My Final Days on Facebook: A Rant

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Facebook is really, really pissing me off today.

First, after sending many of my Facebook Messenger contacts a cut-and-paste message outlining all the ways to get ahold of me after I leave Facebook (see below), the service abruptly logged me out due to “suspicious activities”, and forced me to create a new password and review various account settings before it would allow me back in.

Then, one of the cross-posted items from my blog was flagged for “going against our Community Standards”, and not posted to several of the many Second Life groups I belong to on Facebook:

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What. The Actual. F*CK?!?? There’s absolutely nothing even remotely offensive about this. The only possible difference between this post and countless posts that I have made without incident over the past year is that I talk about “leaving Facebook at the end of this year”.

All of this is only hardening my resolve to delete my account and all my data, and get off this social network as soon as possible. As a recent news article from The Guardian newspaper says, why not make it a New Year’s resolution to quit Facebook yourself?

A New York Times investigation has found that Facebook gave Netflix, Spotify and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) the ability to read, write and delete users’ private messages. The Times investigation, based on hundreds of pages of internal Facebook documents, also found that Facebook gave 150 partners more access to user data than previously disclosed. Microsoft, Sony and Amazon, for example, could obtain the contact information of their users’ friends.

The Times’ new report caps off a very bad year for Facebook when it comes to public trust. Let’s just recap a few of the bigger stories, shall we?

  • March: The Observer reveals that Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of millions of Facebook users without their consent for political purposes. It is also revealed that Facebook had been keeping records of Android users’ phone calls and texts.
  • April: It was revealed that Facebook was in secret talks with hospitals to get them to share patients’ private medical data.
  • September: Hackers gained access to around 30m Facebook accounts.
  • November: Facebook acknowledges it didn’t do enough to stop its platform being as a tool to incite genocidal violence in Myanmar. A New York Times report reveals the company hired a PR firm to try and discredit critics by claiming they were agents of George Soros.
  • December: Facebook admitted it exposed private photos from 68 million users to apps that weren’t authorized to view your photos. (You can check if you were affected via this Facebook link.)

If you’re still on Facebook after everything has happened this year, you need to ask yourself why. Is the value you get from the platform really worth giving up all your data for? More broadly, are you comfortable being part of the reason that Facebook is becoming so dangerously powerful? Are you comfortable being on a platform that has, among other things, helped incite genocide in Myanmar?

(Below is the message I am sending out to all my Facebook Messenger contacts. This also applies to all of you who are reading this blogpost.)

After I quit Facebook, here are all the ways you can still get ahold of me:

  • Email: ryanschultz [at] gmail [dot] com (or just use the Contact link on my blog)
  • Blog: https://ryanschultz.com (you can always post a comment and I’ll see it)
  • Cellphone/text: Available upon request, only to those people whom I know.

I am also inviting you to join the RyanSchultz.com Discord discussion group! There’s no cost, it’s free! I’ve got a channel set up just for my Facebook friends to use. And I promise, I won’t data-mine you like Facebook does 😉

Here’s the invite link to take you directly to my Facebook friends channel, just click on this link: https://discord.gg/r4sFkVr

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