It’s complicated: Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps breaks up with Facebook

“I’m quitting Facebook so I stop contributing in any way to this cycle of psychological violence where fear and anger get more air time than joy”

As the region gears up for the October municipal election, one candidate, incumbent Mayor Lisa Helps has announced she won’t be using Facebook on the campaign trail – or at all.

In a post published on her blog today, Helps starts with a disclaimer that reads, “Tech is the number one industry in Victoria with amazing, innovative and entrepreneurial people working in that space. This post is not a rant against technology; it’s about putting social media in its place.”

Upon announcing she will be logging out from the social media giant for the last time, Helps reminded Victorians there is no shortage of ways to connect with her.

She listed her e-mail, cell and office phone numbers, directed people to her blog and reminded folks of her weekly hour on CFAX (every Friday from 3-4 p.m.), the lunch time lectures she holds at City Hall, as well as the Community Drop In, her personal favourite.

“Sometimes it’s hard and people come in really angry,” Helps said of the biweekly open house. “And through conversation and connection that anger fades to understanding.”

Facebook was still a civil place when she first took office, Helps explained, saying she appreciated the way it allowed ideas to be shared and feedback to flow.

But, this has changed.

“Facebook has become a toxic, echo chamber where people who have anything positive to say are often in defense mode against negativity and anger,” she wrote.

RELATED: Canadians joining #DeleteFacebook amid fears of electoral meddling

The post goes on to detail the research Helps says has informed her decision, and while she doesn’t cite the recent controversy Facebook is swirling in, she does call the whole operation “psychological violence” given the way algorithms are designed to perpetuate negative messages.

As a result, Victorians sometimes show up angry and outraged before they’ve even received any information and the community is unnecessarily divided, she wrote.

“This isn’t good for the state of our democracy in Victoria where what we need is to be able to talk with each other and listen to each other about the challenges we face as a community.”

The mayor says her plan is wean herself off Facebook slowly, “just like when I quit coffee” and is looking forward to improving her focus, engaging in more face to face conversations and “keeping her noodle intact.”

In the meantime, Helps can still be found on Twitter @lisahelps and Instagram @helpslisa.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

REMEMBRANCE DAY: Fairbridge School students gave their all for the war effort

There are 78 students and 11 staff members listed on the memorial scroll in the old school chapel.

REMEMBRANCE DAY: Old wristwatch is an echo of the First World War

A chance discovery in a box of old watches recalls heroic Cowichan Valley brothers.

REMEMBRANCE DAY: Capt. J.S. Dobbie’s last letter to his mother and father

“We have both lost a very fine friend…a sportsman and gentleman of the very highest.”

Guest column: A letter from home

By Jack Bridges My dad was born in 1897 in Ontario. Canada… Continue reading

Remembrance Day nuggets

In the last 100 days of the First World War no fewer than 30 soldiers earned the Victoria Cross

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Canadians mark Remembrance Day this morning

This year exactly 101 years to the day after the end of the First World War

Devils strike early, hang on for 2-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver now 0-8-3 in last 11 games versus New Jersey

Most Read