I joined Facebook in October 2007, almost exactly 14 years ago, and the platform has been a defining character of that time of my life. In the beginning, it was fun and pleasant. I reconnected with old friends, caught up on life, and just generally enjoyed it.
Then came TAG, The Algorithm God. TAG turned my timeline into a nonlinear hodgepodge of what Facebook thought I wanted to see. At first, it worked okay, but I still toggled to timeline view every time I logged in. (I don't think that's even an option anymore. And if it is, it still doesn't show activity from all your friends.)
Over time though, it turned into a an anxiety and outrage machine. I hated it and couldn't quit. Like a drug addict who knows that the cocaine is ruining his life but keeps going back for more. Or like Gollum who loves the ring and hates it, as he loves and hates himself.
Now we have mountains of research showing that Facebook is demonstrably bad for mental health, child development, social cohesiveness, and even democracy itself. What's worse is that Facebook is aware of this and knowingly engages in practices that harm adults, children, and society as a whole.
I tried deactivating Facebook, which is like putting the cocaine in the back of the closet and swearing you won't use it again. It's only a matter of time.
Maybe your birthday rolls around and you want a dopamine hit from all the people who TAG has reminded to tell you happy birthday. Then it's only polite to say thank you. Then there's an article that sets you off. And the cycle has begun again.
This was the beginning of my September Facebook bender. I've been in this loop for a decade now, unable to quit this terrible drug.
But then I learned something new that made it super-easy to quit.
In 2019, the BBC published an exposé revealing that Facebook knowingly allowed human trafficking ads to run on Instagram. It wasn't until Apple threatened to pull the app from the App Store that Facebook cracked down.
Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me.
Sometimes I'm not sure where my lines are. I am, however, clear that enabling the kidnapping, buying, and selling of human beings is way the fuck over my line.
The point of this blog post is not to tell you that you should delete Facebook. The point is to demonstrate HOW to delete Facebook if its values do not align with your own. (Watch the video.)
I'm just telling you why I finally did it -- after I couldn't do it for my own health, the well-being of society, or even for the children who suffer at the hands social media. I looked the other way on EVERYTHING because I was afraid of missing a party invitation or social connection. Until I saw something that made me realize how I had been complicit in these atrocities.
This website is my new home on the web. I've enabled the comments so visitors can engage in conversation on any post -- like Facebook. It already feels better to post here. If you're reading, it's not because Facebook manipulated you. It's because something else drew you here. You exercised more autonomy. More discernment. And I'd much rather engage in a conversation that is not mediated by TAG.
If you're interested in staying touch through life after Facebook, I also have an email list you can subscribe to here.