Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Why do people make controversial statements on Facebook and then get upset when people reply with opposing views?

Asked by JLeslie (59833points) December 18th, 2014 from iPhone

I’ve learned that some Facebook users really don’t want a discussion. They just want to put their opinions out there. I guess they are ok if comments come from those who agree with them, but they don’t want to hear from those who don’t.

I try to remember which ones of my friends hate any opposing opinions on their wall, but this morning I realized I screwed up.

Do you think it is odd to put something online and not expect opposing opinions? Or, do you agree that on Facebook you don’t want people to challenge your ideas. Maybe you think sites like Fluther are for discussion, not Facebook.

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33 Answers

canidmajor's avatar

I have found that it happens in any gathering of humans, whether in person or online. Fluther is more of a discussion site than FaceBook, but I see that happen here, often.

If your FB friend doesn’t like your post on their thread they have the option to simply delete it, as do you, an option not available here or in real life.

Strauss's avatar

@canidmajor took the words right out of my proverbial mouth. Could be that’s why they’re considering a “dislike” button on FB.

JLeslie's avatar

He deletes the whole thread. I remembered that he once said to me that he doesn’t think his friends want to read a whole discussion about his statement.

I really care about respecting what people want regarding this. I feel badly about forgetting he doesn’t like it.

canidmajor's avatar

I think each person needs to be responsible for their own FB statuses. If I post something that I don’t want discussed, a rare event, but if I’m happy about something that may cause a negative reaction from some, I make a point of saying that I don’t want a discussion, and negative comments will be deleted.
Don’t feel bad, he didn’t hold up his end of the implied FB social contract. :-)

janbb's avatar

I’m lucky; I only have two people on my FB page who consistently post things I don’t agree with. I tend to ignore those posts but I don’t think there is any one way to behave on it. However, in general it does seem to be a place where people like to preach to the converted – a general problem in our information gathering culturally these days.

canidmajor's avatar

@janbb: it makes sense that on FB there is preaching to the converted, as we choose who our friends are. It’s not a random group of strangers.

JLeslie's avatar

I have many different opinions among my Facebook friends.

gorillapaws's avatar

If someone doesn’t have the good sense and self-control to avoid posting controversial stuff in inappropriate places like Facebook, then they’re probably not smart enough to engage in a thoughtful discussion on the topic.

jca's avatar

I have one friend who is very Conservative and will often post vile statements about “libtards” and liberals in general, how liberals are like sheep, hypocrites, stupid, etc.

I usually ignore it. Once in a while, I will refute it, if I’m in the mood.

I usually feel like life is too short to argue with people, and I am not going to change his opinion and he’s not going to change mine. Plus I would be outnumbered with his friends who would probably gang up on me.

janbb's avatar

I don’t see any reason not to post political things on FB but it doesn’t seem a place where people engage in meaningful discussion.

JLeslie's avatar

I agree about it not usually being worth the effort. I wasn’t really trying to change his mind (this morning) just giving my opinion and asked him a question.

I wrote him a PM apologizing for forgetting he doesn’t like so much discussion. He was fine, said I didn’t need to apologize. He said he didn’t feel like I hadn’t respected what he has asked for. We talked a little more about other stuff over PM. He wasn’t annoyed with me.

Coloma's avatar

Happens everywhere, all the time, Facebook, Fluther.
It has happened here very recently again when a poster says ” discuss” then becomes incensed when said “discussion” includes opposing points of view. I agree with @jca I will state my position and toss out viable argument but after awhile, especially when someone shows they are incapable of embracing many, valid, points of view, I give up and move on.

I like the saying that ” there are many truths”, which is very true. haha

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah, I don’t know. They post some inflammatory thing, then start crying when they get people who strongly disagree with them. I don’t know why they do that.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I don’t think there is anywhere on line where you can have a discussion with opposing views. I assume you are kidding when you say places like fluther.

On Face book you are talking with family and friends you know in the real world I assume. why cause trouble with family members or friends by stating your point of view about a topic you firmly believe in? I’m proud to say I’m not on facebook and never will be.

I have important discussions with people in real life (face to face or over the phone) that have my same views. I am of the age that I have learned that the majority of people don’t want to hear the real facts they are happy with twisted facts that people tell them. I don’t have the patience for ignorance anymore.

The case of the Rolling Stone article about the college rape is a perfect example.

The reporter didn’t bother to check facts because she liked where the store was going. ended up being a big fat lie. Same as the mess a few days ago about the high school kid who told a reporter he made 72 million dollars in the stock market during his lunch hour. The reported took the story and ran with it.

Dutchess_III's avatar

A good percentage of my fb friends are people I’ve never met. Classmates of classmates or classmates, or someone I ran into in a discussion and decided I liked them.

JLeslie's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat No, I’m not kidding about Fluther. I would agree some jellies don’t want to listen to opposing views, but I think most jellies do. Also, we can’t delete a Q or answer just because we don’t like an opinion here.

Pachy's avatar

With all due respect to my friend, @janbb, I see a big reason not to post political things on FB: Virtually any opinion one expresses in today’s always-on, combative global online environment (especially related to religion or politics) will offend someone and possibly anger some nutcase-hacker enough to find a way to retaliate, either verbally (if you’re “lucky”) or in some more nefarious manner. For that reason. For that reason, I choose VERY carefully which opinions and what personal information I post anywhere online … and shame on me for not being as scrupulous about as I counsel others to be.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@JLeslie We must be on two different websites because when I log on to fluther I see a gaggle of people all agreeing and patting each other on the back while the lone one or two people with an opposing view are being talked down to. I chose not to feed into the argument to give them what they want. I laugh, shake my head and usually log off. arguing with people on the internet is a lost cause.

either we are on different website or I’m blind or I can’t read English that well. <sarcasm>

janbb's avatar

@Pachy I don’t engage in political discussions there but I will repost links and quotes, e.g. from Elizabeth Warren, that reflect my beliefs.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

@janbb and you don’t call that “rubbing their noses in it”? what if a person (as an example) sent you quotes of Dick Cheney or George Bush? I would be willing to bet you would see RED!!

janbb's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat Since you’re not on FB, I guess you don’t know how it works. I can post on my own wall what I am doing or what I believe. The only people who can see it are friends of mine; my posts are always set to that level. Any conservative friends of mine are free to disagree with me but as I said above, it doesn’t really happen there.

I have two friends who post things that I don’t agree with so I just pass them by.

And as you said to me recently, “bye bye.”

JLeslie's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat I don’t like when anyone talks down to anyone, but at least they will have the discussion, even if it has some rudeness. I’m talking about people who don’t want to hear or see anything contrary to their opinion. Those are two different things.

Blackberry's avatar

Someone who truly care about knowledge and learning wouldn’t do that. Some people really are kinda dumb I guess lol.

JLeslie's avatar

I think he is more worried about what his close circle of friends and family think.

Coloma's avatar

@BeenThereSaidThat Isn’t your pot calling the kettle black right now?
You are assuming you know how another will react and scoffingly dismissing their sharings.
I agree with @JLeslie, ( agreeing is NOT patting another on the back and playing childish preferential games based on someone else supporting your position ) personalizing disagreement and forever after blacklisting another is not the same as sharp retort when dealing with uber stubborn people that can never concede that someone else might, just might, have a good point as well.

ucme's avatar

Because its facebook

Pachy's avatar

@janbb, yes, agree. I occasionally do the same.

augustlan's avatar

While I try to respect people’s preferences about this, I really don’t understand why they do it. If they were at an in-person gathering of their friends and said anything at all, would they expect no one to reply? If what they said was controversial, would they expect no one to disagree? If they wouldn’t say it to the group in ‘real life’, they shouldn’t say it on Facebook.

I post political stuff on Facebook all the time, and welcome conversation about it. But for some people, even very polite discussion is too much if there is any hint of disagreement. An older relative of mine routinely posts political and/or religious stuff I find outright offensive (and it’s often blatantly untrue). I used to very gently try to show another point of view or evidence that refuted what was posted, but she would just get too upset. She lives far away and we were both so happy to connect on FB at first, but now I can’t comment on 99% of what she posts. So much for ‘connecting’, eh?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I completely agree with @augustlan (and hi! I use the site now, again! :) ).

There’s nowhere “safe”, online or off. Not a single person has the privilege of being able to say whatever they want to whoever they want, without the possibility of someone with an opposing view chiming in – and there’s nothing wrong with that. To me, it seems pretty immature to expect people to keep their mouths shut if they don’t agree with you.

JLeslie's avatar

@Augustlan Great to see you here.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have an older relative, in her late 70’s, who routinely posts ridiculous shit. If you say anything at all, you feel guilty, like you’re picking on an old person. So, for the most part I ignore it.
Yesterday she posted a meme that said, “Vote Against Obama’s Gun Ban!”
I said, “There is no gun ban.”
She said, “Yeah! And we want it to stay that way!”


Tying in to another question regarding recognizing truth from fiction…she’s extremely religious. Her husband is a Catholic priest. Yeah, they met at church. I guess they fell in love, so she divorced her first husband and took off with this guy. Her kids were teenagers at the time. Her son is married to my sister, and it was a very harrowing and bad time for them.
But God, don’t allow gay people to get married because it’s a SIN!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Seeing that A avatar makes me have happy feet!

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