I have had problems with Facebook for years. I was irritated when they removed the reverse chronological timeline, when they started using an algorithm to show posts they thought I’d rather see, when they began posting “friend of a friend” posts on my timeline, when they stopped embedding links from YouTube and Twitter, etc., etc. The addition of autoplay video and audio was a particular sore spot for me.
And I was outraged when the company admitted they’d been manipulating users’ emotions in a secret study, contravening universally recognized protocols on human experimentation. That was in 2014. It seems like a century ago. And it’s only gotten worse.
What has been particularly galling about all of this is that Facebook executives, all the way up to and including Mark Zuckerberg, have seemed genuinely mystified when people complain about all the changes. And they really didn’t understand why it might be a big deal that they were surreptitiously manipulating the things users saw to gauge whether such changes would influence the users’ emotional state.
And they have insisted, in a twisted form of Orwellian doublespeak, that every change has been made to make for a “better experience for users.”
The latest scandal, featuring odious wealthy people harvesting the personal information of 80-plus million users in an effort to sway the Brexit vote and the 2016 Presidential election, is just the latest, largest straw that landed on the camel’s back.
Last September, I “broke up” with Facebook, but continued to share from Instagram and check in and comment occasionally. I removed the app from my phone, which has made a huge difference.
But now, I’m taking this further.
I’m in the process from disentangling myself entirely from Facebook. This is much easier said than done. I have 500 “friends” on Facebook, most of whom I interact with rarely, but that is the only way that I have to contact some of them.
I have posted numerous photos, videos and links over 14 years as a user, which I’d hate to have just “vanish” into the ether.
And my job as a new media journalism professor sort of requires me to maintain at least a passing knowledge of what Facebook is doing to journalism (not anything good).
And that’s not even considering my Instagram account, which I have grown to really like.
So for now, I’m no longer posting anything to Facebook. I’ve downloaded all my data and I’m going to be “curating” a bunch of stuff to other platforms. I’m going to post anything I want to post to my own, self-hosted weblog, probably with a link on Twitter, and – until I can figure something else out – continue on Instagram.
I still use Messenger, and will use it when I have to. In case you think WhatsApp would be a good alternative, it’s owned by Facebook too.
I’m sharing this post from my weblog onto Facebook so people will know where I went. I’m still around, and I invite you to stop by sometime.
So long and thanks for all the fishes, Facebook.