At one time I was addicted to Facebook. Pure and simple. I checked my Facebook account every 5 to 10 minutes looking for that dopamine high one gets when they see people liking their posts. I craved the interaction, the replies, the sympathy, and people agreeing with me.
I loved standing on my proverbial soapbox, posting stuff on my timeline that was tantamount to speaking publicly in front to 300+ “friends”. Something I’d never, ever do in a real life public forum. Oh, how I hate public speaking.
I felt like my posts were changing the world, the way people thought. I wanted people to know I was at the dog park. I wanted people to see I was having fun. I wanted people to know I was at dinner with real friends. I was fully immersed.
Then one day back in 2010, I made a post about the healthcare debate. It wasn’t even anything derogatory. I was simply poking at the merits of a single-payer system, which is what was being pushed at that particular time. I was shocked, but a few de-friended me. Some replied with absolutely horrible things, such as I wanted to kill children. That I was somehow racist. I remember waking up to all the negativity and thinking I should just delete the post and move on. But instead, I simply ignored Facebook for the day and move on. Then a second day. And then a third. I didn’t want to log in and see all the negativity. It literally kept me away from logging into my Facebook account.
For me, Facebook lost much of its allure after that post. I realized about 250 of the 300 friends I had weren’t really friends. They were people I hadn’t seen in 20+ years, would never see again, and some whose voice I had never heard in person.
A few months later, I went through the great purge. I de-friended pretty much 75% of my “friends”. My activity on Facebook dropped off significantly for many years and for the most part, I was just a lurker. I eventually decided to deactivate my Facebook account (no delete).
Years passed and a friend surprisingly convinced my to get back on Facebook. I relapsed in the addiction for about a year. But then a similar situation happened, this time about an immigration post. Fed up and disgusted, I finally deleted my Facebook account. That was in February of 2017 and I haven’t missed it one single bit, since.
“Exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology”
I’m not a psychologist, but I know it’s jacking people up. Big time. And it 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, exploitation, and marketing.
I can tell you from personal experience, it’s absolutely true. As previously mentioned, I was once addicted, 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 socially interacting with other people in the real world, 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. Some will check it while watching a movie at the movie theater. Others will 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.
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. 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 paying them a single penny. All they need is the People’s addiction.
Regardless of your privacy settings they are selling 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 your data from those sites as well.
Everything you do in relation to Facebook is sold to advertisers and third party companies that use the 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.
As long as companies pay up, Facebook will oblige to sell your data.
Facebook will always deny this claim, but it’s true. This 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 decided I was not going to 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, forget it.
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 has 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. Same goes for Twitter.
Facebook is Lying … or Incredibly Incompetent
As a whole, Facebook, the executives, and their employees cannot be trusted with personal information. Too many vulnerabilities, hacks, lies, and misinformation. Zuckerberg testified before congress that Facebook doesn’t share large amounts of personal data with other companies. He said users have “complete control” over who has access to their data. Neither turned out to be 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 so one morning in early 2017, I deleted my Facebook account for good.