Why I stopped using Facebook

It’s not about the negative effects of it…

I am among those who find benefits from being on Facebook. It’s a healthy relationship to end, because Facebook is a hassle to use as a platform, service, and software app. Two reasons after each other.

Reason #1: the messaging system creates more problems than it solves

Many acquaintances contacted me once in a while via the inbox. Usually it’s about asking a little help, asking for someone’s contact details, etc. The messages were usually short that didn’t require too many back and forth. I asked some people to write me an email instead, when they sent me a very long message (so I can set as unread and read when I have a more focused time).

Until the day Facebook decided to remove inbox access from its mobile app, and launched a separate app instead. I don’t own a high-end phone with fancy accessories, so having another app was impossible for my phone memory. Since I spent more time on posting and responding to other people’s posts, installing another app just for accessing inbox is such a burden.

Easily, I uninstalled the main app and switched to using the web browser on my phone. Only then I had to warn people to contact me directly on my phone number (phone, text, or WhatsApp) for immediate responses, because many people got into the behavior of using the messenger app like a chat app. That single “hi” sent to me had to wait for half a day until I opened my browser again.

But recently, Facebook removed inbox access from its mobile web version! I was forced to install the messenger app again. No way. Since I removed the main app, I have been able to install other useful apps. I had to warn everyone again, that this time I would probably answer them in days, since it didn’t come so often that I checked Facebook on my laptop.

Inconveniently, I still used Facebook. I still enjoyed posting and responding. Some contacts suggested me to use Metal app to get the functionality of the good old Facebook app.

Reason #2: the security system changed for the better and then worse

Probably you have been locked out of Facebook because of typing your password incorrectly 3 times? And when you got it correct the 4th time, you were asked to identify pictures of your friends. Those were the dark days!

Those pictures were mostly irrelevant. Some of my Facebook contacts were online acquaintances whom I met in groups, so I hardly know how they looked offline. They were not selfie junkie, so their pictures were mostly their babies, cats, dogs, big family, big office gathering, etc. How could I identify them through those randomly picked pictures?

Because I am highly mobile especially in the past two years, Facebook security algorithm got suspicious of me. I only used the browser not the app, so Facebook could not detect whether the login request was coming from the same phone. I had to solve this stupid picture puzzle every time I moved cities/countries!

What’s better? Recently Facebook changed the security riddle. Instead of asking me to identify pictures of my contacts, I was asked to identify 4 comments I made in the past few weeks. See why it’s much easier? Because I had to identify my own comments. This way, a scammer cannot solve it just because he/she is simply not me. Brilliant!

The worse part came during my very mobile days. I got logged out of Facebook several times and when I tried to log back in I was forced to change my password. And I could not used a password I had used before. This happened so often that I ran out of words combination from my usual passwords. Creating a special password means I would forget it anyway.

I wonder why Facebook didn’t utilize my phone number. With Google and some other online services, the system simply sent an SMS code to my phone number to solve the login problem. I wonder why?

Ending a healthy relationship

Since I used the mobile web access and logged in and out at every access of Facebook, I felt the positive effect. Facebook was no longer my impulsive time killer. I opened Facebook only in want-to-read-quietly situations such as in a long queue, in an intercity bus/train ride, or while having breakfast. It felt like the good old time (where my father was) reading newspaper with coffee/tea!

A few years ago I decided to only connect with people who share this principle of mine “promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate”, which then I also applied to Facebook connections. That way, I could enjoy reading different opinions without seeing people provoking each other mindlessly. Pro-LGBTQ or not, pro-choice or not, liberal or conservative, religious or not, etc. Nerds FTW (it’s also why I love Quora)!

People’s been saying the following negative effects of Facebook:

  1. A place to ruin your self esteem by seeing other people’s beautiful lives
  2. A place to get addicted to scrolling newsfeed mindlessly due to very frequent access
  3. A place for drama and slander due to people wanting a viral post by trying to trigger strong reactions
  4. A place to have a limited worldview (filter bubble) because your contacts like the same thing / support the same opinion as you

Those didn’t apply to me. I appreciated people sharing about babies, cats, graduations, engagements, any events out of happiness (not out of the need to impress). I didn’t access Facebook mindlessly thanks to mobile browser access. I didn’t let myself be connected to provocative people. I connected to anyone with any point of views who were content with their views (proselytizing means doubt).

So, I was a healthy Facebook user. I have helped — cough — achieved Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of having this world more connected, by connecting with strangers as long as I could assure the connection energizes each other. Yet Facebook removed the supports I have used to meet my basic necessity of connecting and sharing each other’s thoughts as humanely and conveniently as possible.

What could have been better?

  1. If only Facebook allows messaging to be automatically turned off for people who don’t have messenger installed. This way, expectations are set to my contacts.
  2. Even better, we can turn it off voluntarily. No messaging for me, suggesting my contacts to reach me at the given email address / mobile number instead.
  3. Fix that security algorithm, otherwise I’m forced to delete my account again and start a new one with my favorite password (tongue in cheek).

Dear Facebook, it’s goodbye until you fulfill my request #1 and #3 above. Turning on messaging function on mobile web version is probably easier than doing any of #1 #2 above, I suppose?

Dear awesome ex-contacts of mine, until we meet offline!