WATCH: Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps has decided to delete her Facebook page. Ceilidh Millar reports.
Don’t let the smile on Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps’ profile picture on her Facebook page fool you.
Helps says there is nothing to smile about when it comes to the popular social media platform.
“I’ve come to have a complicated relationship with Facebook,” Helps explained.
Helps’ complicated relationship with the digital platform may be an understatement, as she announced Thursday she is officially quitting Facebook.
“Facebook has become a place where conversation and civil dialogue, the exchange of ideas, and participation in civil society is no longer possible on that medium,” Helps said.
In a recent post on her personal blog, she described Facebook as a “toxic echo-chamber.”
“It feeds you what you already think you know,” Helps explained. “It really limits our ability to have wider perspectives. I don’t think that’s healthy for democracy.”
Helps says her decision to delete was reinforced by the recent Cambridge Analytica data collection scandal.
The company is accused of improperly using the information of millions of Facebook users to manipulate votes.
“They’re starting to see an existential crisis in Facebook,” said whistleblower Christopher Wylie in an interview with CBC. “People are realizing you have a company whose entire business model revolves around the use of personal data.”
Helps says no matter the topic, there was little room for constructive debate on her page.
Instead, she received a flood of aggressive comments on everything from bike lanes to hairstyles.
“Here’s one,” Helps said while reading public comments off her Facebook page. “Can’t handle the heat? Then get out of the kitchen or in this, case city hall.”
In a digital era, is it really possible to quit social media?
“They are not going to go away,” explained Dr. David Black, a communications professor at Royal Roads University. “They’re going to continue to monopolize in many ways how we do business and how we talk among ourselves. It’s our obligation as users of Facebook to begin to demand an accountability.”
Helps says accessibility is the only friend she needs and wants the public to know there are other ways of getting in touch with her.
“I think that’s the kind of mayor that people want,” Helps explained. “A mayor that you can sit down with and say ‘mayor, I’m really mad at this decision. Let’s sort it out together.'”
While her profile is still active, Helps says she plans to permanently delete her Facebook page on Friday.