Hello again, world!

It took me a bit, but I resolved to get out of Big Social as much as humanly possible. Insofar as I escaped Google, the Facebook network has proven a tad more difficult from which to extricate myself– family members are on it, friends put me in groups, I create groups, more people are on them and so on. Facebook does a fantastic job of basically dragging you into its community, whether you want to be there or not. But here’s what Imma do: I want to see if I can give you a few logical reasons to break free of Facebook as well as some interesting history that might change the way you see life when you log in.

1. Facebook literally makes its money off your existence. Yes, you read that correctly. Your memes and shared kitty videos are worthless to Facebook. What they want are the things you don’t really notice or care about. They want to know more than what you are buying. They want to know where you are. They want to know who your family are. They want to know all about social and demographic factors. But why? There’s a funny reason for that. See, the more they know about what you would consider your passive life, the more they can control about your active life. And it’s not as simple as subtly switching you to Wesson from the leading brand. We’re talking about political manipulation, social manipulation, giving a network the power to fool you into thinking that your loved ones are doing something so that you do it, which is then weaponized to sell your loved ones on the idea because you are. In short, Facebook doesn’t make money advertising to you. It makes money controlling you.

2. Facebook makes its money literally by being a poor repackaging of the internet for consumers. A fun fact is that GeoCities (for those who remember it) was a massive group of thousands of individual websites that collapsed through poor Yahoo! policy. The failure led users to bail on GeoCities, while many analysts realized that Yahoo! could have had a genuine and obvious competitor to the young social network. Everything you could get on Facebook before Facebook, you could do with a website, from making quick posts to putting up memes that would make it to your friends’ feeds or emails, creating and maintaining groups and even doing messaging (more on that shortly.) In short, by signing up to Facebook, users traded away the autonomy of their own message for a conformed and sterilized version of the Internet under the control of Facebook, Inc. And now, we’re almost a generation into the real internet being subsumed into the property of a few social media companies– the largest being Facebook and Google. But there’s still a choice, so I’m retaining that option!

3. Deplatforming is real. One of the biggest differences between having your own online presence and having someone else own your online presence is accountability. For the most part, on blogging platforms, unless you are a full-on Nazi chances are that you will not be bothered, and even if you are, you can usually easily make a copy of your data for migration if you’re that much of a headache to a webserver. But on social, it’s not the case. Because of “swarming” (where likeminded boneheads will work in unison to get someone removed from the social media platform, often without cause) innocent people can literally have years of their online presence eradicated. (I guess I was lucky an online troll literally caused my deplatforming in 2000; it made me keenly aware of how easily companies will throw users under the bus.) People I know, gentle souls who I couldn’t imagine stomping on a cockroach, booted off Facebook for getting on a swarm’s bad side. And this isn’t a “left” or “right” wing thing. Tick off the wrong snowflakes and your days are numbered. Get on a Social Network’s bad side and your online presence can be wiped off the map.

4. Facebook causes depression. Studies now show that depression and social media use, particularly Facebook, are linked. Isn’t that the most ironic part? You go on social media thinking that you are doing it to “stay in touch” and it leads to greater feelings of isolation and alienation than if you had skipped it altogether!

5. You don’t need Messenger or Whatsapp, which are literally being used for reason #1, when there are better options. One of the funniest things about Google’s — and now Facebook’s– Messenger app was that it was based on a public messaging system known as XMPP. There are hundreds of XMPP servers all over the world and literally dozens of messaging apps based on XMPP for all operating systems and phone types. Anyone can start a XMPP account (or even host their own server for privacy.) The messaging works exactly the same way. All Facebook did was change the protocol and make it private to force you to use it “because everyone else is on”. Think it through. They made virtually public technology that millions were already using (even AOL chat, if I recall correctly, was XMPP-based at one point) into a private technology that users were then convinced they needed from Facebook. Remember Matthew Lesko, the guy who sold books about millions in free government money? Guess where he got that information? Yep– public resources. He made millions off stuff that was available for free. Facebook is doing that right now with XMPP tech that they literally added video chat to (there’s lots of ways to video chat, I know you’re smarter than that.)

So for those reasons, I’m not only leaving Facebook regularly (I won’t be feeding them my data anymore, but will use my groups to feed back into my websites) but I invite you to do the same. Start a blog here on WordPress. Go to NeoCities and bring back your old fashioned website. Reach out to me on Messenger and I’ll give you my XMPP handle so you can chat with me when you need to (I have a great messenger on my phone– also, my phone has a phone number too for even better voice chat). Goodbye, cruel Facebook… and hello again, world!