I have been a Facebook user for 15 years but that came to an end today. My relationship with Facebook started the year I went to college, back when you had to actually be in College and at an approved school to join the platform. Back then it was just a lot of college students sharing really stupid stuff with each other. It was fun, mindless, and entertaining. Fast forward 15 years and my relationship with Facebook has become toxic. It is no longer any fun, it routinely causes me to get angry, and overall makes me more depressed after looking at my account.
Once Facebook became open to all, and the billions of users flooded in, it quickly became a way to flame and troll each other electronically. People realized that they could hide behind their computer and never face the people they were writing to and it became a complete cesspool. They began spewing all of their pent up anger, hate, bias, conspiracy theories, lies, and more without a second thought about how wrong they were or who they might hurt. Today, for me at least, that is no longer a part of my life.
I deleted my Facebook account.
I realized that I was less happy each time I looked at my news feed. I was tired of being caught in the political echo chamber that the platform has become. I was tired of the constant negative posts by the pages and people I was connected to. I was tired of the constant distraction that it caused throughout each day.
As I began to think about it, it sounded like I was describing an abusive relationship and not a social media platform. Once that sank in I seriously began to question why I still had an account. Then I started looking at news stories like these:
- Retired Jacksonville-area Navy captain apologizes after racial slurs aired on Facebook
- Facebook Becomes Key Place For Extremist Boogaloo Movement Organizers
- The Suffers Frontwoman Kam Franklin Calls Out Racist Facebook Posts From Houston Restaurant Owners
- Harris County GOP chair-elect resigns after sharing racist Facebook post juxtaposing an MLK quote with a banana
- Facebook reportedly ignored its own research showing algorithms divided users
- Police: Woman incited riot on Facebook Live, urged people to loot and throw bricks
The final straw was when I read an article on Business Insider titled “There has never been a better time to quit Facebook.” It’s not a long read, but it gets straight to the same point I had come to on my own: Facebook has become a platform that amplifies the voices of the uniformed and malicious. Facebook knows that if they begin to alienate these people it will eventually affect their bottom line. Fewer users equals less revenue, and less revenue means unhappy investors. It became obvious that I had no need for a service that only served to induce stress and anxiety.
So I downloaded my content, told my family to find me elsewhere, and deleted my account.
Will the deletion of my account make any difference to Facebook or their bottom line? No. I was just another number to them, a jumble of data stored formatted as JSON on a server somewhere. Do I care if anyone else deletes their account from the platform? No. If you like Facebook then keep using it. I don’t expect you to follow my lead if that is the case.
But maybe, just maybe, after reading this post you realize that Facebook or some other social media platform makes you feel the same way I did. If that is the case then I encourage you to examine the reasons why you keep going back to something that makes you so unhappy. If there is no compelling reason, maybe it is time to break up with it like I did with Facebook.