Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are often used by the Left to rally folks to support or oppose a certain cause. Interestingly enough, Facebook has often been a venue to complain about the weak and ever changing privacy policies of Facebook. These liberal protests complain about the monolithic Facebook bureaucracy and urge their fellow citizens to “Like” a page that urges Facebook to be more transparent about their privacy settings being changed. In an ultimate case of irony, the protesters use Facebook to convince others to stop using Facebook. For some, Facebook has become an entitlement.
Liberals claim to be on the side of the “little guy” and rally against the government. For example, the Occupy movement protested corrupt politicians and an inherent distrust in the government. I have always suspected that their distrust in government was conditional.
So, as a social experiment I posted the following status update on my Facebook page, “I am amazed that some folks get all up in arms and start petitions when an optional service (Facebook) threatens their privacy yet have no problem when the government forces them to do something.” I was intentionally vague about the government reference because I wanted to see the non-partisan agreement about an inherent distrust of government. I was right: Half of my “Likes” were from my openly conservative friends and the other half from my openly liberal friends.
I found the response by my liberal friends to be intriguing because the same people that seem to distrust the government in a vague manner, took to the streets to support legislation that would become the biggest expansion of government and potentially the biggest institutional loss of privacy ever in the country, the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).
If all the people that lose sleep over Facebook’s privacy settings would have used that same energy to stop this government-imposed healthcare mandate, the legislation may have never been passed.
Anger and activism should not be directed at a voluntary activity like being on Facebook because it is easy to log off or find other social networking sites. Giving the government the power of taxation for punishing citizens for not purchasing healthcare should be of bigger concern. Finding a new government is a lot more difficult than finding a new website to share pictures and jokes.