Over the last half decade, as newer and sexier social media platforms have entered our zeitgeist, Facebook — who, although only 12 years old, is practically ancient today — has become the Internet's version of Subway. It is both ubiquitous and completely and utterly unexciting. In today's cultural landscape, it's no longer where the cool kids go to do cool kid shit. It's where that aunt who randomly capitalizes every third word in her status messages and that grade school classmate who likes and shares Stormfront memes and your ex-girlfriend's fresh out cousin who hasn't quite realized it's not kosher to share porn gifs on timelines exist.
Yet despite its current status, Facebook has remained my preferred platform, for reasons personal and practical. I don't take enough pictures to spend much time on my Instagram page. And while Twitter seems to be the preferred entity for the type of people who do what I do for a living, I go there to read other people's tweets, not to tweet myself. Sure, I'll occasionally live tweet an event or share a thought I think is particularly pithy or timely, but between VSB, The Root, EBONY, and various other places I occasionally contribute to, there are weeks I write up to 15 different pieces. I am a prolific motherfucker. But I can't be that if I'm spending time tweeting instead of crafting pieces around the types of thoughts that would have been wasted on tweets. (And, as far as Snapchat goes, my testicles have been descended for too long to spend much time there.)
And while Facebook has its faults, its ubiquity makes it necessary for me. Because no other platform drives traffic to VSB the way it does. Also, I do enjoy having a mechanism that curates my life. I first got on Facebook in 2007. And now, nine years later, my page is equal parts memory book, diary, event planner, and socializer.
Which is why, today, I'm saddened by the revelation that Facebook is also the pettiest of petty hos.
Of course, I already knew that Facebook, if not quite the devil, had some latent aint shit tendencies. It's good for randomly switching up the algorithm used to control what you're able to see from other people and what other people are able to see from you. Which might not mean much for people with personal pages but matters a lot to people and businesses with fan pages. Also, it's a Darius Lovehall-level stalker. It knows things about me I don't even know about myself yet. Right now, an ad from Suitsupply is the third thing from the top of my page. Before I saw it, I wasn't thinking about getting anything from Suitsupply this week. Especially not a pair of Jort Light Grey Fishtail Trousers. But now I am.
Again, though, I was aware of and accepting of this aintshitness. Because the aintshitness level was an acceptable one. Kinda like being married to a character played by Michael Beach. But then last week I learned that, for the last few years, Facebook has been filtering the messages you receive and directing them to some secret compartment; a place my cousin coined the Illuminati inbox. An article from HelloGiggles alerting everyone to this was shared around Facebook last week. Now, is it common and necessary for email and instant messaging services to have some type of filtering mechanism in place? Definitely! But you're aware your messages are being filtered, and there's often a not-at-all-hard-to-find-at-all place you can go to find them. Facebook, however, didn't feel the need to tell people their messages are being filtered, which sucks because A) THEY DIDN'T BOTHER TO TELL PEOPLE THEIR MESSAGES ARE BEING FILTERED and B) 95% of these messages are real actual messages from real actual people!!!
Granted, 10% of the messages in my Illuminati inbox are from the type of people who felt the need to jump on Facebook and call me a nigger lover. But the rest are messages I really would have liked to read. And some are messages I needed to read. In 2016 alone I found three messages from people from large media entities either expressing an interest in partnering with VSB or asking if I'd be interested in working with them, at least a dozen from ex-classmates, ex-coworkers, and ex-girlfriends reaching out to let me know they read a piece of mine somewhere, and one from a very popular showrunner of a very popular show just reaching out to say they loved my work. But because Facebook is the pettiest of petty motherfuckers, now I look like the asshole who either ignores messages or takes 13 months to reply to them.
I was rooting for you Facebook. Willing to stay loyal while the Snapchat hoes kept trying to tempt me. But now you're messing with my sanity and my reputation. And my money. And although I'm not leaving you (sigh), I just wanted to let you know I know you as much as you know me now. And you aint shit.