Several friends have asked me why I deleted my Facebook account a few months ago. They miss my comments and photos. They miss me. I do not doubt this because I miss them also. I miss their updates and photos and I miss being in contact. But we see Facebook through the lens of their own relationships. Friends, grandchildren, lovers, church members, baby photos, kitten videos, all good I thought.
I was one of over 2 billion users, showing off with little to no thought of how my personal information was being used. I didn’t read the terms of the agreement or try to understand the privacy settings. I was having fun and for free!
Giving up Facebook was not something I did lightly. After being a member for so many years it was a sacrifice. One thing I’ve learned though and not unexpectedly is that while being a member I was sacrificing time. The time that I could be doing more productive things but this is not why I left Facebook.
My last comment on Facebook before I departed was this:
“I have been betrayed. Facebook used me and used my friends and our data. More importantly, Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have endangered the democracy of the US and the safety of democracy globally. After 10 years of FB membership, I am hurt and disillusioned. I will never be back and will encourage others to take the same step.”
That is the reason and it is not hyperbole. Facebook sold our information to a foreign government through Cambridge Analytica and by other means. Cambridge Analytica alone obtained information from 50 million Facebook user profiles without permission from members.
Experts believe that Facebook, more than any other social media platform, has facilitated the spread of fraudulent news because of its vast number of users and the many mechanisms it offers for sharing information quickly.*
Facebook lost over $120 billion in stock on July 26, the largest one-day stock loss in history when investors dumped over 20%. One might say it serves them right, but how many millions did they make off us over the past three years or so? Also, Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t miss his $16 billion loss any more than I’d miss one hundred. He is a multibillionaire, down from third richest person to the sixth. I do not begrudge him his wealth, but I vehemently resent how he earned it off of unsuspecting members, like me, like my friends and family.
Those fun Facebook quizzes were designed to learn our preferences and our weaknesses which were played upon in advertising and bogus news. I didn’t do many quizzes but learned that when my friends did so it opened up my data. This devious plan duped the highly educated professional just as it did the uninformed.
Zuckerberg has a history of saying “I’m sorry” but that is not enough when things stay the same. Facebook VP Carolyn Everson recently made the following statement: “The entire company is focused. We’re adding over 10,000 people, we’re using technology to help us find bad actors and bad behavior.” It doesn’t take that many people nor technology to figure out that the bad actor is the company founder and CEO.
I’m enjoying the extra hour or so I used to spend on Facebook each day even though I do miss folks I care about. True friends will stay in touch, the other few hundred not so much.
I hope that others have reached a similar decision, but I am only responsible for my own and I refuse to be used to weaken the democracy of the country I love.
Sources: CBS This Morning and *Alicia Shepard of USA Today and NPR.
“Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice speak out because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.” Thurgood Marshall
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