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

Search for contaminant at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks continues

Company ‘blown away’ by community support after E. coli recall of Qualicum Spice cheese

BC Housing now involved in Parksville supportive housing project lawsuit

Agency listed as a defendant alongside city over 222 Corfield rezoning

Electoral reform ballot returns so far show higher Parksville-Qualicum engagement

Region among top four in percentage of ballots turned in

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read