Leaving Facebook

I’m considering deleting my facebook account and seeking advice on a tech stack to replace its various functions in my life.

Facebook provides a valuable service but unfortunately its business model is not aligned with the value it provides. It makes decision after decision that I disagree with ethically and it has been weaponized as a source of disinformation and propaganda.

I would gladly pay a subscription fee for the valuable service facebook provides me and maintain my privacy but that isn’t an option. Instead, by using facebook, I support an arms dealer that sells my data to organizations who use that info to manipulate me.

For years I have not uploaded photos to facebook and I have never installed the app on my phone. I don’t want Zuck having access to my phone, especially not now that I have so many pictures of our child – whose likeness we are intentionally keeping nonpublic for the time being – on it.

I recently deleted Whatsapp – owned by facebook – so I have some experience already with sacrificing connectivity to friends for privacy. Still, that’s a tradeoff I would rather make thoughtfully than rashly, so below I attempt to enumerate each of the ways that I use facebook. I’m still very early in this process and would appreciate advice/suggestions on how to fulfill each function without facebook.

  1. Social Graph: facebook is my “rolodex” of personal connections, ranging from close family to long lost friends from elementary school. I don’t communicate regularly with the vast majority of my facebook friends but it is nice to know that they are available and organized if I need to reach them.
  2. Sharing Updates And Pictures: I post much less to facebook than I used to but it remains a good platform for sharing information about what I’ve been up to, what I’m thinking about, movie reviews, etc. and fostering discussing about it. This technically includes political posts but facebook has turned out to be a pretty poor medium for such discussions.
  3. Seeing Updates And Pictures: it’s nice to stay abreast of what my friends are up to: parenting adventures, travel, culinary exploration, sports, etc.
  4. Groups: I’m part of several sports, parenting, alumni, and gaming facebook groups that are very beneficial. I access a great deal of advice, learn about events, and communicate with specific subsets of my friends through these groups.
  5. Supporting and Honoring Others: I use my facebook profile and cover photos to honor loved ones (birthdays, deathdays, anniversaries) and support people and causes I believe in.
  6. Asking Advice: facebook can crowdsource advice from a curated set of friends.
  7. Discovering Whom I Know In Various Places: when traveling I use facebook to reach out to friends who live at the destination, often catching up with people I haven’t seen in years.
  8. Worlds Colliding: it’s fun to see (and, sometimes, create) connections between friends from different eras of my life.
  9. Birthdays: I no longer log into facebook every day but, when I do, I wish happy birthday to my friends who are celebrating.
  10. Fundraiser: When my own birthday rolls around, my friends use facebook to donate to my favorite charity.
What stack of technologies would most efficiently substitute for these use cases? Which aspects are unsubstitutable? What are the tradeoffs I will need to make by switching to other products?

Published by Bryan Guido Hassin

These are the musings of a global cleantech entrepreneur. This blog began as a way to document my experience during the IMD MBA in Switzerland and now is the place where I publish eclectic thoughts on business, politics, fitness, entertainment, travel, wine, sports, and . . . whatever else is top of mind.

One thought on “Leaving Facebook

  1. Whew. This is a hard question. I'm 100 percent with you on deleting Facebook from our lives.I signed up for a Facebook account ages ago, before any of us realized what it would become. Today, I have it because I need to have a personal login to have access to the business accounts (mine and my clients'), but I've pretty much completely sunsetted my personal use of the platform. I deleted as much as possible from my personal profile (photos and information) and no longer participate personally–even for the purposes you've outlined. I don't have any social media on my phone, including Facebook.So… I don't use it any longer for the purposes you describe. There was a startup out of Ireland trying to come up with a paid alternative that I supported, but they didn't make it and gave up at the end of 2019. Personally, I put important birthdays in Outlook and transitioned to SMS and to sending a lot more texts and e-mails than I used to do. Does this mean I don't keep as informed about as many people's lives? Sure. But I've decided to go for quality over quantity, for what that's worth.Oh, and I do use Feedly for blogs! I wish more people had blogs, even if just for personal updates. I miss those days.

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