Like unwelcome guests, they appear suddenly and unannounced. One minute I’m scrolling down my Facebook feed and viewing some seemingly random video of cute bunnies hopping around, the next I’m watching them shrieking, being clubbed to death and skinned. There are others: puppies, kittens, elephants, sharks, monkeys, chickens, rhinos … all being (mal)treated in one way or another. It makes me want to flush my mobile phone down the toilet.
These videos are, ironically, not made by deprived sickos who enjoy torturing Bambis but by militant animal rights activists who want us to see “what farms/cosmetic companies/fast-food chains don’t want you to see”. Sure, I am all for public education and raising awareness to stop animal cruelty, but there are other ways activists can get their message across without shoving their doctrine, along with the blood and gore, down our social-media-feed throats.
These images are extremely graphic and intended to provoke, disturb and upset. And once you have seen the unsolicited clips they cannot be unseen. Heaven forbid young children are exposed to this kind of footage.
As an animal-lover (my family adopts its pets from rescue homes) I know what animal cruelty is. But I have the right to choose what I watch. I know that on some social-media platforms users can block certain types of content from their feed but I have yet to master control over what I see on Facebook – its algorithms are constantly changing.
I can only assume these shocking videos find their way onto my feed because friends, or friends of friends (you know how Facebook works), are promoting an anti-animal-cruelty cause. Good for them. I just wish they’d consider the feelings of others before sharing.
I did find one piece of advice from the Facebook help team regarding graphic posts: “To report something that’s been posted in a group, click the ‘Report Abuse’ option from the menu in the top left of the post. You can also report the content directly to the group admins instead.” Whether the post will be removed is at their discretion.
Or I could just stop using Facebook.