‘I’m building my own wall now’: Facebook and Twitter users log off and drop friends after ugly election
In the wake of a bruising election season and — for the majority of voters — an unfavorable result, many users of Facebook, Twitter and other social media are cutting back on their use and many are cutting loose friends whose opinions they find hard to stomach.
On Sunday, NPR’s All Tech Considered took a look at the phenomenon of people who are finding their old social media habits hard to resume in the wake of the Nov. 8 election.
Rachael Garrity — a specialist in marketing and publishing for non-profit organizations — told NPR that she posted a note to her Facebook friends and signed off altogether for the time being.
“I am finding Facebook to have a negative impact on my continuing to keep a positive feeling regarding some of the people I have known longest and cherish most,” she said.
She is one of 150 people who shared their stories of cutting back on social media use after Republican Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election.
Garrity’s grandson Michael Lowder told public radio that he was disappointed in how many people he knew were sharing phony news stories from so-called “clickbait” sites.
“What was really shocking to me was how many people who I consider to be smart were sharing things that were not so smart, definitely obviously fake but matched whatever viewpoint that they pushed or agreed with,” Lowder said.
NPR’s Alina Selyukh wrote that many of the emails the broadcaster received after putting out a call for stories read like “testimonials to a therapist.”
“I’m having a hard time focusing. I have questioned my friendships. I can’t stop scrolling. I’m exhausted,” were common themes running through people’s emails.
“It was good to get that off my chest,” wrote one participant in the survey.
“People are turning off TVs (one even canceled her cable — mass media are not off the hook, either), deleting social apps from their phones, rationing time spent on Facebook and Twitter, and shrinking their digital friend lists,” Selyukh wrote.
Susan Brubaker Knapp told the news agency, “The day after the election, the hate and darkness got to be too much. I unfriended nearly everyone. Now I have three friends: my husband and children….I do hold (Facebook) responsible for helping to spread disinformation that contributed to both the election results and the level of vitriol and hate in this country. I am building my own wall now.”
Todd Neigum said, “(The election) simply turned me off of Facebook. I started by unfollowing people I’ve known for 40 years. Neighbors, friends, family doesn’t mean I have to wade through untold numbers of gloating, trashtalking, flamethrowing posts.”
CBS New York reported on one Long Island man who said that he’s being “bullied” by 100 of his friends’ decision to “unfriend” him on Facebook after he posted a photo of himself and his family in front of a “Trump for president” sign.
“Folks that we were friends with de-friended us, including my best man,” said Gary Pollakusky to WCBS.
Pollakusky — who served as Long Island’s RNC/Trump 2016 coordinator — sent out a press release to journalists saying that — as the victim of a “mass unfriending,” he is being “cyber bullied.”
Watch video about Pollakusky, embedded below: