At one time I was addicted to Facebook, kicked the habit for a couple years, then relapsed, only to once again cure my addiction by deleting my account. And when I say delete, I mean delete. Not deactivate.
It wasn’t easy the first time, but it certainly was the second (more on that below). I can understand the mental difficulty with permanently severing ties with Facebook. Many have years, or even a decade or more worth of photos and interactions with family members and friends (some who have passed on), which makes it very difficult to just walk away. You can download all your timeline content during the deletion process, but the only way to really revisit the interactions is to re-import it into Facebook, which means creating an account.
Some of my close friends — not the Facebook “friends” who I never met or knew I would never see again — asked how I just walked away. Did I just wake up one morning and decide to quit Facebook? The answer was actually, yeah. That’s exactly what I did.
But to be fair, I was never a Facebook power user the second time around. I didn’t check it every 15 minutes and post four selfies a day. I didn’t spill my emotions over a cup of Joe in the morning looking for sympathy. I didn’t get the “like” or emoticon dopamine high some crave and feed upon. I didn’t check-in every time I got out of my car to let the world know where I was and what I was doing. I just lurked the timeline, mostly out of habit it seemed. I really wasn’t interested in what people who were not my real friends were doing.
For some, gaining more friends is like upping the dosage on a drug after the body builds up a tolerance. If 20 likes isn’t enough, they want 30. Then 50, Then 200. They need more “friends” to get the same high, so they friend anyone. They don’t really know these people, and they don’t really look at all 963 friends’ postings, most of whom they do not speak to or hang out with. Ever. They only want the likes.
Anyhow, this isn’t what got me to quit, but it did make it easier. Below are the top reasons why I quit Facebook.
“Exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology”
I’m not a psychologist, but I know it’s jacking people up. Big time. And is looks as if Sean Parker, the founding billionaire president of Facebook, thinks the same thing. The whole concept of social media is one of manipulation and exploitation.
I can tell you from personal experience, it’s absolutely true. I was once addicted myself, and I see the same addiction in people I interact with today. When at a friend’s party, out to dinner, having a BBQ, attending a work function, watching people waiting in line, or interacting with other people, about half are at some point engrossed in their phones looking at Facebook or one of the other social media platforms.
God forbid WiFi or cell service is not available at one of these locations. The addicts look seriously depressed when they can’t check Facebook. I also remember people getting pissed when their “friends” were not liking their post fast enough, and would make some snide comment to elicit a response; “Thanks to my real friends for responding”, or “guess no one likes me”. Wow.
It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology. The inventors, creators… understood this consciously. And we did it anyway. — Sean Parker
Some people are so addicted, they check Facebook while driving (dangerous). They whip out the phone before wiping their butt while sitting on the toilet. They will check it while watching a movie at the movie theater. They check it while attending a sporting event. Yeah, I know some people are looking for text messages, but I have personally seen a vast majority of these people checking the Facebook app on their phone. I’m more cognizant of it now and actually take a peek when I can to see what they’re looking at … and it’s mostly Facebook.
I used to be a zombie, so I know. Not anymore.
You Are the Product
Facebook doesn’t make money by charging you a subscription fee, and they don’t charge you for the service they provide either. So how do they make their money? They harvest your private data due to a vulnerability in the human psychology (see above) and sell it to advertisers and other third party companies interested mining your data. You are the product and in return, they allow you to use their platform so they can harvest even more of your personal data. And they make billions doing it, without you giving them a single penny. All they need is the People’s addiction.
Regardless of your privacy settings they are giving away all your information and everything you do on Facebook. Every time you post, all your contacts, favorite song, favorite movie, spouse, sister, father, mother, children, workplace, schools attended, college degree, previous employers, political affiliation, every “like”, every click, every game you play, every message, every page you visit and “like”, every ad you click on, the content of your posts, how often you access Facebook, the time of day you open the app or log into the webpage, your GPS location, the places you visit, the places you check-in at, the things you share, the emoticons used, the things you verbally say (yes, despite their claims otherwise, the app listens in on your conversations), your private photos … the list goes on, and on. Moreover, when you use or link your Facebook credentials to log into another website or service like Spotify and Netflix, Facebook collects all the data from those sites as well.
Everything you do in relation to Facebook is sold to advertisers and third party companies that then use that metadata for their own purposes. Maybe you’ve noticed the advertisements you see are of things that interest you. Or maybe you’ve seen that it helps a political organization get a president elected. Although required by law, any information you put on Facebook can be accessed by the government. It also allows foreign governments to spy on the population by using a cover agency to purchase the data (Russia, anyone?). As long as companies pay up, Facebook will oblige.
Facebook will always deny this claim, because it’s not an easy sell to the people using their product, but it is their business model. Without selling your data, they cannot make any money and the platform disappears. We now know Zuckerberg lied to Congress about this very thing.
I will not be harvested for someone else’s gain. Using the Facebook platform isn’t good enough to in return surrender my privacy and personal information. If Facebook wants to give me a cut of the money they make selling my personal information, well then, let’s talk. Otherwise, nope.
Silencing the Opposition
I grew up in the 80’s and spent countless hours BBS’ing on a modem. By the 90’s, this micro world had evolved into the internet, a place to share all types of information freely, without censorship and without regulation. It was fantastic. That’s not the case anymore. The internet is virtually broken from its original principals.
Facebook kicks people off their platform that don’t comply with their moral code of conduct, don’t have the same vision as them, and don’t believe in the same things as they do. To all others, they treat as a threat or as hostiles.
Facebook is Lying … or Incredibly Incompetent
Facebook, the executives and their employees simply cannot be trusted with personal information. Too many vulnerabilities, hacks, lies, and misinformation. After testifying before congress that Facebook didn’t share large amounts of personal data with other companies and users have “complete control” over who has access to their data, it turns out that wasn’t true.
We now know Facebook has extensive data sharing partnerships with Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung. The latest report being Facebook granted Spotify, Netflix and Bank of Canada the ability to read and delete private messages, all three of which now claim they had no idea Facebook granted them these powers. And why would a bank need to have permissions to read and delete private messages?
Cambridge Analytica had access to tens of millions of users’ private data, which Zuckerberg originally lied about. Facebook was hacked in which millions of users private data was leaked, and they never reported it until they were caught not doing so. This list goes on, and on.
In conclusion, those things had been running through my mind for months. I was only checking Facebook about once a month to see if any was interested in buying one of my landscape photos (photography is a hobby of mine). When I realized there were other platforms that are way more conducive to this sort of hobby (Flickr, 500px, SmugMug), I stopped checking Facebook all together.
So one morning, I woke up, and the drop of a hat, I deleted my account.