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Please don't like this article on Facebook

Commentary: Facebook is cracking down on those who ask for "likes." This makes it so hard for writers. Well, for everyone really.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Social Media Life

Stop. Don't do it. Please don't do it.

BOYI CHEN#69256

Look, it's time to be honest.

I write for just one reason.

Because I want you to like me.

I know, I know.

It's weak. Pathetic, even.

Can't I just be satisfied with who I am and not have to pander to you every day?

Well, no.

I want you to like me. Really like. Like, Sally Field like me.

Just don't Facebook "like" me. I'll come to that in a minute.

I could blame my parents for my need to be liked. Well, couldn't we all?

Parents can never like you enough.

Actually, I suspect many parents don't like their kids much at all.

It's just hard for them to admit it, as they watch their kids mess up their lives and be painfully insubordinate in the process.

But there's more to it than that.

The modern world is all about being liked.

We just can't ever be liked enough.

We get up every morning and feel the pressure of saying something, inventing something, posting something, so that other people can say: "Yeah, I like that."

The thing is, though, have you ever watched how people do their liking on Facebook?

They stand in line at Starbucks, their faces like hanging hams, clutch their phones and mechanically "like" almost everything their friends post.

This creates a perpetual feedback loop in which everyone's "liking" everything their friends post, in order to make sure their friends "like" everything they post back.

Occasionally, the feedback loop is broken and friendships are tarnished, perhaps forever. 

You didn't like that picture? You didn't 'like' it? How could you? Or how couldn't you?

Look, Facebook's cottoned onto this game. Principally, because it invented it. 

It wanted people to keep on "liking," so that it could learn more about people and keep on selling their likes.

Suddenly, its own former executives are now admitting -- and some swiftly backtracking -- that the whole thing is actually eternal psychological manipulation. 

So Facebook has decided to do something. It's combating so-called "engagement bait."

You know, those posts that say things like: "Like this, so that a lot more people can like it too."

Facebook is going to downgrade those posts in news feeds. 

So, you see, I have to ask you not to "like" this post on Facebook. Because if I start getting downgraded, then it'll feel like you don't like me anymore. 

And that's a feeling I really don't like.

Look, if you could like this article, I'd actually be grateful. Who doesn't like to be liked? But I don't want to ask you to "like" this article. 

Because then you might not even see it.