“Most Second Amendment supporters realize that waiting periods — as rare as they are nowadays — can be dangerous to those needing to defend themselves against a known threat.” — NRA Website, 5/8/2015
I am exhausted hearing about mass shootings on social media. In fact, my Facebook feed is so full of stories about recent gun deaths, and it has to end. To do my part to end social media posts about gun violence, I decided to delete my Facebook. No longer will I be participating in this vicious cycle of sharing this information online. Unfortunately, when I went to delete it, I was faced with an awful 14 day waiting period. This is an abomination- I can buy a gun in less than 14 days in every state, but I can’t delete my Facebook? Facebook is curtailing my first amendment right to tell other people I’m better than them because I don’t have a Facebook. We absolutely need to make it easier to delete our Facebooks.
This waiting period can be dangerous to those who need to delete their Facebooks quickly. Consider this extremely hypothetical and not at all real scenario: a single woman has a slip of the thumb and accidentally likes her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s profile picture from 2006. Obviously, the only appropriate course of action to mitigate this damage is to delete her Facebook, change her identity, and kill herself (which is actually very doable owing to short or non-existent waiting periods to buy guns). However, due to excessive regulation around deleting Facebook, she is unable to delete it immediately. Now consider another extremely hypothetical woman who has done this not once, but 17 times. Can you imagine how defenseless she feels? The Facebook deletion policies are criminal.
Furthermore, there’s no statistical evidence that this waiting period does anything to prevent reckless Facebook deletion. No studies have ever shown the waiting period corresponds to less Facebook deletion. When I tried to propose a study to prove that the waiting period is unnecessary, I was told that it was “not relevant” and “a poor use of the adult allowance my parents give me.” Still, there are a number of illegal hacks to delete your Facebook immediately, and abuse of these hacks is widespread among criminals. People who are going to break the laws will do it regardless, so there’s no reason to have excessive regulation such as a 14-day waiting period.
Facebook should instead look at safer and more lawful alternatives to keep people on Facebook. For example, Facebook could show users pictures of their friends having fun without them whenever they try to delete their pages. Also, instead of showing me targeted advertisements, they could use their vast database to recommend me a boyfriend. Also, if Facebook wants to put some of my EXTREMELY WITTY AND NOT AT ALL ANNOYING posts at the top of everyone’s feed every now and then, I’d have a higher chance of staying on Facebook. And so would my friends, I think. Small actions can go a long way towards reducing unnecessary Facebook deletion.
I’m not saying that deleting your Facebook should be completely unregulated. Deleting your Facebook affects hundreds, if not thousands, of your Facebook friends. In fact, seeing some of my best friends delete their Facebooks has sent a figurative bullet through my heart. Everyone talks about mass shootings, but no one is talking about my friend Kate who deleted her Facebook and now never gets invited to brunch. As much as I want it to be easier to delete my Facebook, I know the risks. Still, it’s a free country, and we should educate people about the risks without removing their basic rights. Just remember: deleting your Facebook doesn’t kill friendships, Facebook kills friendships.