Can we figure out how many people Facebook is responsible for killing?

Wow. That’s all I can say, Wow.

If this is meant to refer to me? If so, the fuck what?

I thought the answer was 42.

Facebook never killed anyone. Actions of people on Facebook did.

It just seemed to be a key factor in the spread and organization of those belief systems. That said, clearly the thread overwhelmingly opines that my OP is without merit, and I’m not in any way committed to continuing pursuing the question or even defending the underlying assumptions of my OP - especially if it leads to anyone questioning whether I’m an actual human being.

Youth culture killed my dog.

MySpace wasn’t even responsible for the reemergence of ska bands. MySpace is basically the Nerf Blaster of weaponizable social media.

Sure, people spread conspiracy theories on Usenet while Mark Zuckerberg was still sucking on his toast. And before that, there were pamphlets and homemade conspiracy newsletters and Loompanics Unlimited, but these things just appealed to people who were already looking for fringe ideas anyway. Your retired parents weren’t reading Holocaust denial articles and ordering Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors;

Facebook, on the other hand, by “connecting people together” wormed its way into virtually every American household, and by virtue of becoming a marketing tool where getting “Likes” was crucially important, circulating the most outrageous stories and claims with zero fact checking whatsoever basically turned the entire Internet into a giant revolving chain letter platform. Facebook and other social media platforms are designed from the ground up to appeal to your attention by offering the most startling and unsettling content that users could post, and hence why they are the perfect tool for some bad actor looking to sow dissent and circulate false but vaguely plausible rumors.

Of course, users should be responsible for doing their own thinking and fact-checking, but the whole point of social media is to rapidly disseminate information, which has the effect of essentially saturating the user with too many things to check and verify, or even to objectively question. And that is why when your crazy conspiranoiast uncle posts some nonsense about how Obama is wire-tapping Trump, your mother reposts it with a “Did you see this?” instead of questioning why Obama, who seems super happy to be windsurfing with Richard Branson and more relaxed than he has been in a decade would want to waste his time super-stealthing his way into Trump tower on a zip-line just to tap the top secret info that Trump twitters out at 3 am anyway.

Twitter takes all of the conspiracy nonsense, obtuse opinionating, and barely concealed racism and squeezes it into 140 characters plus pictures, which basically makes it the blipverts of social media. So…at least it is quick.


I don’t think your question is without merit, but the premise can certainly be challenged. I would say that any medium of communication can be used for good or evil, and regulation and modification to reduce the damage is certainly something that can and should be considered. But this is mostly human engineering that applies to all communication, and the specifics of new modes means that they should be revisited and revised as needed.

If you removed Facebook it would be replaced with something else in seconds, plenty of other services can do pretty much the same thing. The problem isn’t one of a specific website (although there are flaws in Facebook that can be improved) but of all of social media as a way of organizing communications. It was all happening before social media, and it will happen after we move on from the current crop.

In the quote you’re responding to, “he” pretty clearly refers to Zuckerberg. I can’t figure out any way to parse it to refer to you.

You can’t even find out if the number is >0.

Facebook doesn’t kill people! People with Facebook kill people!

The only thing that protects you from Bad Guys with Facebook is Good Guys with Facebook!

When Facebook is outlawed, only outlaws will have Facebook!

They day they take away my Facebook will be the day they pry it from my cold dead touchscreen!

A crazy kid texting runs a stopsign dowm the street and goes harmlessly on. A minute later, you go through and pass by without incident. Before you left home, you took a minute to check Facebook, which delayed your departure, and you will never know that that saved your life.

This is just not an answerable question. It’s not even something a sufficiently committed statistician could answer, not responsibly at least, and has countless possible answers all equally valid and meaningless.

There is a lot of study of social network influence graphs. A lot of graph theory using connections between people, a lot of chances people influence other people. Psychological analysis of how people affect others opinions on the internet.

The issue is that while Facebook accelerates this, it’s not the only medium, or the first medium, or the last medium for this exchange. Facebook perpetuates a particular kind of disinformation spread among demographics that use it, but Twitter perpetuates another, forums perpetuate other forms of issues and groupthink, image boards like 4chan are a breeding ground for yet another type of conspiracy and so on. It’s really impossible to analyze Facebook in this manner without recognizing that different sites are fertile breeding grounds for different types of social issues, and once those issues seed enough these other sites become soil for it to grow.

It’s kind of like asking “how many COVID deaths are airplanes responsible for?” It’s a question that seems almost reasonable, but doesn’t actually make much sense if you were to nail down the details (all of them? All of them in the US? Oh but wait what about boats? Most of them then? None of them?) It’s like when the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation does shit like add every global COVID death to the list of “deaths Communism is responsible for.” Depending on how bad you want to reach you can define Facebook, Communism, China, Airplanes, whatever at fault for literally every single death, or absolutely 0 deaths depending on how you want to define everything, and anything between “all of them” and “zero” is effectively unable to be estimated due to how meaningless the statement is.

Facebook is a contributing factor in a lot of misinformation, including fatal misinformation, but by the same token so is all communication technology, and the same technology is also responsible for spreading actual important updates too. This isn’t a question that you could even begin to do research on without nailing down a ton more specifics.

Yeah, no. FB isn’t to blame for this any more than Google, the internet at large or the 1st Amendment.

Guilty or not as it may be, I choose not to deal with the criminal conspiracy called Facebook. YMMV.

People who get right wing fervor via Facebook are just as apt to get it through AM talk radio. I don’t think it’s a significant contributor.