At the end of 2017, Facebook boasted a barely-believable 2.2 billion active monthly users. Zuckerberg’s creation now reaches people of all ages in every corner of the global.
Indeed, Facebook is so pervasive that people expect you to have an account. If you don’t, you’re seen as an oddball. How dare you fly in the face of the digital world?
But if you’re one of the few people in North America or Europe who don’t have a Facebook profile, you’re ahead of the curve. People in the United States are deleting their accounts in record numbers.
If you still have an account, it’s time to take a long look in the mirror. It might be time for you to stop using Facebook.
Here are five reasons why you should delete your Facebook profile.
1. Facebook Tracks You Around the Web
Yes, there are lots of problems with Facebook’s usability; we’ll come to them shortly. However, perhaps the most worrisome of all Facebook’s issues is the way it tracks you around the web.
Let’s try and be fair for a moment. Facebook provides its services for free, and in return, we accept we’re handing over data to one of the largest advertising firms in the world.
But Facebook also tracks you when you’re not using the site. Worse still, you don’t even need a Facebook account—the company will still track you.
The issue recently made global headlines after Belgian authorities ruled that Facebook had to delete all the data it held on Belgian citizens. Prosecutors said Facebook collected it unlawfully.
The only way to show your displeasure at the gross invasion of privacy is to vote with your feet—or your mouse, in this case.
2. Human Experimentation
Cast your mind back to 2012. You may recall that Facebook conducted an experiment on 689,000 of its unwitting users.
Over a period of several months, half of the “participants” were subjected to consistently positive content. The other half were shown negative content.
It was negligent in the extreme. Aside from the ethical issues, one can only speculate about the negative effect the move could have had on users suffering from emotional issues.
And that’s not the only time Facebook has pulled this trick. There are at least seven other high-profile examples since the turn of the decade.
Bottom line: Facebook sees you as a lab rat.
3. Fake News
Donald Trump may have laid claim to the “fake news” catchphrase, but the concept of deliberately feeding people misinformation is as old as human civilization itself.
We’re not here to discuss the philosophical standpoints around fake news. You can decide where you stand in the freedom-of-speech debate.
However, one thing is clear: over the last six years, Facebook has increasingly tried to position itself as a news portal. In doing so, it has an obligation to deliver on basic principles like trustworthiness and reliability.
But the company has failed. Facebook has allowed fake news to prosper, giving it both a platform and a veneer of authenticity. Given Facebook has also been accused deliberately influencing elections, it’s a troublesome situation.
If Facebook is your primary source of news, it’s time to move on. You should use these trustworthy news sites instead.
4. Questionable Privacy Practices
Facebook has obfuscated and complicated its privacy settings for as long as anyone can remember.
Don’t believe us? Here’s a Zuckerberg quote from The Guardian in 2010:
“Simply put, many of you thought our [privacy] controls were too complex. Our intention was to give you lots of granular controls; but that may not have been what many of you wanted. We just missed the mark.”
Can you honestly say the situation is any better today, eight years later? Yes, Facebook does offer a privacy setting for almost everything—but you need an entire manual to find every hidden option. It’s deliberately not user-friendly.
“No personal information that you submit to Facebook will be available to any user of the website who does not belong to at least one of the groups specified by you in your privacy settings.”
And here’s a quote from the current policy:
“When you use third-party apps, websites or other services that use, or are integrated with [Facebook], they may receive information about what you post or share. […] We use all the information that we have about you to show you relevant ads. […] And we transfer information to vendors, service providers, and other partners.”
We barely need to say any more; the quotes tell their own story. Facebook wants you to overlook settings so it can use your data.
5. Facebook Has Forgotten Its Roots
When Facebook first burst onto the scene, it was revolutionary. Sure, sites like MySpace had enjoyed some previous success, but Facebook was the first network that was truly fit for widespread use.
And we loved it. Our newsfeeds were full of photos and updates from your close friends.
But as time has passed, the newsfeed has become diluted. Excessively large friend networks and a deluge of posts from advertisers, pages you Liked years ago, and “news” organizations meant the network lost its original charm.
Facebook’s leadership seems to recognize the problem. In January 2018, Zuckerberg announced you could “expect to see more from your friends, family, and groups” on your newsfeed in the coming 12 months.
It sounds promising, but we all know Facebook will never again be the trendy place to hang out that it was pre-2010. You should try a different network with a tightly knit group instead.
Isn’t It Time to Stop Using Facebook?
We’ve looked at five reasons why you should stop using Facebook today, and we’ve not even touched on the more obvious issues like lost productivity and the toxic “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality that the network helps to propagate.
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