Is Facebook Evil?
By Tiffany Wismer
Thereís no denying that Facebook is a big part of life for most people in the year 2012. Itís ubiquitous. Where new acquaintances used to exchange phone numbers, they now say ďfriend meĒ. Nearly every business now asks its patrons to ďlike usĒ. Virtual tumbleweed seems to dance across our deserted and desolate inboxes. Sending a friend a quick comment or joke is so much easier than typing out a long email. We update our page, and our friends are automatically notified about how weíre doing. No need for them to take the trouble of asking. Whatever else can be said about it, thereís no denying that Facebook is efficient. But is Facebook evil?
Facebook has presented us with a smattering of new temptations. Emotional affairs have risen sharply in recent years because of the comfortable anonymity of facebook and other social media. It makes sense. Itís much easier to send an intimate Facebook message to someone than to walk up to that same person at a party and have an intimate conversation. With the help of Facebook, men donít need to be that bold, nor women so very unguarded, for a connection to occur and blossom into a full-fledged love-affair.
In addition, Facebook creates a unique opportunity for narcissistic behavior, time-wasting, escapism, and a generally un-real view of life. The hours we all spend cropping and posting photos of ourselves is, letís face it, a little weird. I canít even think of a non-facebook-oriented parallel to this behavior. Itís an entirely new way of interacting with others. I donít think that posting photos is necessarily a bad thing. But the problem is, we naturally want to put our best face forward and as a result, studies show that through Facebook we are potentially making ourselves (and our acquaintances) miserable. While our friends used to see us at our best and our worst, now we have a new level of control over how we are perceived. Because we are not vulnerable on Facebook, we are creating a sort of wide-spread insecurity in one another. Because we do not see our friendsí weaknesses and problems anymore, the tendency is to only see (and therefore magnify) our own.
Another thing Facebook tends to do is give us a platform to for saying things we really shouldnít say to the general public. The Bible says that no man can tame the tongue. Facebook has convinced me that no man can tame the typing fingers. Many people I know (myself included) have let the impulse to express their emotions on a Facebook status get the better of them, often with disastrous results. At least when we are speaking we have the safeguard of othersí immediate reactions to deter us from saying anything too crazy. Not so on Facebook.
So does all this mean that Facebook is evil? Well, I think what it means is that we are evil. We are easily tempted. Facebook might make sin easier, but ultimately our hearts are to blame. Facebook is just media. Saying that Facebook is evil is like saying that guns kill people, or that spoons make Michael Moore fat. The problem is within us. Facebook is a clever social tool, but I do not think it is a specific tool of the devil Ė at least not any more a tool of the devil than anything else in this world.
That said, thereís no call to be stupid, or to justify sin. If Facebook presents a temptation that you canít resist, flee that temptation (Matthew 5:30). Cancel your account Ė you wonít die. But please donít cancel your account because somebody told you that Facebook is evil. Your heart will still be sinful, and will find opportunities to sin, whether you are on Facebook or not. If being on Facebook makes you stumble, then by all means leave the community. But donít convince yourself that you sinned because Facebook is evil. You sinned because of you.