I'm quitting Facebook.
It's something I've been thinking about doing for a while now, and I'm finally taking the plunge (although it feels less like a dive into the unknown and more like the freedom of being unshackled).
I avoided Facebook for a long time, proudly wearing the (imaginary) I-don't-use-Facebook badge. But then I wanted to promote my business more and decided to setup a Facebook page for it. A Facebook business page requires a personal Facebook account to manage it. I hid my personal account for the first few months, using it solely to manage my business page, but eventually started using my personal account to post things, like things, follow people, join groups, chat to family, etc.
But I don't really like it. So this post is to explain, to those who might be wondering why the sudden, and abrupt, decision, why I'm quitting Facebook altogether. My reasons are twofold:
Value (or lack thereof)
I've come to realise that Facebook doesn't actually add any value to my life. I can sit on the computer or on my phone and scroll the endless sea of status updates, memes, photos, videos, news topics, advertisements, controversies, etc., etc., etc., and when I finish, have I actually accomplished anything? Do I feel better about my life? Am I happier, more calm or relaxed, have I spent more quality time with my family/friends, do I feel productive...? Generally, no.
Facebook simply doesn't add value to my life. The only two reasons I could think of for keeping my Facebook account were for managing my business page, and keeping in touch with family on Messenger. However I decided that neither of these reasons was enough to keep my account (though I may setup a new, separate, private account to keep these going in future...).
Privacy (or lack thereof)
As a free and open-source enthusiast, where my data is stored and who controls it is important to me. This year I started using DuckDuckGo as my default search engine (instead of Google), and recently made a bunch of privacy-related changes to my smartphone (some of which I detailed in an earlier blog post, and some of which I've done since then (so maybe I need to write a follow-up post...)).
The information you give to Facebook (status updates, photos, account information, etc.) is no longer your own. Facebook can, and will, use it for their own purposes and benefit. There was a particularly high-profile privacy scandal involving Facebook earlier this year, and there have been others in the past. There will almost certainly be more in the future. Any one company or organisation who controls that much information about that many users is a recipe for disaster (or at the very least, a serious cause for concern).
I don't want others owning my data. So while it's not feasible to totally avoid using the products and services of companies like Facebook and Google, I'm at least trying to minimise their collection and use of my personal information. And deleting my Facebook account is a step in that direction.
Some will disagree with my decision, thinking me silly or paranoid. Some, hopefully, will be inspired to do the same and stop or minimise their use of Facebook. But hopefully everyone who reads this will, at the very least, have a think about how they're spending their time online, and who they're ultimately giving their personal information to.
Finally, I'm not disappearing. Believe it or not, there's a life outside of Facebook. I'll still be online (I work there for one thing), and will still be contactable through this website, my email, my business, etc.