How To Ditch Facebook: A Guide | Part 1: Hit Them In The Wallet

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In my essay It’s Time To Abandon Facebook I listed over half a dozen reasons why I think people should start moving away from the social network. I also acknowledged that doing so wouldn’t be easy and would have to happen gradually. After all, many people (including myself) have whole friend networks on Facebook, use it as the primary way to connect and keep in touch with folks we love, and sometimes feel like we need it in order to find other people like ourselves. Abandoning those connections is hard.

But given that it’s more than clear that Facebook’s executives don’t care about fixing the network’s many problems as long as those problems don’t interfere with the revenue stream, it’s up to users to take action.

That action doesn’t have to be Delete Your Account — not at first.

In this post, and in subsequent posts in this series, I will detail how users can start the gradual process of abandoning Facebook and maybe even feel empowered to pressure the network to make change for the better.

Step 1: Stop Giving Facebook Money

Start By Blocking Ads

If you still see ads on the sidebar after installing and refreshing, you may want to get a specific adblocker for Facebook (search that term in the repositories linked above). This is also a good alternative if you don’t want to block ads all over the Internet, just on Facebook.

To get rid of sponsored posts in your feed, try using a Facebook customizer like FB Purity or Social Fixer. Both of those extensions have a variety of settings, one of which hides sponsored posts from your feed.

Disrupt Their Tracking

Currently, the folks at Mozilla (who make Firefox) are the only browser makers that have taken a concrete step toward addressing this problem. EDIT: Several people pointed out that the Brave browser says it will block ads and tracking from jump. If you don’t use Firefox or Brave, there are other things you can do to stop or limit tracking on computers and mobile devices.

Delete the Facebook App (and Messenger, Too)

Even better, you can still access your Facebook messages via mbasic.facebook.com. No more of the site telling you that you have to download Messenger. You only get the basic functionality — sending messages — but for many, that’s what they want. And again, you avoid the ads Facebook keeps pushing into Messenger and the other related chat apps.

Stop Buying Virtual Game Currency

Consider playing that game through the developer’s website, or only on your phone, or downloading it, if any of those options are available.

But isn’t blocking ads wrong and evil? Doesn’t it make you The Worst?

Not looking at ads does impact the advertisers, yes, and not just the huge ones like Ford or Starbucks. Smaller businesses and indie creatives and entrepreneurs also advertise there. I’m sorry they will be impacted, but that is part of the point. If Facebook cannot put ads in front of a ton of users and the metrics show that, advertisers will have to make different choices about where they spend their ad dollars.

And those smaller businesses and individuals who are impacted by this kind of thing? Are in this position because Facebook makes organic reach really, really hard. That’s one of the reasons the company is a huge problem. They create the need to buy advertising by suppressing organic reach and punishing those who use third-party apps to post (despite the fact that both Facebook and said apps keep trying to convince people this isn’t true).

The way to change all this? Hit them in the wallet.

K. Tempest Bradford is a tech journalist, podcaster, media critic, and professional harsher of squee. If you appreciate these tips, drop a coin or two in the Tip Jar!

Anti-Social

A How To Guide for making Social Media platforms work…

K. Tempest Bradford

Written by

Spec Fic author, media critic, tech journalist. Host of ORIGINality, creator of the Tempest Challenge.

Anti-Social

A How To Guide for making Social Media platforms work better for you (or abandoning them once they’ve gone too far).

K. Tempest Bradford

Written by

Spec Fic author, media critic, tech journalist. Host of ORIGINality, creator of the Tempest Challenge.

Anti-Social

A How To Guide for making Social Media platforms work better for you (or abandoning them once they’ve gone too far).

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