Friday, 11 May 2018

Going dark on Facebook

Since the blow-up over Cambridge Analytica, I have been thinking about Facebook, and what it is for. For me, it used to once be a way to connect with friends and family. 

However, of late, FB is not doing well in that regard. The way the FB algorithms work, I am no longer seeing posts from close friends and family. To find out what my friends are doing, I have to deliberately go in through a 'friends' shortcut I have bookmarked ([your_name]/friends), then go into their posts. When I do go in and look to see what friends and family are up to, I am having to constantly "Hide" plaguey advertising because it is "Not relevant to me". 

Now that I know how companies like Cambridge Analytica are harvesting my data, I now won't sign up for anything using my FB logon, nor will I do any more of the quizzes or click-throughs. I used to enjoy those, but don't now, because there is something sinister slithering underneath. It is harvesting all my clicks, likes and comments for marketers to use, without my permission. Even, a lot of the time, explicitly without my express permission. "No means No" holds no water with FB.

It is acquaintances' posts which fill my FB feed, even when I have - in theory - 'silenced' them for 30 days, unfollowed them, and blocked them, ad infinitum. I am growing steadily more irritated with a continual barrage of FB updates, even though I have turned all reminders off.  The feed order is always by "most commented" and not by timeline on my phone, so is effectively worse than useless. 

Worse, the poor quality / falseness / skewedness of posts is making me despondent. I have so many questions! Why can't FBers actually fact check? Why did I have to find out that someone I like is actually a bigot? Why did I have to see a disturbingly low level of critical thinking from a colleague? Why did I have to keep answering an acquaintance's posts about their inability to accept reality? Why? Why? Why? 

Then I got to the good question: "why?" moment. The "Why am I even bothering?" moment. The shine has gone. I have fallen out of love with FB. It is time to say goodbye. 

At this stage, I am doing a soft close, and am simply 'going dark'. I will keep using FB's network for things that benefit me: blog updates and messenger. But I won't use anything else, and will quietly disentangle myself from any old FB logins, and do a background data purge.

We will see how that goes for a while. If I hear that messenger is compromised as well, I will consider only using WhatsApp. 

So goodbye ...for now.


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