I’m done with the self masturbatory of social media, with the likes of Facebook, the loves of Instagram and the rest of that ilk. It’s a massive distraction of FOMO1, popularity contests and ego stroking. These platforms actively encourage such behaviour in order to keep users within their sites and apps for longer to increase advertising revenues and extract more data out of each individual.
Your data is a gold mine and these platforms are the surveyors.
I deleted my Facebook account today2. I’ve been here before, back in 2013 shortly after Edward Snowden leaked that trove of NSA documents. However, over time I was contacted by several friends asking me to get back on. Saying I was wearing a tinfoil hat and far too paranoid for my own good. With a little resentment I signed back up. I never really engaged on the platform after that. Never added anything of much interest and would only log on via a separate browser. I found Facebook of little interest as a platform and figured if I’m not feeding any data into the system, then there was little harm in keeping an account.
During the ensuing years though, my resentment grew towards these types of platforms. I started to find them insidious, invasive and hostile towards my right to privacy. The quality of the communities diminished greatly, now it’s more about pushing thinly veiled advertisements through “influencers” and getting the most likes.
Fast forward to March 2018 and the Cambridge Analytica debacle. For me this was the straw that broke the camels back, I’ve simply had enough of this shit. I posted to my Facebook timeline that I was deleting my account within 24 hours, then ran a script that went back through my timeline and deleted all my posts. Once that was complete I went to this rather well hidden help page and hit “Delete”.
I received one email — compared to 2013 when I received many more — asking me to keep the account just for communication purposes. Which is OK in theory but then I’m still supporting a platform that I despise, a platform that is a surveillance tool. One that is hostile towards it’s users privacy and rights. While I can control what I post — or not — to Facebook, I cannot control what others post of me and my family. I want to raise my girls with knowledge of what the privacy implications are of using these tools. How the data they provide to these private companies can and will be used against them. What they choose to do with that knowledge from there is up to them, that’s the beauty of freewill.
It’s not that I’m leaving to lurk in the shadows, I have a very public website where I publish my thoughts, photography and design (you’re looking at it). All of this information will be ingested, disseminated and archived by various machines. Chances are it will long outlive me.
No, this is more or less my little way of saying “fuck it, I’m not playing anymore” and taking a staunch stance on what platforms and systems I choose to use in the future.