Why I deleted my Facebook account
EDIT: I've had to rewrite this post a couple of times now since deciding to leave Facebook as more and more reasons to leave keep piling up! When I first decided to leave it was purely from a desire to create more mindfulness in my life but as it turns out there are more serious and far reaching reasons to leave. The Cambridge Analytica scandal shouldn't really come as any surprise to any one- and has really been the biggest log on the fire and confirmation for me leaving. Below is the original post I wrote way back in October when I first chose to pull the plug:
I've been on Facebook since it's inception in 2007- and while the first couple of years it was pretty benign, even enjoyable at times, I've come to realize how toxic it can be.
There is a slew of research that suggests that heavy use of Facebook is linked to depression, and all of the negative mental health effects that come with it. These are just a few examples of recent studies and articles on the subject:
Exploring Facebook Depression - Psychology Today
What's even scarier is that Facebook was actually designed to be that way. Every interaction, every UI/UX choice, was designed in a way to keep us coming back to the app, over and over again. Which of course begs the question- why?
Facebook on the surface is social networking platform that hinges on people voluntarily sharing their own personal information- every photo, every milestone, comment, or status update. How do you get people to want to do that? The answer is to design a system that motivates people to do so- that rewards the user with engagement and feedback.
Tristan Harris has a great initiative known as Time Well Spent that really delves into the how and why these design choices are made. If you haven't seen his Ted talk check it out here:
The bottom line is that, even though Facebook is built on the aim of "connecting" people their main motivation is, and has always been, profit. See this oft circulated quote from Mark Zuckerberg:
Facebook makes a profit of selling our data, and getting our eyeballs on ads in our newsfeeds. To maximize their profits they designed a system that was toxic to our mental health, and cultivated addictive behaviors to keep us coming back for more.
Scarier still is how Facebook can be manipulated for political gains- as seen in the past presidential election. For me that was absolutely the last nail in the coffin.
The past couple of months I've made it a point to disengage from Facebook. I started by deleting the app from my phone and have seen a huge impact on my day to day mindfulness and happiness. Today I officially pulled the plug. There are a ton of guides on how to do so and this is the most useful one I've found is here:
I'll post more follow ups, but I encourage anyone who can to do the same! My next post will detail how I transitioned into using my blog and MailChimp to stay connected with the people I love and a post on my trial with emerging open source social network Mastodon.
And with that I leave you with these: