An Open Letter to Mr. Zuckerberg

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Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

I am writing to express my concern over the inadequacy of a number of your products, specifically Facebook and Instagram. Your algorithms for both platforms seem to me to be inferior. I am no computer scientist, simply a frequent user, but I felt compelled to express my concerns so that you may be better able to survive in this competitive world.

I first became concerned about Facebook’s algorithm around 2012 when my Facebook page suggested I become friends with my toddler daughter’s therapist. Now really, why would I want to become Facebook friends with someone who treats members of my family? Apparently, your algorithm accessed my phone calls, or something like that, and you thought because I phone this person a few times I might be interested in sharing family pics and daily life posts with her. Or perhaps, your app tracked my phone to her office. Can your algorithm not identify the purpose of the phone calls? Can you not compare them with other phone calls I make? Can your program not determine the difference between an office visit and a visit to one’s home? Surely, your coders are more capable.

Additionally, Facebook suggested I may want to “friend” my ex-husband’s family. Now, Mr. Zuckerberg, I was not even friends with my ex-husband on Facebook. Why would I want to friend his father, stepfather, aunts, uncles, or cousins? Surely, your algorithm can do better. Likely, you used your facial recognition to determine that we all posted similar pictures of my children on the platform. I ask you, is that a common denominator for friendship? Not in my book. How could you not tell that I was divorced? How could you not determine that I was not interested in a surface relationship with these people?

Work must be done, Mr. Zuckerberg. Work must be done. Surely you could try to connect me with people that I am actually interested in? Say, old boyfriends who still look good and have an income above $500,000? Or even some of my college friends who might offer business opportunities? Clearly, you have an inferior product with Facebook.

I was forced to delete my account in 2016 when I learned that you allowed Cambridge Analytica to access all of my beach shots, song posts, shares from The Onion, and pictures of my children. Now why would they want that ridiculous information? Could you not allow organizations with more worthy aspirations access to your data? Say, the Red Cross for the purpose of contacting me when my blood type is in dire need somewhere in the world?

And as for Instagram, I am very disappointed in your recommendations here as well. Recently, Instagram’s algorithm suggested I follow several popular lesbian accounts. While I support the LGBTQ+ community, I am not a lesbian. What made your algorithm think I would be interested in these accounts? Is it because I graduated from an all women’s college, and I follow the college accounts? Oh Mr. Zuckerberg, surely you can create a better algorithm than one that makes stereotypical judgments. And why would you suggest that I follow the account of a public park in Boston? I live in Maryland. Can your algorithm not determine these details of my life?

On another note, Instagram’s advertisements befuddle me. I am besieged with string bikini company ads on a daily basis. Is this because of all of the beach and swimming pool posts I share? I have news for you. I am part of a competitive swimming family, and this is why I am constantly posting water pictures. Could you not see the lane lines and goggles in my pictures? Clearly, you need to make some adjustments. In addition, I am 30 pounds overweight and not the least bit interested in purchasing as string bikini. Can you not tell this from the lack of photos of myself on the account?

And what’s with all of the wrinkle-reducing and bodyshaping products you place on my feed? How do you know I am a middle-aged woman? And if you can tell I need bodyshapers, why are you also trying to sell me string bikinis? This makes no sense! Surely, you could provide me with advertisements of products that truly interest me. Or that I need. Ok, I’ll admit the MasterClass ad was a good play on your part. That one intrigued me. However, why not post ads of items I truly need, can you not access my Alexa data yet?

Mr. Zuckerberg, you clearly offer inferior products. I would like to ask for my data back until you can improve your algorithms to better suit my needs.

Sincerely,

JS

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