More than a decade after joining, I am deactivating my Facebook account. I’ve been debating doing it for some time, mainly because I don’t see much value in being part of “The Social Network,” when so many other better ones exist, especially the one known as the human race. I almost quit a year ago when I woke one morning to email alerts from friends asking if my Facebook account had been hacked. It had. I reported it and Facebook’s tepid response that it had reviewed my case and was doing nothing because it “found that it doesn’t go against our Community Standards” became the wallpaper on my Facebook page. You can see it now, but do it quickly, because I’m pulling the plug at the end of this week, because Facebook has demonstrated repeatedly since then that it has no community standards.
It’s not just because of the role it has continuously played in disinforming us, dividing us, allowing hostile actors to leverage the underlying power of its “network effect” (usually for money), the fact that it allowed its technology to be used to target people for attributes like “Jew hater,” or even because of the role it played in Cambridge Analytica’s theft of the personal data of 50 million users. It’s all of those things, but it’s mainly the casual and reckless disregard it has shown for all of them.
That second-tier Facebook execs had to be dragged in front of Congress.
That neither Mark Zuckerberg nor Sheryl Sandberg have yet to respond personally to Cambridge Analytica’s breach.
That they have not shown themselves to be accountable to any sense of what I would consider community standards is reason enough for me not to be part of their community.
That’s the official reason I’m pulling Facebook’s plug, but the other, ongoing reason, is I simply don’t see much value in it. And I resent the fact that Facebook derives so much value from me. Something like $7 per user, per month worth of monetization, according to its last public filing.
And what do I get back in return (see above)?
Before beginning this column, I went back to check my correspondence on joining Facebook in the first place. I only did so because we were starting to cover it closely, and it had just loosened its membership rules beyond college students to include members of industry and former Initiative CEO Richard Beaven had invited me.
So I created an account. But I also wrote a column on MediaPost simultaneously saying goodbye to Plaxo. Remember Plaxo? It was a social network founded by Sean Parker in 2002 and if officially shut down in December 2017.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand why some people continue to belong to Facebook, and hope the value derived is equal to the value they give in the form of their data, their time and attention, and how it is monetized.
My point is that I have many ways to connect with and network with people, not the least of which is MediaPost, or dare I say, actually being a friend or family member who knows how to contact me personally.
For those of you who have lost those coordinates, there are still plenty of ways to reach me, including:
And yes, I know that Instagram is owned by Facebook, and that they will still be monetizing my identity, my attention and my data, but I’m not entirely a Luddite. Plus I like looking at people’s pictures and videos.
So to the Facebook Team -- Mark, Sheryl, etc. -- I wish I could say it's been nice knowing you, but, you know...
For all the rest of you #DeleteFacebook