Facebook has received a lot of criticism as of late. Much of the backlash that has led to the #DeleteFacebook trend came from the 2016 election and the fact that many Russian trolls bought ads to try and sway public opinion and divide America. Facebook has faced regulatory scrutiny because of the ease of access these Russians had to buy ads on the platform.
Combine this with the Cambridge Analytica scandal as well as the data breach that affected 50 million users, and you can see why many people are growing tired of the platform and would want to dump it.
However, when push comes to shove, I don’t think many people are really willing to give up Facebook for these reasons alone. One of the biggest reasons that people often hold on to Facebook is that it connects us with friends and family that we may not see very often. It appears that they’re willing to stick with Mark Zuckerberg through any challenges that come up.
However, there are many more reasons why you should #DeleteFacebook, a few of which I have compiled here.
1. Facebook Manipulates You For Profit
There’s no easy way to say this. Most of us are addicted to Facebook/social media. And that’s by design. As HumaneTech.com explains it:
“Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google have produced amazing products that have benefited the world enormously. But these companies are also caught in a zero-sum race for our finite attention, which they need to make money. Constantly forced to outperform their competitors, they must use increasingly persuasive techniques to keep us glued. They point AI-driven news feeds, content, and notifications at our minds, continually learning how to hook us more deeply—from our own behavior.”
Facebook knows and understands how the human brain works. They give us little hits of dopamine every time someone likes one of our posts or makes a comment on one. Every time we see that little notification button, we get a little hit. Eventually, we need more and more to give us the same kind of high. We become addicted, and in many cases, can become depressed or anxious. Facebook wants to keep us coming back, so they learn what will keep us engaged.
By learning our behavior, Facebook has the ability to predict what you will do before you do it. Essentially, they know you better than you know yourself. And they use that knowledge to place ads and content in front of you that will make them money.
Additionally, if you recall a few years ago, Facebook was caught manipulating user’s emotions for “science” without their consent.
2. Facebook Tracks You Across The Web
Think that Facebook only knows about you what you share on their platform? Think again.
Facebook tracks what sites you go to and what kind of content you consume across the web. That information then gets tied back to your user profile so they can target you with ads they’re certain you’ll click on.
Facebook even tracks people who don’t even have an account. Do you remember when you first signed up for Facebook, and they asked you if you wanted to upload your contacts and invite your friends to join?
By sending those people an email, Facebook gets their name and email and can use that to track those people across the web as well, even with out personally identifying information.
One of the only ways to stop this kind of tracking is by installing a Facebook-blocking browser extension such as DuckDuckGo’s.
3. Facebook Might Be Listening To Your Conversations
Have you ever had a conversation with someone in person about taking a trip or looking for a particular product to buy and the see an ad for that exact thing on Facebook?
Facebook has repeatedly denied listening to your conversations, but many people are not buying it. You’ve probably had experience with seeing an ad on Facebook or Instagram (Facebook owns Instagram) after a private conversation, but if you need more evidence, see here, here, here, and here.
If true, this is a massive invasion of privacy. Who knows what information Facebook keeps (and for how long) and what information they delete?
Maybe we should try an experiment where you mention random things in conversations and then see if those ads show up on Facebook. Then delete the app(s) off your phone and do the same thing to see if ads show up.
We may never know if this is true or not, but just to be safe, it’s a good idea to #DeleteFacebook.
4. The NSA Uses Facebook To Spy On You
In 2013, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed documents that the NSA had been routinely spying on American citizens in order to see if they had any suspicious contacts. How did they do this? Social media was one avenue.
In 2015, the NSA was ordered to stop bulk collection of information on American phone calls. However, under a 2008 law, the NSA was still allowed to collect data from popular websites such as Facebook and Google. This means that whatever you post on Facebook, it’s a safe bet that the NSA and the government know about it.
Your pictures, your videos, your interests, your political beliefs, your religious affiliation. The government can compile it all.
Facebook is essentially a surveillance tool of the government. Ever read 1984? Orwell was right, just off by a few years.
Not only is this deceptive and unethical, it’s a violation of the right to privacy.
To be fair to Facebook, they can’t really help this. The government “requests a FISA warrant” and Facebook has to comply.
So that leaves only one option if you don’t want the government watching you over your shoulder. #DeleteFacebook.
There are deep ethical problems with Facebook. When the platform started, it appeared to be an innovative way to connect with friends and family online. Indeed, it offered a way for many to connect with people with whom they had lost touch.
Today, however, Facebook has become an unholy combination of surveillance, manipulation, and corporate profits.
Certainly, there are pros and cons to giving the boot to Facebook that you will need to carefully weigh. Hopefully, I have provided some good evidence as to why you should jump ship. It really comes down to how much control you want to have over your own life and the information about you that could be used against you and your best interest. In my view, if you want to take back your independence and privacy, the only good option is to #DeleteFacebook.