Dear Facebook Friends: I am Deleting my Facebook account
I have been contemplating closing my Facebook account for years, and recent events have pushed me to act on this now. I will detail below my reasons for doing so below, and also confess to what I will miss when I no longer have a Facebook account.
But before I do, for my Friends & Family that would like to keep up with what's going on in my world (and I hope most of you do) you have a couple of options:
- Follow me on Twitter. I can be found there as @lissismore. It is an easy way to keep up with things that interest me, or are happening with me.
- If you follow me on Twitter I will get a notification and I can follow you back. And then we will be "connected" again.
- Check out my personal website from time to time. If you are reading this post you are on my website. It is mostly a blog, so it serves a similar purpose as the Facebook feed for me (although, with far less people reading it).
- Links to all the posts on my website are also posted on my Twitter feed. So, again, Twitter is the easiest way to be alerted to some activity on my part.
- Email works for me. Most of you probably have my email address. If you don't, just ask me. I don't usually respond in real time on email, but I always read it.
- Call me. If something important is happening feel free to use the phone.
Why am I leaving Facebook?
Put simply, the "utility" of Facebook is not great enough to bear the "cost" of giving the company all of my personal data it insatiably consumes. The revelations around the Cambridge Analytics activity made it clear to me that the tradeoff is even more one-sided and alarming then I had previously believed.
I have not been naive about Facebook up to this point. I have actually been a Facebook advertiser for years so I know very well the detailed slicing & dicing which the company offers advertisers. If you have not placed an ad on Facebook then you may not be aware of the demographic data the company puts at advertiser's disposal. It was unsettling for me the first few times I placed ads. But, hey, I knew the bargain from the beginning so this alone did not drive me from Facebook.
The Cambridge Analytics story is different in a fundamental and alarming way. What the Cambridge Analytics revelations showed me was that Facebook freely allows third parties to have all this personal data for their own purposes. This data was not stolen, like the Equifax data hack. No, it was acquired through normal business terms that Facebook has been using for years.
This willingness of Facebook to allow my personal data to be moved from their control to third party control crosses a line for me and has led me to sever my relationship with Facebook. As scary as it is to know that Facebook has all this detailed personal information, it is scarier to understand that once this data leaves Facebook the company has absolutely no control over what happens to it. None. Na Da. Zilch. I can not willingly participate in this arrangement any longer.
Please know that I am not a puritan when it comes to companies offering me online services for free in exchange for the right to sell me as an advertising target. The trade-off works for me if the utility of the service is of a high enough value. Google, for instance, has a high utility for me. I need to search the Web, and if I didn't use Google I would use some other search service (like DuckDuckGo). And I need an email service - of which Gmail is by far the best out there. And I need an online Calendar. So I the trade-off works for me (mostly) and as soon as it doesn't I will move away from Google.
Facebook, on the other hand, offers very little utility for me. I rarely post anything. Seeing the updates from my friends and family are certainly nice to come across, but I don't "need" to see every update on Facebook the way the I need email, or web search. Facebook is a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have.
So we will part ways.
What will I miss from Facebook?
I will miss seeing the updates from the many connections I have on Facebook. If you are reading this then you are one of the people I will miss. I freely admit that I am terrible at keeping up with people who I have known throughout my life. But, thanks to Facebook, I am connected to people I went to high school and college with, people I worked with a long time ago and in a land far away, and with family memberswho are outside my immediate family circle but who I am grateful to be able to keep up with.
I will be much more out of the loop on life events, both important and superficial, of the myriad of connected friends and family on Facebook. This will be hard - I admit it.
I will leave my account up for a while longer.
I want to make sure that all the people I am connected with have a chance to see this post, so I leave my account open for a bit before deleting it. Feel free to comment, or message me, or follow me on Twitter to discuss any of the details on this action I am taking.