Social media is something all people use to express their feelings and viewpoints on specific subjects. This can be good because we can learn what people are like. The comments section is where you can find the worst (and occasionally, the best) of humanity. However, people don’t like leaving their viewpoints exclusively in the comments section. Some people believe that social media is the comments section, and like to update people on their views on religion, politics, etc. on a daily basis.
I see social media as a place where people can express themselves freely. But from personal experience, I have never been able to do that, even before social media. Social media is where I express myself freely, but it turns out that even something as open and free-flowing as social media (mostly Facebook and Twitter) is not the proper venue to express yourself. This is because of people who appoint themselves as what I would call “social media cops.” What is a social media cop? This is a person who spends all their time monitoring what other people say and tells them to take it down because it offends them or their friends or whoever. This is the true first-world problem we are facing today. I’m not talking about people who actually do something productive, but people who make it their job to make sure their news feed is free of anything they disagree with. Social media cops want their news feed to be a massive echo chamber. I can go as far as to say that social media cops are probably worse than North Korea or any dictatorship in existence. At least North Korea wants to build nuclear weapons in conjunction with making sure all other points of view but their own are suppressed. If a social media cop is smart enough to build a nuclear weapon, then I’ll retract this statement.
Many people who appoint themselves to the position of social media cop have common themes about them. They are most likely unemployed (and thus check social media far more than your average person), not going anywhere in life, and people who are generally bitter at their situation and need an outlet to express their anger in ways that might not be conducive to their own mental health. I have been told on numerous occasions to remove my posts while at the same time making empty threats or being passive-aggressive towards me. Is it really my fault that you fill up all that free time by policing others’ social media posts?
How do we solve the issue of self-appointed social media cops? While ignoring them is fun, that leads to another issue we see on social media today: vaguebooking (which I covered in a previous blog post). Therefore, there are many ways to combat self-appointed social media cops.
Call them out
It frustrates me when people blank out the names of others when they’re trying to call people out. It’s not an issue of protecting privacy because everything we do on the Internet isn’t private anyway. It’s an issue of calling out people who are shitty human beings. If they’re on your friends list, it’s probably better that they’re not there in the first place. If they’re not on your friends list, then call them out anyway. Self-appointed social media cops are good at being stealthy, and most of them only appear if they feel triggered, not that they’re actually triggered for a legitimate reason.
Inform them that it’s not their Facebook page
If you don’t want to be that much of a jerk, you can inform them that it’s your page and not theirs. Unless you have a joint Facebook account (and at that point, you probably need to reconsider your life choices), you have the right to post whatever you want.
Help them get a job or a hobby
The vast majority of self-appointed social media cops are unemployed and living aimlessly, so if you’re feeling extra nice, you should help them get a job or find a hobby that distracts them from policing others’ social media 24/7. I always see that places are hiring, yet self-appointed social media cops are still at home, browsing Facebook or Twitter, and not really contributing to society in any meaningful way. If they have time to police others’ social media posts, they have time to operate a cash register, mop floors, flip burgers, you name it.
Mental health counseling
If steps 1-3 fail, you might want to get them mental health counseling. Talking things out with a shrink is not necessarily a bad thing, despite what most people want you to think. If they feel like they need to intervene in everyone’s lives without providing any actual help or support, there may be one (or multiple) screws loose in their heads.