Sunday, January 14, 2018

An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

I’m a traveling missionary who’s been using Facebook now for over ten years. It’s a marvelous tool to help me reconnect with old friends, meet new people and minister to them. However, there are a couple of things I don’t like about your social media site. They are serious enough to me where I’ve considered leaving Facebook completely.

One of them is being forced to use Messenger if I want to send a private message through my smartphone. It often results in other Facebook friends trying to start up chat sessions with me. I liked it better when my chat room could be kept off and not let everyone know I’m online. I’ve had to use the “block messages” function with individuals who persist in initiating conversations with me. I don’t want to be rude but maintain boundaries and limit distractions. Some of my friends won’t even use Messenger because of privacy concerns

Another intrusive feature I loathe even more is Facebook groups. Since 2010, friends have been able to add me to these groups without my permission (yesterday I was added to three of them without being asked). This has been a recurring annoyance. Being added to groups results in extra emails sent to my inbox that I don’t care to read. Not only that, my membership to these groups are automatically made public even if I have no interest in them. It’s especially annoying when I have to remove my name again from a group after being added a second time. This can happen if I leave a group using my smartphone. I don’t have the option of preventing my name from being added again like from my laptop.

Yesterday, a fellow minister sent me an article explaining your desire to use Facebook groups to build “meaningful communities” and “bring the world closer together.” Regardless of your intentions, that hasn’t changed my aversion toward groups. Unless changes are made and people are allowed to be invited first (like with Fan pages), I will not be part of any Facebook group.

In the past, I made a few exceptions. In 2015, I had a new song aired on Dr. Demento’s radio show and briefly joined his Facebook group to connect with listeners interested in my music. The problem is when some people see you’re part of one group, that gives them ideas to add you to other groups.

In closing, I want to commend you and your wife Priscilla for your desire to give most of your wealth to charity  However, I must remind you that we will all pass away from this life to the next. Good works will not buy your way into heaven. I pray you will seek His Face so your name will be jotted into His Book (the book of life). That comes from entering into a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Hopefully, you will then recognize the greatest mission God wants us involved in...preaching the gospel throughout the world so fewer people will spend eternity in hell.

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” - Romans 10:9

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