Goodbye Facebook and 🦆 you

Simon Gadbois, ethologist
3 min readOct 10, 2021

October 2021… 5000 followers (the max), and I am weaning from Facebook. This was not a good first week of October for Facebook. A major outage, and a major outrage (the whistleblower damage that should be more significant than it has been)… but… yeah… we are “addicted” and “ we can’t leave all those ‘friends’ behind, can we”?
Really? Why not?
I believe in baby steps, realistic steps.

Not so random duck (my friend Goose) to give some je ne sais quack to my first post. Goose’s sister, Jamie, thinks she is a cry-baby. That is an other story in itself. For an other day.
  1. Let the outrage sink in… Yes, hardly surprising, but their own data told them that they were contributing to deteriorating mental health, and possibly suicide, in teenage girls. And yet… the money was more important to them than the lives of the people that they call their “customers”. They let the algorithms doing their nasty work, and kept targeting young women like my daughter with posts about diet, exercise, etc. They knew they were hurting many. And yet, they continued to do it. LET THAT SINK IN.
  2. They collect info on you all the time. They are expert at it, and their own mobile apps (for phones and tablets) are the main channels for them to collect your private information that they can sell to advertisers, starting with your likes, where you go, who you follow, etc. My first step was to delete the Facebook app, the Instagram app, Messenger, and WhatsApp form my phone and tablet. And that did something amazing…
  3. Our phones are our decompression valves for boredom, needy social FOMO, not to mention conduits for our latent, sub-clinical (if lucky) obsessive-compulsive tendencies. The outage taught many that they either 1) panicked, or 2) felt relieved and free. Or both… in that order. First I got worried… “was it because of that post about the whistleblower I did in the morning, was FB angry at me? Am I for the first time ever in some radical FB jail without warning?” then when I realized it was a world-wide outage I relaxed, enjoyed the day and some Twitter, and then I wondered… why am I doing this? I felt relief, I felt less compelled to reach for my phone to look for something (and I generally did not know what anyway), I was more focussed on the tasks at hand, less distracted by my phone, and, well, more at peace.

So what to do then?… I am not going to abandon social network apps or sites. I will find ethical ones.

  1. Messaging (replacing Messenger and WhatsApp): For me, being on an Apple device, there is always Messages, and FaceTime is now multiplatform. But there is also Telegram (excellent), Signal (also very good), Wire, Viber, Confide, all of which have a focus on privacy and therefore most likely surpass the “big ones” safety-wise.
  2. Social networks: When looking for alternatives, I was shocked by how many were out there. It is insane. The problem, except for a handful (LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter), they are all minor players at this point, e.g., MeWe, Ello, Tumblr, or push a very different model (Diaspora, Mastodon, Discord).

I will enjoy the search for better outlets of my ideas, likes, texts, rants, pics, etc. It won’t be hard. I have been thinking about it for years, but was just staying where the crowd was, where the momentum was, and… there is always something simple about the status quo. But simple is not always the right thing to do. So duck you Facebook. I know you don’t need me. And I have discovered I don’t need you. But you need US. And hopefully more of us will leave you until you wake-up.

so for now:

Here… and also

Twitter: @SimonGadbois / @DalCanines

Not active much yet but could change: