Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
July 24, 2024
23° Mainly Sunny
February 28, 2024
Volume 194 No. 9


Week of February 28

An Open Letter to Facebook

Dear Facebook,

I’m breaking up with you next month, in March 2024. 

When we first met at MIT’s MediaLab, you promised wisdom through limitless information, expanded intelligence, civil discourse, and a super-renaissance of human rights and democracy. 

You said that we would evolve into the smartest, most collaborative, most universally aware species the world had ever witnessed.

Instead, you and many of your social media “cousins” have become — perhaps inadvertently — instruments of fanatic ideologues, cancellation and attack trolls, TikTok and Instagram fans eating Tide pods, and a ton of heartbreaking child porn.

Not to mention hyping a viral pandemic of hate, chaos, and discord that only erodes democracy.

Okay, I admit that billions of people find solace, community and entertainment with your “family,” maybe even a sense of purpose, and embrace (or may be addicted to) your claim of a better way of life.

So I know that others will still give you comfort after our divorce. You’ve definitely had your fine moments, don’t get me wrong. Years ago, when you helped raise $15.5 million for victims of a horrid earthquake in Nepal — more than all Canadian, U.S. and European aid combined. I thought then that we might make it.

But you just haven’t lived up to your promise of effecting positive and enormous social and political change. Instead, even when your employees begged you to roll back decisions you knew were harming users, you just kept on.

And when over 25,000 pages of internal Facebook/Meta documents detailed your spread of disinformation, political fracturing, promotion of anorexia, and even genocide — ethnic cleansing in Myanmar — what did you do?

You had all of your Facebook staff working on integrity and societal issues start reporting to the marketing department!

So I’ll be trimming back internet to spend more time in the “outer-net,” beginning with you.

You could drop the muddy and inflammatory rhetoric. And dump the discredited conspiracy vitriol, especially since real scientists say you’ve helped propel the sixth consecutive year in which more countries have experienced net declines in their democratic health.

Maybe your algorithms could cozy up to kindness? 

Maybe, even hopefully, if your ambitions change from being a hate incubator, resentment collector and nonsense dispenser, we can have a coffee and catch-up.

Finally, while it pains me to admit that my love for you has faded, there will always be a special place in my heart for your vast potential.

Bill Roberts, Sophiasburg 


Re: Visit the County and Antiquated (Feb. 14). I read with interest your article and editorial, and was equally “dismayed” on several levels. A $422,000 budget spent on digital space with no financials, no hard data available. The Chair of the program not even present to give Council her report. Council’s questions about why Visit the County has no “storefront” and no printed materials available.

Perhaps the Mayor and some of the Councillors around the horseshoe remember the Prince Edward County Chamber of Tourism and Commerce. As a former Director, I can assure you that this Chamber provided tourism services to include: a wholly owned year-round storefront tourism presence, and yes that included bathrooms; printed advertising and marketing material, including the County Red Map; a voice at the Quinte region and provincial level for Tourism and Commerce; and a website that included an accommodation booking platform.

We worked with other community businesses and groups on events like Taste the County, The Amazing Loyalist Adventure, and the Trash Bash. We spearheaded the Cenotaph revitalization project, raising over $200,000 to ensure this piece of history was preserved. 

PECCTAC and its volunteer Board worked tirelessly to provide these services. The County supplied a “fee for service” of $50,000 per year in return. It was provided with a yearly in-person presentation with audited financial statements and a report detailing statistics.

Why did this organization get dismantled? The County’s Economic Development department convinced Council to bring tourism services “in-house,” as they believed they could do a better job for less money. A lesson learned: once you bring services into government, you lose the volunteer base and budgets skyrocket, as we have seen here.

Our tourism business owners are savvy enough to understand there have been changes with the development of social media and GPS. What hasn’t changed, though, is that when you spend advertising and marketing dollars the results must be measured in an accurate way, not just clicks, or you are wasting money.

I am concerned about how and where our tax dollars are spent. People are struggling in our community. I am appalled and saddened to read about such arrogance and waste by “Visit the County.” This money could be better spent on community support and infrastructure, and giving back to the businesses in some way. I hope our Council will rethink their tourism strategy and demand accountability, as they have done in the past.

I too will look forward to learning the details of where this money has been spent in Executive Director Eleanor Cook’s report March 14th.

Lawrie Ackerman, Picton

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 9 edition of The Picton Gazette
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