My complicated relationship with Facebook
Not long after Facebook went wild (that is, opened up to non-university email ID holders) I joined. Early on, it was fun, exciting, and I mostly followed true friends and co workers.
It became all consuming, and in 2009, I took a 9 month pause. I didn’t access it, think about it, and it was a peaceful time (it was also a very chaotic time at work, so that helped ease the separation anxiety.)
Alas, that came to an end, and I jumped back in. Peer pressure mostly. And I remained on it pretty constantly, while a little voice in the back of my mind kept whispering to me that Facebook was bad.
All the while there were little scandals, data breaches, and plenty of hinky behaviors.
Then in spring 2018, the Cambridge Analytica fiasco came to light. I had my hand poised over the delete button for that, but I hesitated. Then in June of that year out came the amazing access to data that Facebook granted the makers of handsets - ostensibly to encourage them to ever tighter integrations with Facebook.
That for me was the last straw. I deleted my account, all the data (no, I am not naïve enough to believe that FB actually deleted all my content) and went on my merry way.
This lasted for almost 2 years. After a few weeks I forgot all about Facebook, and never looked back. Occasionally my friends would ask my why I left, and I would answer.
At the beginning of 2020, I get into remote control cars big time. Alas, in the way back, I would hang out with like minded people on forums and we would bench race, and bullshit. But Facebook has pretty much killed that ecosystem, and if you want to find a community, you must be on Facebook.
Reluctantly, I created a new account. I connected with a few of my favorite ad friends (I never got about 50 connections) and I took part in the communities.
But honestly, it SUCKED . The communities were full of spam, there were trolls, and general nobbish behavior all around. It wasn’t fun. At all.
So I began to back away. At the start of 2021 I just logged out, being that if my muscle memory types Facebook into the address bar, it would go to the log in page (where Facebook would most helpfully (NOT) offer to enable logging in by just clicking on your profile pic.
After three months, I decided to give it one more shot. Logged back in, and browsed around. Meh.
It still sucked.
Then all the drama around The Former Guy, and the oversight board’s ruling that Facebook needs to have rules on how to handle world leaders fucking stirring insurrections, and to have the testicular fortitude to just fucking ban the ferret-wearing, cheeto colored, shit-gibbon outright. And then earlier this week, Zuckerberg again punted on what should be the easiest decision in the world, to permanently ban the fucker, but instead said that he would be banned at least until 2023.
Did you feel that? It was the gravitational wave created by the rolling of my eyes.
Today, I logged in to Facebook for the last time, and began the process to delete my account, again. This time, it will be permanently. My recent breaks have shown that it is neither compelling nor essential to my life, and in fact my mental health without Facebook is much improved.
Of course, over the next 30 days, I will probably get 15 messages from Facebook about all the friends who will miss me, how I can come back and pick up precisely where I left off.
But I won’t be back.
This is forever.
Note: I know that rolling eyes doesn't create gravitational waves.