Councillor proposes to delete CSU social media

Raises concerns about supporting unethical platforms

CSU councillor Roman Zelensky proposed to delete the union’s Facebook account to distance themselves from the company’s unethical practices, but others worried about staying connected to the student body. File Photo Ireland Compton

During the Nov. 25 Concordia Student Union regular council meeting, councillor Roman Zelensky proposed to delete the union’s Facebook account to cut ties with the business and their unethical practices.

“Data is very valuable,” Zelensky explained, as he takes issue with how social media uses algorithms to sell their users’ data. “I believe no entity should have the power to control and eliminate the independent decision making of humans,” he later added.

“By cutting ties with them we take a firm stance and we’d be one of the first universities in Canada to do so,” he said. “And we will also be encouraging future social media companies [to] do business in an ethical manner and don’t use data in such a vicious way as Facebook [does].” 

Because Facebook owns several other social media platforms, the conversation quickly snowballed to include social media broadly. While most councillors agreed that many large social media companies function unethically, they also thought it almost impossible to transition the CSU away from these platforms.

“If you care about your privacy no one should use Facebook, Amazon, or Google, but that’s not possible,” said newly-elected councillor Shlomo Tanny. “Are you going to stop using Facebook, and Messenger, and WhatsApp, and Instagram? I don’t see how that’s possible.”

Several councillors raised concerns about keeping in contact with the student body, as the majority of students follow CSU updates through their Facebook or Instagram.

“I don’t think it’s in the students’ best interest to take away a very important source of information,” said Malcolm Asselin, CSU Loyola coordinator. “Facebook, Instagram, these things are extremely valuable during these times.”

“Without social media we would only be able to rely on our newsletter which doesn't have a huge reach as it stands, to actually communicate with students,” said Internal Affairs Coordinator Daniel Amico.

Instead of deleting their platforms, Amico suggested creating a campaign about safe social media practices.

External Affairs and Mobilization Coordinator Victoria Pesce also suggested creating a CSU app to serve as a hub for information, similar to the Commerce and Administration Students' Association app. She also suggested lobbying the government to create more strict regulations on social media companies to protect their users’ data, similar to the positions and campaigns the CSU heads.