Is Facebook activism effective?

Rory17

Practitioner
Joined
Jul 2, 2017
Reaction score
75
Age
25
Hello 👋,
I have just been involved in an upsetting conversation on Facebook with a member of a group against the dog and cat meat trades about the consumption of other animals (cattle, pigs, etc).
I have a lot of upset from and about my posts and conversations on Facebook. I’m thinking of deleting my Facebook. However, if Facebook is an effective tool for activism, I probably wouldn’t delete it, if not deleting it and continuing to use it for animal rights activism would be what is best for the animals and their cause.
However, it can cause me upset and really stress my mum when something like this happens. Should I delete my Facebook?
Thanks 😊.
 

Ahimsa

Practitioner
Joined
Nov 2, 2020
Reaction score
291
Location
UK
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
Hello 👋,
I have just been involved in an upsetting conversation on Facebook with a member of a group against the dog and cat meat trades about the consumption of other animals (cattle, pigs, etc).
I have a lot of upset from and about my posts and conversations on Facebook. I’m thinking of deleting my Facebook. However, if Facebook is an effective tool for activism, I probably wouldn’t delete it, if not deleting it and continuing to use it for animal rights activism would be what is best for the animals and their cause.
However, it can cause me upset and really stress my mum when something like this happens. Should I delete my Facebook?
Thanks 😊.
Put it this way, I was on Facebook for many years as an activist and I could probably put the amount of people who saw my posts in two figures, despite having about 500 "friends" at one point. In my opinion, Facebook seem to control who can see your posts, and if they're about animal activism I think they make sure not many people do see your posts. So, in a nutshell I'd say it is a platform for sharing activist information, but not a very effective one.
 

KLS52

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
28,482
Age
69
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I’m no FB expert but I’m off and on all day long. I see a lot of animal activist posts but it’s probably because I follow a lot of animal pages...usually shelters and ones that promote happy stuff though. I’m not interested in anything graphic. So it’s possible the algorithm, if that’s the right word, picks up on the fact that I like animals.
I don’t use my FB for that purpose. I will post informational links that aren’t too “in your face” because that’s just my style. But I do notice that the only people who post a “like” reaction, if I get any reactions at all, are my online veggie friends. My real life friends and family are just scrolling on by.
I think people have to be at least a little bit interested in wanting to learn about animal rights. Most of the people I know prefer to turn a blind eye because change can be hard and they aren’t willing to change.
I think you need to weigh the pros and cons. If FB is giving you more upset than it is joy, I would probably say delete it. Or maybe deactivate it for a month and see how you feel. You can’t help any cause if you are too unwell/unhappy to be productive.
Maybe find other avenues where you can help advocate for the animals. 😊
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1956 and Ahimsa

KLS52

Guru
Supporter
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Reaction score
28,482
Age
69
Location
USA
Lifestyle
  1. Other
I did a little search and here are a few alternatives:

Email campaigns, leafleting, petition campaigns...this could be something you can do on FB...post petitions. I find sometimes while people may not be willing to make personal changes right now, they are willing to sign an online petition that advocates animal welfare change.
One really great way of advocating is by being a good example through your everyday living. 😍
There are more ambitious endeavors like political campaigning and organizing demonstrations if someone is so inclined.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ahimsa

1956

Practitioner
Joined
Dec 1, 2020
Reaction score
563
Age
64
Location
Ireland
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
Hello Rory,
I don’t use Facebook or any other social media except this forum so I don’t think that I can be of much help.
However, the one thing that I thought of particularly in the situation you mentioned was to not let the posts become personal. If someone is making a post about the dog or cat meat trade, perhaps just post a video or other info from reputable sources - but, not write your own comment - about farm animals, their living conditions and how they are consumed daily and far fewer people are concerned about them. This way you are providing the information but, not interacting with them. The suggestion to take a break from time to time sounds good to me too.
You seem like a wonderful advocate for the animals, remember to take care of yourself too...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ahimsa and KLS52

Sax

Practitioner
Supporter
Joined
Mar 21, 2018
Reaction score
1,629
Age
35
Location
Missouri
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
I haven't been on FB for like 7 years so I don't know what it's like nowadays. I suspect it's best for connecting with other activists and finding/organizing IRL events. I think it's good to put vegan/animal rights info out there whether or not it feels effective - as long as it isn't alienating or backfiring in some other way.

Edit: You say it's upsetting you. I guess you could try to just ignore any responses and not get sucked into arguments. But putting activism before your own mental wellbeing is definitely not effective in the long run, so don't feel bad if you feel the need to quit FB.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 3, 2016
Reaction score
1,265
Age
41
Lifestyle
  1. Vegetarian
Likes and comments are a bad judge of effective activism, since people like mainstream harmless comments and don't like things that really make them think. I would ignore how many likes you get.

Rory, I suggest you reduce your amount of time on facebook and try to avoid anything that stresses out. If it doesn't work I would quit. If these stresses are occassional just take a break - of some days or weeks - then come back. If it keeps stressing you out though, I would quit.

One way to unstress is to not get notifications on your phone. If someone responds to me on facebook I won't know until I go to google and I literally have to type in facebook. That creates a bit of friction so you won't overly use it. I check about once a day or twice a day if I post something.

Just post something on facebook, then forget about it, then look once 2-3 hours later and then next day to respond to comments. If you find yourself in the hours after you post something wondering if anyone has responded or constantly checking that's possibly a sign your use is unhealthy and you should stop.

Meditation and mindfulness and reading about human psychology is helping me a little to work out my own similar stresses.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1956 and Sax

Mikkel

Master
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Reaction score
9,871
Age
43
Location
Norway
I can be. When you had the star rating system, it was a bit easier. We had different places we targeted that example sold fur, foie gras etc, giving them one star, the reason and when they removed the unwanted item, we changed it to five stars. Companies depend a bit on the feedback, and when you search after a restaurant or a shop, few of us will go and test a place with only bad feedback. Most of us won't even check why they did get it.

There was a case (I think in the US) where a chef vrote on Instagram that one of his hobbies was to put meat in vegan dishes. They got so heavily bad feedback on that case, that he got fired in the end.
 
  • Agree
  • Like
Reactions: shyvas and 1956

JacobEdward

Practitioner
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Reaction score
6
Age
30
Location
Olympia WA
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
Put it this way, I was on Facebook for many years as an activist and I could probably put the amount of people who saw my posts in two figures, despite having about 500 "friends" at one point. In my opinion, Facebook seem to control who can see your posts, and if they're about animal activism I think they make sure not many people do see your posts. So, in a nutshell I'd say it is a platform for sharing activist information, but not a very effective one.
We need to augment facebook with browser extensions and plow through that ******** with auto commenting... the other thing is the notifications about people outside of your group, all of this can be totally quantified with browser extensions
 

JacobEdward

Practitioner
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Reaction score
6
Age
30
Location
Olympia WA
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
Edit: You say it's upsetting you. I guess you could try to just ignore any responses and not get sucked into arguments. But putting activism before your own mental wellbeing is definitely not effective in the long run, so don't feel bad if you feel the need to quit FB.
activism is mental wellbeing, the nature of the world and the mind... lol the overton window is absurd... seems absurd to suggest jesus eating a chopped up corpse as blatantly demonic would be indefensible and off-putting and some sort of social gaff and so if you had any genuine religion of veganism type of thing you must be this crazy lunatic that needs to always bottle that up in order to be an acceptable social primate... activism being the bringing of the focus to that awareness is very much in alignment with mental wellbeing
 
Joined
Jan 3, 2016
Reaction score
1,265
Age
41
Lifestyle
  1. Vegetarian
A week ago I checked the pages of 10 friends on facebook and read through all the posts they had posted in recent weeks.

Some posts I had not seen before - they had never appeared in my feed - even ones from close family.

I had already seen all the ones that got a lot of likes/comments but not most of the posts with few/no likes/comments.

So maybe when you first post something it's shown to 5-10 friends and then if those friends don't like or comment much perhaps no-one else sees it. This would also explain why some people have 50 likes on some posts and 2 on others which seems implausible.

This may mean if you are seeing something posted 5 minutes ago that currently has no reaction yet you are part of a trial group and it's up to you whether this post will get seen by a wider audience. I think this is problematic because likes and comments are a poor judge of the value of a post to society.

I now suspect this is bad for vegan activism on facebook. When I post pro vegan things I tend to get 0-2 likes and comments vs 10-20 if I post some family photos. I used to think that this means that at least 10-20 people are also at least reading my vegan posts. OK, so they are not vegan themselves (I have zero vegan friends and family and a few flexitarians) and therefore aren't going to like those posts or comment on them, but I used to think that at least they will read them and reflect on them.

But now after doing this experiment I think it's fairly likely that only a smaller number of people, perhaps 2-10 people are even seeing these unliked vegan posts.

This also explains something else. I did a pro veggie blog after going veggie. My first announcement and post saying I am going veggie as you can imagine attracted comments and interest. I provided a link to a blog post explaining my decision and I looked on there a while later and it had about 20-30 views which I was pretty pleased about given that I only shared the blog to 30-40 contacts on facebook. The majority of them actually clicked the link and presumably read the blog.

I then posted a link to a blog once a week on facebook for a couple of months. I did a 1 liner and a link to the blog so it would be less intrusive.

A while later I looked on the blog and found I was eventually getting only 2-3 reads/clicks per blog post! So I discontinued the blog right away figuring that it was too much for people. But now I realize that quite likely many of my friends and family were not being shown all my facebook posts.

This could also be one of the reasons why facebook creates personally echo chambers and divides society.

Would be interested if anyone else could carry out this experiment and report back? It should take 5 minutes. Click on 10 friends at random and read through all their posts in recent weeks, see if any you haven't seen before and see if these are the ones with less likes. Don't do it if you look at facebook regularly (5+ times per day). That won't prove anything either way because regular watchers may see almost everything.
 

JacobEdward

Practitioner
Joined
Mar 6, 2019
Reaction score
6
Age
30
Location
Olympia WA
Lifestyle
  1. Vegan
So maybe when you first post something it's shown to 5-10 friends and then if those friends don't like or comment much perhaps no-one else sees it. This would also explain why some people have 50 likes on some posts and 2 on others which seems implausible.
Maybe that could be the selling point of the browser extension, turn facebook into an actual forum where everybody in the forum can see the activity etc. There does come a point where it would get overwhelming but if you as an individual could be in control of that, categorize people yourself, but then the trolls might not be as effective