Humor Magazine

Crossing the Line: What Will You Do When Facebook Asks You For Money?

By Mommabethyname @MommaBeThyName

If you weren’t aware, today is my thirty-mphth birthday.

My husband took my daughter out this morning and returned home with my favorite, Panera egg soufflés, and adorned them with Happy Birthday letter candles. I was so excited that I ran into the office, grabbed the camera, and took a picture. 

Crossing the Line: What Will You Do When Facebook Asks You For Money?

After breakfast, I inserted the camera’s memory card into the computer and proceeded to upload it to my personal Facebook page.

When the upload was complete, I, thinking everything was copacetic, tended to my son, who was covered in bits of chocolate croissant.

When I turned my attention back to the screen, I notice a box had popped up in my Facebook window.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

It said, “Let your friends know this is important! Promote your post!”

Whoa! What?!

I clicked ‘Cancel’ and moved on with my breakfast, but the suggestion nagging me. Promote? Let people know this is important? Isn’t everything I post important? Isn’t that why I post things to Facebook?

Out of curiosity, I scrolled back to the picture and clicked ‘Promote’, just to see what happened.

And what happened?

Facebook asked me for seven dollars. That’s what happened. And I could do so by credit card or via Paypal. How considerate.

That’s when I flipped out and decided that I would forsake the pile of work I had waiting, any amount of birthday relaxation I had planned, and having my driver’s license renewed because I had to share this with you.

As a blogger, I’ve faced significant frustration over the past few months with Facebook. A diminishing number of fans have been seeing and/or responding to posts from the Momma Be Thy Name page. Tried as I could, I could not find a way to increase these numbers, aside from posting viral memes, and I generally don’t posts memes.

As it stands, about one-third of the people who Liked my page are being reached.

And I was just asked to pay to promote a picture I uploaded for my birthday on my personal page.

My question, Mr. Zuckerberg, is, where is this all going?

I’m fully aware that your stock has tanked, and I’m more than familiar with the ennui shared by millions of Facebook users all around the world, but are you seriously asking me to pay for my friends and family to see my posts?

And do you seriously think that I am going to do that?

I’ve been waiting for something to come along and snap the precarious stilts that have been holding Facebook above water for quite some time now. I’ve been waiting (and, patiently, I might add), for something to change metrically, so the people who had seen and interacted with my Facebook page in the past could be brought back into the fold. I have been waiting for someone to declare that this system is not working.

And I think, I think, asking me to pay for birthday wishes just might be the thing.

Local businesses, organizations, and bloggers like myself rely on social media channels like Facebook to reach our fans.  Every time I log in, I’m asked to promote my page or hit with requests for Likes from promoted pages. And it’s extremely annoying.

What I didn’t bank on, however, was the fact that posts meant for people I know and care about would be held, quite literally, for ransom.

Are they going to break kids with allowances who post pictures for their friends to see? Fleece new mothers who want their loved ones to see the first pictures of their newborns? Deprive grandparents of seeing pictures of their grandchildren’s first teeth, first steps, and first days of school? I won’t go so far as saying that’s despicable, but it’s a little despicable.

And it all but kills what social media is all about.

Playful ‘pokes’ have become requests for donations. Facebook has now truly become a publicly traded entity. The spirit, innocence, and integrity have been lost.

Happy Birthday to me, Facebook. Happy Birthday, indeed.

Bring on another media channel. I may just be ready to try it.

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