I left Facebook — Not Social Media
A few months ago, I left Facebook. Although it occurred around the same time of the US presidential election.. it had nothing to do with that. This was something I had been pondering since I opened my account back in 2009.
Unfortunately, like many Americans, it became difficult to leave the longer I stayed. Plus, when I discussed my intent with friends and family, I was met with irritation, eye rolls, and argument.
Why would you want to leave Facebook???
Shouldn’t you just grow thicker skin??
Here’s the straight-up facts for all the nay-sayers.
All of 2016’s top mobile apps are owned by either Google or Facebook
Today Nielsen released their report about the most widely used mobile apps in 2016. The top 8 apps were all owned by…medium.freecodecamp.com
What does this mean for the everyday person? Well, if you understand online marketing and Big Data, it should give you a chill.
As online monopolies, Google and Facebook have a terrifying amount of control over content. What is content? Content is every single bit of information that you (yes, you) place online. All of it. The emails, the pictures, the videos, the comments, the blog posts, the audio, the description about the products you sell online…
They own all of that.
You gave it to them.
Welcome to the internet universe, where your thoughts are mindlessly handed over to corporations so they can create more robots, build more mansions, and drive more automatic cars. You feed them… and Facebook is a hungry child attached to the tit of humanity.
Excuse me if I am a little tired of it.
A Free Internet Is Slowly Slipping Away from Us
And Facebook is a huge part of the problem.
The reason I was so willing to let it go was because of their blatantly obvious disregard for my social network. Facebook began as an online community — a place for people to share information among each other. That is what I signed up for, and that is why I agreed to knowingly give them my content. My thoughts. My memories.
They then used that information for profit. They placed me under a microscope using analytics and sold my attention to the highest bidder. In exchange for technology that allows me to quickly share pictures of my children with family members, I agree to receive advertisements, based on the nature of my conversations.
Holy shit — I just agreed to be spied on.
What else is new, right?
The internet, in general, is a huge privacy insult, but Facebook is a special type of awesome.
If monitoring my content (under the guise of improving my experience) was not enough, they insert content in order to get my opinion…
There’s a word for that… it’s called focus groups.
The last time I was in one, they at least gave me a free burger for my time..
The Problem: Facebook Newsfeed
Is it, Facebook?
How do you determine what matters to me the most? Is it based on what I tell you I’d like to hear about? Is it based on what my friends are interested in? Is it based on who pays you the most money?
Regardless of how the news is chosen, Facebook wins every time we respond. For every piece of content we get served, Facebook can use our responses, whether written or in the form of an emoji response to make more money.
I like money, can I have some too….
Instead, I am pushed further into an emotional reaction with the most ridiculous headlines humanity can come up with.
Here’s some cheese… let’s call it trending stories… let’s see if the rat follows…..
Let’s add more technology so that we can hear everything they are saying… Facebook messenger, VR .. food delivery??
How much before we walk away?
As we consume more content (aka cheese), friends, families and strangers fight behind the one-way mirror… an online version of Jerry Springer where we are both the guests and the audience at the same time.
That is why I left Facebook. My content is worth much more than that.
Facebook is Not the Internet
Facebook and Google are not entirely evil, however. They have done what technology has been trying to do for the last 20 years- make it more accessible to the general population. For this, I am extremely grateful.
When I sold computers for Dell nearly twenty years ago, the Internet was not a household word. For a company that sold computers entirely online, this was a problem. I spent most of my time explaining how the internet works to people that desperately wanted to be a part of the growing technology boom.
At the same time, Facebook and Google were just simple bits of code. Now the same people I would have tried to explain the Internet to years ago, believe these two companies are the Internet.
Actual conversation with my father:
“I need you to go to a website.”
“How do I do that?”
“Okay, open the Internet.”
“What do you mean? You mean Facebook?”
“No, dad, the Internet..”
…. Confused look
“You mean my email?”
“No. Ummm… Okay, how about you open Google.”
“How do I do that.”
“Go to your internet browser.”
…. Confused look
“Ahh geez, just say OK, Google.”
In his defense, he has never owned a computer. When I went to college, I bought him a WebTV and spent 4 hours teaching him how to check his email so that we could stay in touch. Facebook has taught him how to use the internet, although it is only a small portion of what the internet has to offer.
This was exactly the plan.
As I watch him scroll between his news feed, consuming fake news and unverified sources, I am filled with sadness. I can’t protect him from Facebook, but I can protect myself.