Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson has quit social media. (File photo)

B.C. mayor quits Facebook, says it reduces discussions to ‘schoolyard slurs and bullying’

Bob Simpson wrote about his decision on the city’s website

Quesnel’s mayor has decided not to return to Facebook, after quitting at Christmas, saying the rumours and vitriol spread by users defeats any benefit it may have to his community.

In a column post to the city’s website, Bob Simpson wrote that he embraced social media in its early years, hoping it would help get people engaged and better informed.

Instead, he wrote: “Social media has been implicated in the deliberate spread of disinformation, the selling of people’s personal information, active profiling and discriminatory practices, and has been methodically used as a tool to interfere with democratic elections in multiple jurisdictions.”

Simpson has long been a prominent figure on social media, often tagged in posts by members of the community who ask him questions or make suggestions about the city.

He decided to take a break from Facebook last Christmas, deactivating both his personal account as well as his mayoral page.

During his holiday, he said he realized his mind was quieter than usual, no longer fixated on ignorant Facebook comments and composing a rebuttal in his head.

He hasn’t returned to the site since.

READ MORE: New system to deliver evacuation orders, boil-water notices

“People’s use of these platforms to spread rumours, disseminate patently false information, and bad mouth people (not just politicians) vastly overwhelms any good this mode of communication may provide in any community,” wrote Simpson.

“Facebook and other social media platforms have negated one of the first principles of personal and professional communications: Deal directly with the person or organization to get clarity or to remedy a concern or complaint.

“It has also diminished community dialogue to schoolyard slurs and bullying; too many adults use language and intimidation tactics on Facebook that they would never accept from others or use in face to face communications.”

In closing, he said it would be quicker to solve an issue by calling City Hall than to simply complain on Facebook.

“If you have an issue with council or with the city, talk to us and let’s engage in real dialogue about your concern based on factual information.”

If residents are looking for information during emergencies, they can sign up for the city’s emergency notification system at www.quesnel.ca/emergency-notification. You can also follow the Quesnel Cariboo Observer on Facebook.

You can read Simpson’s original column here or in the May 1 print edition of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer.



community@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Infrastructure upgrades about to get underway on Bowen Road

Nighttime road work to start next Monday, June 8, between old Island Highway and Labieux Road

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Summer tubing ban on Cowichan River lifted

The Tube Shack opening on June 27

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Vancouver Island grizzlies: moving in, or just passing through?

Lack of data makes seeming increase in grizzly sightings on the North Island an open question

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Most Read