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Cartman is awesome! Haha! But really, that kind of reaction to the dominant social media platforms is well deserved, especially given their recent behavior. Listen to this: my wife’s church held a service of hymns and prayer for “healing the nation” on Tuesday. The church’s IT administrator posted an advance notice about the service on the church’s Facebook wall. There was nothing overtly political about the notice or the service itself. Nevertheless, somehow FB deemed the notice subversive and blocked it! We are not dealing with decent or reasonable people here. They are pigs, and we don’t have to do business with them.
A number of years ago, a woman told me FB was “the Devil!” She was very good natured and I laughed at the time. But there are many reasons for people to wean themselves from social media, or at least from certain platforms. The web abounds with testimony on lives improved by quitting FB, for example, and there are forums for those who’ve quit or would like to. There’s also plenty of practical advice on “how to leave”, so there is definitely some interest in getting out.
Ditching FB offers a certain freedom: you can eliminate the compulsion to check your news feed and escape those feelings of obligation to “like” or comment on certain posts. These are distractions that many can do without. No more efforts to “unsee” expressions of foot fetish narcissism! Free of the pathetic virtue signals that seem to dominate the space. And quitting might be especially nice if you’re keen on cutting ties with certain “frenemies”. Almost all of us have had a few. This study found that quitting FB results in less time online (surprise!) and more time with family and friends (pre-COVID lockdowns, of course). It also found that quitting leads to less political polarization! Imagine that!
There’s no question that FB helped me make new friends and reconnect with old ones. It also led to overdue severing of ties with a few toxic individuals. I know I’m likely to lose contact with people I truly like, and that’s too bad, but in most cases I must leave it up to them to stay in touch (read on). Obviously, there are many ways to stay in contact with friends you really want to keep.
As for politics (and seemingly every aspect of life has been politicized), now is a very good time to quit FB if you believe in free expression, the value of diverse opinion, and a free marketplace of ideas. FB doesn’t want that. As the episode at my wife’s church demonstrates, FB has been brazenly selective in suppressing opinion, like other prominent social media platforms. It was obvious well before the presidential election, and it has become intolerable since.
How To Defacebook
There are voices that counsel patience with the tech giants. They recommend a strategy of diversification across platforms, without necessarily quitting any of them. I can understand why certain people might prefer that route. It’s well nigh impossible to migrate an extended family to another platform, for example. However, juggling several accounts can be a problem of time management. And for me, this all boils down to a matter of disgust. It’s time to stick it to FB.
This rest of this post offers some practical advice on quitting FB and more thoughts on how and why I’m doing it. This will also appear on some speech-friendly platforms, so if you see it there and you haven’t quit FB, do it! You’re already halfway there.
The first decision is whether to quit outright or deactivate. Many don’t have the fortitude to stay away if they merely deactivate, and maybe they just need a break. For others, FB has earned an enmity that can only be satisfied by leaving for good. Count me among the latter.
You should reclaim all of your data before you quit: you can download it to a zip file, which will include all of your photos, chats, “About” information, your friends’ birthdays, etc… While it’s been claimed that shutting your account will cleanse Facebook of all your data, that’s not entirely the case. For example, your friends might still retain chats in which you participated. In fact, I’m not convinced all of your data isn’t permanently in FB’s possession, if not the NSA’s, but we might never know.
You should also change your login credentials on other online accounts linked to FB. You should be able to identify some or maybe all of those by looking at the password section in “Settings”. I’m not sure whether scrolling though and checking all the apps listed in Settings will help — it didn’t help me identify anything that the password section did not.
It’s a good idea to keep Messenger up for a while in case any of your friends want to inquire or find a way to stay in touch. That’s fine, but to really rid yourself of FB, you must part with Messenger eventually. Of course, you’ll lose Instagram and WhatsApp when you quit FB. I don’t use those, so it won’t be a problem for me.
Then there are the “I’m Going To Quit!” status updates, sometimes laced with sadness or anger. I haven’t found those particularly appealing in the past… I’ve often wondered if they were merely ploys to get attention. But things have changed. I will add this post to my wall and leave it there for a few days. My *noble* intent is to help others quit, and to do my small part to foster a more competitive social media environment. Another way to communicate your departure would be to use Messenger to inform selected friends, but that’s more work. And by the way, in anticipation of my stop date, I’ve been culling my friends list more aggressively than ever.
Once you pull the trigger and click “Delete”, your account will remain active for a few days. Don’t be a sucker. Delete the app on your phone. Wait it out. Forget about it!
Again, there was never a better time to dump FB. Beyond any emotionally corrosive aspects of social media, the last straw should be the selective censorship of political views, shadow bans, outright bans, and deletion of groups. Lately, it’s been like witnessing the early transition from Weimar to the Third Reich. We can only hope the full transition will remain unfulfilled.
For a company protected from liability under Section 230 of the Telecommunications Act, FB’s refusal to respect First Amendment rights and to abide diversity of opinion is shocking. Don’t tell me about fact checking! Facebook fact checkers are politically motivated hacks, and the new “oversight board” is not likely to help you and me. The presumption underlying Section 230 is that these platforms are not publishers, but having abandoned all pretense of impartiality, they should not be entitled to immunity. Moreover, they have tremendous market power, and they are colluding in an effort to consolidate political power and protect their dominant market position.
Big Tech, and not just FB, has been flagrant in this hypocrisy. These firms have deplatformed individuals who’ve questioned the legitimacy of the presidential election, and there is plenty to question. But they refuse to censor Antifa and BLM rioters, antisemites, state terrorists, and genocidal tyrants from around the world, including the Chinese Communist Party. More recently, FB and other platforms have condemned supporters of President Trump, as if that support was equivalent to endorsing those who stormed the Capital on June 6th. And even if it were, would an objective arbiter not also condemn leftist violence? How about equal condemnation of the Antifa and BLM rioters who ravaged American cities throughout last summer? Or those who rioted at the time of Trump’s inauguration?
The social media platforms won’t do that. FB is bad, but Twitter is probably the worst of them all. I quit using Google years ago due to privacy concerns, but also because it became obvious to me that it’s search results are heavily biased. Amazon pulled the rug out from under Parler, and I will quit using Amazon when my Prime membership is up for renewal unless Jeff Bezos starts singing a different tune by then. These companies are anticompetitive, but there are other ways to buy online, and there is plenty of other video programming.
The power of Big Tech is not absolute. Remember, there are alternatives if you choose to quit or diversify: check out MeWe, Clouthub, Rumble (video hosting), Gab, Signal, and Telegram, for example (see this interesting story on the latter two). And Parler, of course, if it manages to find a new hosting service or wins some kind of emergency relief against Amazon.
Message me for my contact information or my identity on other platforms, or you can always find my ruminations at SacredCowChips.net. You can even share them on FB (if they’ll let you), at the risk of alienating your “woke” friends! So long.