Modern Alternative Mama’s flight from Facebook: the dawn of a new day for science on the internet

science chasing

The internet is the oxygen of contemporary pseudoscience movements.

Pseudoscience movements like anti-vaccine advocacy existed prior to the internet, of course but they were stunted, enfeebled shadows of what they later became. Why? Because prior to the internet, it was easy to tell the difference between science, which appeared in textbooks, journals and at professional conferences, and pseudoscience, which was transmitted by mimeographed newsletters shared among the true believers.

The internet allowed purveyors of pseudoscience, as well as charlatans and con men, to inexpensively create an image identical to that of actual science. Just about any internet tool that is available to those attempting to teach laypeople about science is equally available to those attempting to profit from pseudoscience. A layperson is hard pressed to tell the difference between the two. Moreover, widely available web services like Facebook allow for easy communication of pseudoscience between the true believers and the uninitiated. A shared post on Facebook looks the same to a layperson whether it came from a legitimate source or a pseudoscience clown.

That’s why Modern Alternative Mama’s announcement that she is fleeing from Facebook is a victory for science. Of course, just as Katie Tietje has spewed nonsense about vaccines, childbirth and anything else you can think of, she’s spewing nonsense about why she’s leaving Facebook. She claims it’s about privacy, in a post disingenuously titled If Privacy Matters to You, It’s Time to Leave Facebook but it’s really about the inability to hide from dissent on Facebook.

We all know that what we say on there in groups and on pages could be shared. Sure. We know if our profiles are public, then friends or even employers could look us up and see what we do with our time. It’s the internet, and it’s forever.


Did you know that even if you are posting in a private or secret group, Facebook can read and even use that information? They can (and do) share it with marketing partners. And if you post a picture of your kids and set it to show to “close friends” only, Facebook owns that image and could use it in advertising. Without letting you know first — because you agreed to it when you signed up.

If anyone believes that’s why Katie is leaving Facebook, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell you.

The real reason is this:

Discussing any controversial topic, especially vaccines (which I tend to do often) is fraught with landmines — namely, trolls, who like to bully and harass people who don’t believe what they believe. I try to avoid talking about them, because the general line of thought goes that if you ignore them they’ll go away. Here’s the thing: they won’t. It’s not about attention, it’s not even about me. It’s about their mental instability and need to bully those who aren’t like them, and no strategy (ignoring, retaliating, etc.) will ever make them stop.

I know plenty of you are fed up with that, too. You just want a safe space, like it used to be, to ask questions about natural living and connect with like-minded parents. (emphasis in the original).

Ever notice how pseudoscience cranks like Katie, and others (Gina Crossly-Corcoran immediately springs to mind) behave like men’s rights activists who scream “discrimination” whenever they are called to account on their abusive tactics, or racists who scream “racism against white people” whenever they are called to account about their prejudice, Katie, and her ilk scream “trolls, bullies” whenever any dares to point out that their nonsense is contradicted by science.

As in politics, so it is in science: sunlight is the best disinfectant. Katie Tietje’s beliefs are like ice cubes; they can’t withstand the glare of the truth. So Katie needs to find someplace dark and private, and most importantly, needs to be able to ban any hint of actual scientific evidence, because otherwise her nonsense will be eviscerated.

Poor Katie just wanted a “safe space” where she could transmit her nonsense free from anyone’s attempt to interject actual science.

Now, there is such a place.

It’s called MeWe, and it’s a new social media site. They take privacy seriously — you own all your content, not them. They also don’t allow bullying, trolling, or harassment. They won’t allow people to target pages or groups and be nasty to them. They won’t allow them to start hate groups. And every group can choose their privacy settings, so that they have to approve all new members before they join (which keeps trolls out, if you screen members carefully). Plus, if someone is nasty, you can ban them — and they actually stay banned.

This creates a safe space for like-minded people who just want to have a real discussion about all things natural living. One of the main guys over at MeWe is actually a “natural dad” himself, and I’ve spoken to him about some of this — it’s for real. It’s not going to end up like Facebook. (emphasis in the original)

Right, it’s not going to end up like Facebook; it’s going to end up bankrupt.

Because of Facebook’s blatant violation of privacy and obvious censorship of natural communities, I’m moving my operations over to MeWe.

It’s going to take a few weeks to actually get the word out to everyone, and help everyone get set up over at MeWe. We are screening members because we want a solid, positive community. But after awhile, I’ll delete my presence on Facebook. I just can’t be a part of that business anymore. I disagree too strongly with what they are doing.

Awesome! Katie can slink off under a virtual rock where only the faithful who affirmatively choose to subject themselves to her nonsense will be able to hear her.

But if you think she’s permanently retiring from Facebook, think again. She’ll be back because she wants to proselytize; that’s why she joined Facebook in the first place. Over at MeWe she might as well not exist. Only the choir will follow her there and what fun is that?

I’m not the only blogger to do this. Many of my natural-living colleagues are jumping ship and heading over to MeWe, too. See, they care as much about privacy as I do, and the ability to reach their fans without censorship.

Way to go, Katie! Take all the other “natural living clowns” who “care about privacy” with you when you go, and the internet will be a better place.

Careful, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.