Opinion

Facebreak: Our Newsroom’s Two-Week Trial Separation from Facebook

It’s been an ongoing discussion here at ecoRI News whether to leave Facebook.

On the one hand, Facebook allows us to distribute our content to a wider audience. However, many people on the platform simply like or comment on a story post without actually clicking the link to read the story. And Facebook’s algorithms are such that many of our Facebook fans never even see our content.

Worse, Facebook has engaged in troubling behavior with respect to the data security of its users, the spread of misinformation, and an abdication of responsibility when it comes to misinformation.

And then, just recently, the company took a hands-off approach to the president’s inflammatory post about protests over the police killing of George Floyd. That was the last straw.

By feeding our content for free into the maws of Facebook, we began to wonder if we’re tacitly contributing to the deterioration of media, civic discourse, and democracy.

So, we’re going to take a two-week break (that break began June 4) from Facebook and see how not posting impacts our content engagement and web traffic as we reassess how Facebook (and Instagram, which is directly controlled by Facebook) fits into our nonprofit news model and our values as an organization.

If you are a reader who traditionally finds our content on Facebook, you can bookmark our home page (www.ecoRI.org), which is updated daily, and, if you haven’t already, you can subscribe to our free weekly e-newsletter www.ecoRI.org/read. Please feel free to provide feedback in the comments section below.

Joanna Detz is the publisher of ecoRI News.

Publisher’s note: ecoRI News received a $5,000 emergency COVID-19 grant from the Facebook Journalism Project in early April. That grant went to fund our news team’s reporting on COVID-19 and its intersection with the environment and the environmental movement. The grant didn’t influence our decision to stay on or leave Facebook.

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  1. I am happy with the weekly newsfeed/newsletter. Do not access EcoRI on Facebook and agree with your reasons to stop using FB- Thanks!

  2. Take a breath ( not a pun )
    With a congressional change this fall I imagine a new set of guidelines for social media may be developed at the Federal level to impact how the media is distributed, copied or originated. While not assured, it is reasoned, that current users would be allowed to screen and modify their existing links which may not be applicable to new participants. As if your previous account was frozen in place.

    I only mention this so your organization doesn’t disadvantage it’s self at a later point. If you find no improvement in Facebook’s procedures you could still change you response then.

    It’s just a thought.

    John Williams
    Warwick Cove Marina

  3. I am thrilled EcoRI is separating from Facebook, permanently I hope. I did this years agao, have never been sorry and grateful for the time I have for other things. Social media and environmentalism needn’t be at odds; but ethics and Facebook don’t mix, and Facebook has failed in its enormous opportunity to be a force for good.

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