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

Province delivers notice of unauthorized occupation to Saanich tent city Camp Namegans

A Ministry of Transportation liaison to Camp Namegans delivered a “notice of… Continue reading

UPDATE: Woman hit by car in parking lot 93 years old

Driver of sedan backs into older adult walking through lot

Residents of tent cities unfairly labeled as criminals, says report

Some neighbours supportive of Regina Park camp

Delayed grant decisions could send new Crystal Pool costs soaring

Delays could cost the City of Victoria up to $500,000/month more in construction costs

Delivery truck downs power lines in Sidney

A tractor trailer delivering eggs clipped a low-hanging wire on Second St.… Continue reading

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Special forces unit to monitor Hells Angels ride on Vancouver Island

Enforcement unit says motorcycle club to hold 35th anniversary ride in Nanaimo

Hub for mental health and addictions treatment opens at B.C. hospital

St. Paul’s Hospital HUB is an acute medical unit that includes 10 patient beds

Saanich Police investigate store robbery

Store video captures image of suspect

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Restaurant Brands International to review policy over poaching employees

One of Canada’s largest fast-food company to review ‘no-poach’ franchise agreements

Calgary family’s vacation ends in tragedy on Texas highway

Three people died and four others were injured in the crash

Union construction cost competitive, B.C. Building Trades say

Non-union firms can bid on infrastructure, but employees have to join international unions

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet ahead of Liberals’ team for 2019

Trudeau could lighten the work loads of cabinet ministers who currently oversee more than one portfolio

Most Read