Walking Away

I deleted my Facebook account today. I didn’t just close that tab in my browser; I didn’t go on a 5 day “technology cleanse”; I didn’t suspend my account.

(You may now clutch your pearls and gasp dramatically. I’ll wait.)

Now that your shock and horror have passed, I wanted to explain why, and why this is not an act worth emulating, and why it is absolutely something I think you should consider emulating.

First the boring reasons:

  • My original reason for getting onto Facebook was to keep track of my kids. They aren’t on Facebook any more (possibly because I *am*.)
  • Meanwhile, I found myself spending an inordinate time hitting “refresh” waiting for something interesting to show up.
  • When something interesting DOES show up that I want to comment on, it fails the 3-point checklist I use to keep me from embarrassing myself (more than usual):
    • Is it kind?
    • Is it true?
    • Is it necessary for me to respond?

AND THEN there’s the whole privacy piece, which has been recently (and in my opinion, best) summarized here. Reading my texts? NSA impersonation? data leaks? Fraud? It’s a security hit-parade.

I’ll have to admit, the whole ‘turning on my microphone when I’m doing a status update” thing is just a step too far for me. I deleted the FB app off all my mobile devices immediately.

And then this announcement that FB is selling my information to advertisers. Taken on its own, this would be a yawner. But for me it was one in a growing list of concerns.

I am completely clear that FB isn’t the only offender. The other social media platforms have similar problems. In fact, it’s still worth having the discussion on whether “social media” should come with any illusions of privacy at all. But FB currently seems to have the most egregious flaws. And (for me at least) very few benefits.

That’s not going to be true for everyone. When I made the announcement that I would be shutting down my account, many people told me they couldn’t survive (read “stay in touch”, “keep up to date”, or even “while away the boring hours before/after/during work”) without it.

And that’s fine. My decision to delete my Facebook account is not something you should feel compelled to emulate.

On the other hand, FB is acting less like a social media platform and more like a corporate entity looking to monetize any way they can. I don’t begrudge them that, and I appreciate the fact that they made an announcement about selling my information. This time. Because people are looking.

It’s clear that Facebook is really not interested in your privacy in any meaningful way, and as a user you simply can’t expect it.

So, while this isn’t an action you should feel compelled to emulate, you may want to consider it never the less.

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