For the first half of 2016, our social media feeds were a tireless battleground for pre-Brexit propaganda, and the fall-out from the vote to leave has been just as vehement. The US Democratic and Republican primaries provided the next story to clog up our Twitter-feeds, and the coming few days promise us a deluge of online election aggro, as Trump and Clinton trade scandalous claims to compete for your News Feed real estate. Far be it from Fat Lama to advocate political disengagement, but we do like the idea of a break from time to time; especially given the unique intensity of this year’s domestic and international affairs. ‘A break?’ I hear you say, ‘you can’t escape politics!’
Well, you’re right. But this Politics Filter for Facebook could get you halfway there. Its makers have designed the add-on to block any post containing ‘blacklisted’ words, so that your precious scrolling time doesn’t dissolve into bitter feuding between you and your ‘naive’ former school friends or your bigoted aunt. This filter trumps (sorry) the alternative option of blocking/unfollowing your political enemies, because it lets you continue to engage with their less ‘charged’ social media output.
‘But what about my hard-won duty to engage in the democratic process, or the right of my fellow-citizens to have their political opinions heard?’ Excellent question. First off, the add-on is a simple on-off switch, which means you don’t blackout permanently. Secondly, let’s be honest: social media is the ultimate echo chamber – Facebook algorithms make it rare for opposing views to surface in your content stream and it’s equally unlikely that you’d have chosen to follow someone peddling an adverse agenda in the first place. You’re more likely to make a difference by canvassing in person, so pin on your rosette of choice and get outside. Oh, and for further election stress-busting, FL recommends this as a daily exercise.
The Bottom Line: You survived Brexit-online. Congrats. Now reward yourself in the US election run-up with some apolitical browsing.