Facebook #

Quitting Facebook #

This is a post I wrote in 2018 when I deleted my Facebook account.

Dear friends and family.

I’m not active on Facebook anymore. If you’d like to get in touch, please use WhatsApp or Telegram or Signal (preferred). I’m also keeping my personal website clintonboys.com updated if what I’m doing interests you.

It’s important to me to remain connected to you (not all my Friends list are seeing this message), so please do stay in touch, and I’ll do my best as well.

I used Facebook for ten years and four months. I remember when I first joined the platform; it was still pretty small, almost none of my friends were there, and the UI was hideous. I used it all throughout University, sharing photos and posts with my friends, checking in where I was, liking all sorts of celebrities and breakfast cereals, and reading what everyone else was up to.

It was around 2010 when people started talking about “the Facebook algorithm”, as if it were some sentient creature, and it began to possess a real power over what we saw and interacted with every day. I no longer like the direction this algorithm is going in or its effects on society and on myself.

Today that algorithm has evolved into something truly dangerous, entirely unregulated, that is having a measurable and proven negative effect on the ability of society to conduct discourse and argument in a meaningful way. I don’t know how much of the current state of the world can be blamed on Facebook, but I am certain its echo chambers and inability to separate fact from opinion is part of the problem. I don’t want to be part of that anymore.

There are lots of great things about Facebook which I will miss, in particular the small niche groups which have replaced web forums as a real meeting place for people with questions looking for answers or for people going through the same experience as them. And I’m sure I’ll miss the presence in my life of some people who will not be prepared to keep in touch through other platforms.

I love the internet and believe it has real power to create social change for the better. And I think social networks and platforms are not going away, and they need to be part of the internet and of a modern technological society. But I don’t need all the photos of me as a drunk 20-year-old to be part of that, and I don’t need to expose an extremely precise profile of my personality to advertisers to make that happen.