A few reasons not to organise on Facebook.

Facebook activism
Facebook activism

Recently we have seen a big increase in activist Facebook pages. Facebook seems to have become an essential propaganda tool. However we should question the use of it as an organising tool, and even as a propaganda tool.

Submitted by jef costello on December 30, 2017

Facebook is a sieve:
This is noting new, Facebook is a sieve. It’s actually the goal of a social network: collect data, sell it to advertisers, sell personalised adverts etc. Facebook might bristle sometimes at handing over data to the cops, but it is happy to link Facebook accounts with people’s identities. Posting on Facebook is therefore a guaranteed risk, it could even be seen as reckless. During the movement against the loi de travail we could see online surveys about where demonstrate. This kind of information only contributes to one thing, the dossiers of the secret service.

Not everyone is on Facebook:
With 22 million daily users, Facebook is the top social network in France by some distance. It is a large part of the population. However, while 84% of under-40s use facebook daily, only 56% of the population is actually on Facebook. This drastically reduces the accessibility that advocates claim is the result of intensive Facebook use by militants.

Facebook: no archives guaranteed
Another problem coming from the size of Facebook: your info is out of date in two days. Although posts are archived for the benefit of advertisers (and the cops) it is almost impossible to find a post, even a politically significant one, after three days. The information is swamped by the enormous volume of information that is circulated in real time. In keeping with the 24-hour news cycle, each news story is driven out by the next, so the extremely important information about police brutality or the video showing mistreatment of migrants in the metro quickly disappears under the weight of Hanouna’s latest homophobic outburst or the death of a famous singer.

Mark Zuckerberg can delete your page whenever he wants:
Recently the sinister Alain Soral, a notorious anti-feminist and anti-semite, was kicked off Facebook. Nothing too serious, perhaps even encouraging given the tide of hatred washing over the 120000 subscribers to his page. Nevertheless it is part of a much more dangerous system in which Facebook can simply delete pages which it doesn’t like. It doesn’t matter how important these pages might be: Negronews, liked by 500000 people and with relatively inoffensive content, was deleted for supposed “incitement to hatred” with no justification or further explanation given. Similarly “La République mais pas trop”(51000 subscribers) a satirical page was permanently deleted by Facebook’s automatic moderation, in spite of the particular attention they paid to removing racist/sexist/homophobic comments on their page.

There are several ways get kicked off Facebook:
- a moderator doesn’t like you and bans you for a petty and or subjective reason.
- the page being reported too many times. This is particularly important as it means that nationalists can shut down pages with harassment campaigns; after a certain number of reports Facebook automatically shuts down the page. This is undoubtedly what happened to Urgence Notre police assassine (Warning, our police kill, 61000 subscribers) which was attacked by hordes of unhappy police officers and has disappeared.

The illusion of accessibility: pay, or talk to yourselves
Here is the most problematic part of Facebook: the algorithms are designed to create social bubbles. A concrete example is in this article:

“As we like, share and comment on articles, Facebook’s algorithms create a model of our preferences. Then Facebook tries to show us content that we will want to see. So, if someone likes snowboarding, subscribes to snowboarding pages and shares snowboarding articles, they can expect to see more articles about snowboarding on our timelines than someone who hates the sport, which isn’t a surprise. The problem is that Facebook has become a trusted news source for net users, and political opinions get the same treatment as snowboarding.”

So, because of Facebook’s algorithms, when we publish subversive texts we are only likely to reach people who are already interested in them. We won’t reach the proletarian who is mostly interested by fishing, or the young lad who is into hairdressing, we will carry on talking amongst ourselves. The only way to get through these algorithms is to pay. Of course, nothing is free, even propaganda.

So unless you want to go broke (adverts are expensive) trying to fight Facebook’s algorithms you need to ask yourself the right questions. We need to look at our autonomy and that starts with getting your hands dirty; you need independent servers, to set up websites and learn from existing projects. For example there are MUTU sites in several cities, so we need to create our own social networks and online spaces which we control! Let’s demand more from ourselves and kick Facebook out of our struggles.

Translated from :



6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on January 1, 2018

jef costello

Let’s demand more from ourselves and kick Facebook out of our struggles.


I quit Facebook on January 28, 2011 while watching Al Jazeera live-streaming the Battle of Kasr al-Nil Bridge in Cairo. A myth was that the Arab Spring was “organized” through social media, which is pretty far-fetched as only 22% of Egyptians had internet access at that time (and it’s still just 33% today).


6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by OliverTwister on January 1, 2018

I quit on March 21, 2017 and haven't looked back.

This is a good article but there are more reasons. As they point out, Facebook creates a bubble, which a lot of folks over here refer to as "Leftbook". What they don't point out is that Facebook's algorithms also reward trolling and shitposting as the most controversial topics rise to the top, especially with quick replies that haven't been well thought-through.

What this means is that the more our dialogue is colonized by Facebook, the more it tends towards trolling, until the entire discourse of a movement becomes dominated by trolling and shitposting. That is a big part of what has happened in the IWW over the past year.

It's time to leave leftbook behind.

jef costello

6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jef costello on January 1, 2018

It is a good article, I have been meaning to translate more from Paris-luttes. Facebook and social media definitely encourage and reward certain types of behaviour, although to be fair one of the endless problems that anarchism has had is that the dull daily work draws fewer people than showy displays.

The thing that bugs me at demos now is as soon as anything halfway interesting happens everyone grabs their phone to get a picture, people don't want to do anyhing. They also don't think about the security aspects of using their phones at all as far as I can tell. I saw a guy get out a bubble blower at a demo and half thought about taking out my phone and he was immediately swarmed by at leadt a dozen people trying to get a picture. I'm sure they got likes on facebook or instagram, but is that action? Does it have a value, is it someone enhancing their personal online persona/brand whatever, or is it part of advancing anarchist ideas? Maybe part of this is a reaction to the fact that cops are much better at kettling and repressing than they were. I have been looking for an article about how clicking on facebook cuases makes people less likely to donate/help etc but in spite of feeling like I have seen that article loads of times I haven't found a decent one.


6 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rat on January 2, 2018

Here's an article in the UK newspaper The Telegraph about how to permanently delete your Facebook account:



jef costello

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jef costello on June 22, 2018

In terms of relying on social media etc. Youtube changes its rules on embedding and yearsr worth of videos no longer display on this site. What's worse, it doesn't show as an error, so unless you know there is a video missing you can't see it unless you use the quote function to see the original message.

When posting videos try to give the name of the video as well as the hyperlink so if the embedding is disabled or the video is deleted it can still, hopefully, be found.

Rob Ray

5 years 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on June 22, 2018

The key is to mind what you're using it for. The ease of setting up, collaborating and gathering allies is the main draw for activist groups using Facebook, but it absolutely sucks both as a secure organising method and a coherent outreach tool beyond the usual suspects (unless you pay).

Libcom uses it about right, as a portal to push content which is actually hosted on its own site and remain responsive to online tropes/news in real time. Freedom has a similar system split between a group and dedicated pages for certain topics on Facebook but a single Twitter account for pushing everything on that platform, an Instagram to knock out stuff for the shop etc. Interest is then pushed to the news site/online store, where everything important is more easily accessible/searchable etc.

Something I also think "pop-up" activist groups need to get their heads around though is that yes their content will be corralled by algorithm and quickly disappear on social media, but running a blog/website is hard daily work if done right, takes a long time to build an audience and can collapse in a day if the key writer quits for whatever reason. It's a great deal easier, your reach is further and your impact longer-lasting when set up through more established platforms (which is, ultimately, also what you're doing when setting a page up on Facebook).

That may not have the romance or sense of independence of starting new — but are either of those things really the goal, or is the goal to build a movement ...