A little more than two months ago, I quit Facebook. I outlined my reasons in the post Leaving Facebook. I wasn’t sure if I would be successful. I failed to go even 30 days without Facebook back when I tried to quit in 2010. But this time it was easy.
Facebook lost my trust years ago. I joined because I thought it would be a great tool to keep me connected with friends and family. And it started out that way. But over time, my newsfeed got filled with more and more clickbait type content. Facebook also began hiding posts that were important to me.
A week ago, I learned that a friend of mine was in the hospital for a serious condition. I missed the announcement because I left Facebook. That isn’t good, but I knew there would be cases like this before I left. But would I have even seen the news had I still be on Facebook? Maybe not. When a group of friends got together on Sunday, a minority of them actually saw the post, even though they were all Facebook friends.
So a situation that would have normally given me pause if I had made the right decision to leave, actually cemented my resolve that Facebook is no longer a tool I can trust to connect me with friends and family.
Facebook exists to data-mine and exploits your opinions and values for their profits. This might be a fair tradeoff, provided they actually were successful with the very reason I had joined the site back in 2007, which was connecting me to my network of friends and family. But they repeatedly failed at that, so I left.
The other day I got some push back on my decision to leave. I quickly learned that some people are still under the false impression that Facebook shows all their posts to all their friends. They don’t. Not even close. Even critically important posts, like the one I mentioned above, can be hidden from close friends that actively engage with each other’s posts.
Facebook is going to get worse. A lot worse.
One challenge Facebook has is the growth of the network is stalling. This means that in order to increase revenue they won’t be able to rely on increasing the base. They will need to find ways to extract more revenue per user. That’s you. That’s your attention span. That is what you are trading in exchange for keeping your network connections.
And that might be a fair tradeoff for many. It wasn’t for me. In a future post, I will give some tips on how to make quitting Facebook easier.
Feb 24, 2019 — 11:44 am
As I commented after your initial FB post, my experience has been fine with FB. I’m part of a group for my high school graduating class, and it was helpful to find out about a reunion last year. I don’t see any need to quit FB (unless you want to punish them for perceived bad acts). For me, I’m fine just being an occasional passive user. I don’t have it on my phone, I never post anything, and I only log on once every three or four months. Works for me.
Feb 24, 2019 — 3:06 pm
I have never had a Facebook account. I probably never will. Sure, it does function as a tool for people to connect, but in my opinion, it seems superficial and not personal. I see many people using Facebook as a billboard to show an image of themselves, a Facebook personality. Mostly in an egoist manner. Really, aren’t relationships about relating to a person? And there are many ways to relate with people that are more effective and meaningful. Nothing is more effective and valuable than the time spent in the presence of people. ‘Connecting’, is not the same as relating. Quite often ‘posting’ is boasting’.
Feb 24, 2019 — 3:59 pm
@Jim – Sounds like you found a good healthy use of the site. Something I had initially but faded over the years.
@LG – I actually miss the days when friends would boast post. I left because people started sharing news articles to the latest outrage. I thought after the 2016 election, people would return to using FB to share photos and stories about their kids and vacations, but it didn’t happen. FB used to be a place to go to escape the news. Not anymore.
Feb 24, 2019 — 5:57 pm
I wish I could leave as I find it increasingly useless as well for me personally, but now I feel like I have to be on it for my business, which kinds of sucks, but honestly I use it less and less for personal stuff, so I’m probably increasingly less valuable to them. At least I hope that’s true.