don’t look at their life timelines, it is more about the need to reach out. How do you walk away from this party? And for the business, the monopoly is real. Without Facebook, Girl Museum loses a vital ability to share news with our community, I tell myself. NOT true. Due to the Facebook algorithm, only a fraction of our followers actually see our posts, and a fraction of those read them. The only way to share with our whole community is to pay lots of money that we would have to fundraise from our supporters, just to pay Facebook for the privilege of posting about our work. So we don’t do it.
Facebook fundraising is also dubious. We raise very little money there. It is not really what we want to be doing in that space. But we do. As a micro-nonprofit, we survive on individual donors and monthly support of patrons. These amazing people keep us going. It kills me to ever give any of that generously donated money to Facebook. As you know, Facebook is the way many small businesses and non-profits function at all. As fewer will know, it is the entire experience of the internet in many countries. Facebook is, in essence, a hostile autocracy. Nothing about it is truly ‘for good’. We need to fight its power in our own ways. Demand regulations, break it up, delete the app. And perhaps find new ways to make connections and spaces for not-profits to find audiences without having to sell our souls.
-Ashley E. Remer
Girl Museum Inc.