[This is a guest post.]
Join me in pausing my Facebook activity for 99 Days.
It’s time for us to break up. Just in case you need some proper closure, let us make it clear that it’s not us, it’s very much you that’s the problem. You have been for a long time, but you’ve finally pushed us all too far, so it’s goodbye.
If only it was this easy to escape the clutches of Facebook, but it’s not. The resignation letters would surely rank amongst the best complaints of all time, but alas, deleting a Facebook profile is a convoluted and tiresome process. At every turn, we’re drawn back in, whether by our own pathological Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO, as the cool kids call it) or the complex web of downright deceptive digital pathways that make it impossible to find the big red ‘DELETE’ button.
I get it Facebook; you don’t want us to go, because you like us, you really like us, but it’s not reciprocated anymore. We’ve all struggled through the endless Farmville game invites spookily targeted adverts and overcome our disappointment that we can’t personalize our pages to the same degree as social media sites of the past (hello MySpace, we miss you!), but enough is enough. You’ve outlived your fun, your usefulness has dwindled and frankly, we’re all starting to worry that you’ve become too self-aware. You’re the Skynet of the real world and we aren’t sitting around and waiting for Judgment Day when we can just pull the proverbial plug now.
Why we should all be jumping ship
Facebook has enjoyed a good run, by neatly bridging the gap between purely social connections and business networking but at some point, it lost its way and started co praying to the wrong god: shareholders and investors. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that profit will always come first, everybody does, but when responsible data collection goes out of the window, we should all be walking out of the door.
The recent scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica has brought to light the frighteningly all-encompassing relationship that it has been enjoying with Facebook. If you don’t know the ins and outs, let me break it down into very simple terms.
Whatever Facebook knows about you, so too does Cambridge Analytica and every other data farming operation that Facebook works with. They also know everything about everyone on your friends list and use this information to direct marketing strategies to you all in such a way as to maximize their efficiency. Still not seeing why this is so scary?
Companies like Cambridge Analytica have demonstrated themselves to be particularly non-discerning in terms of their clients and practices. This means the consequences of manipulative content distribution includes uninformed people making globally impactful decisions. Cambridge Analytica, as a prime example, has intrinsically connected both the catastrophic US presidential election result and the UK Brexit vote to Facebook marketing directives carried out by its team. You’re welcome!
You thought you were just staying in touch with your university pal that’s now moved to Peru and Auntie Jean up in Scotland, but no. You were making political decisions that generations will be paying for, for decades. Oh, and Facebook has just been exposed as having been logging all calls and texts made and received my mobile app users. It never ends, but it does seem to be getting worse with every breaking news report.
Hit the delete button and don’t look back
Well, of course, you can’t! If it was easy to leave, we all would, leaving Mark and his chums scrabbling to keep enough users in place to satisfy all the data harvesting companies that pay a fortune for useful tidbits. Thankfully, the #DeleteFacebook movement has made it easier than ever to find out how to erase all of your data, but be prepared to be waiting a while.
Even when you’ve completed the arduous task of finding the delete button, through the help menu search bar, Facebook takes a leisurely 90 days to fully remove all of your data from its servers, just long enough to punt it out to a few more unscrupulous companies. Just be sure that you have actually hit ‘delete’ and not the deceptive ‘disable’ option, which simply puts your profile on ice, until you next log in.
Abandoning Facebook might seem like a gargantuan step towards social exclusion, but come on people; it’s time to stop drinking the Kool-Aid. Oh god. Maybe Mark Zuckerberg owns them too; so as to add psychotropic compounds that make us all more pliable and less able to navigate the privacy settings on our accounts! No, that would be silly, wouldn’t it…?
Chad Harwood-Jones is managing director of WooContent, a copywriting agency that implements content strategies to bring commercial results through cleverly crafted words and SEO.
Other resources of interest on this topic:
- Stop Saying ‘If You’re Not Paying, You’re The Product’ – Techdirt
- If Something is Free, You Are the Product – reddit
- NEWS THREAD: #DeleteFacebook: Privacy Issues May Harm Facebook – Uber.la
+++ From the editors +++
I write a lot about how much I hate Facebook and their invasive efforts to monetize our lives. I cannot delete Facebook myself because I am part of the evil empire of Facebook marketers. I don’t advertise or retarget, I simply provide quality content in the Facebook stream on-the-behalf of a number of clients. I can stop my personal sharing on Facebook, but I have to come to the platform 20 times during the course of a business day.
Facebook is not a social network it is a consumer CRM. It is a sales and marketing platform that is gathering all of your data to sell to other vendors and advertisers. Facebook only cares about Facebook. Unknown author said, “If something is free, you are the product.”]
Here are some tools you can use to limit your exposure with and within Facebook’s walled garden.
Google Chrome Extensions
- AdNaseum – ad tracking and blocking extension
- AdBlockPlus – the old badass of adblocking
- Data Selfie – see into the data Facebook and others know about your behavior online
- Privacy Badger – Electronic Freedom Foundations cookie tracker and limiter
- Ghostery – privacy tracking and ad blocking
Reset your Default Search Engine to: Duck Duck Go – does not track users data or create a profile about you
What do you use to control your online marketing profile?
Take Care Out There,