Crawling back to Facebook

Hi Friends, I’m back.

I’m not proud of it, but I’m planning to come back to Facebook. You might not have noticed, but I quit in 2018. I had become increasing infuriated by the company’s behavior, irresponsibility, and gross exploitation of users (us). The violations of privacy, the data breaches, and the coziness with the Trump regime were just too much. So I quit.

I didn’t delete my account. Why not? I’m not totally sure. I thought it might come in handy. It has years of photos, jokes, interactions. But I stopped logging in. I went cold turkey.

I wasn’t sure I could do it, so I experimented with quitting first. After quitting for a few weeks, I found I missed it a little at first, but quickly forgot about it. I partly substituted Twitter and Instagram and other amusements. Facebook kept being bad — the revelations about Cambridge Analytica were coming out right then. So, then I really did it; I quit and that was that and it was fine, actually.

It took a while, but I noticed that there were some gaps— mainly that I was falling out of touch with some people. There are a few of you — maybe quite a few — where Facebook is really the main way we stay in touch. And so we lost touch. After a while, I started hearing news about your lives— life events like divorces, illness, babies, etc — from other people (maybe from Facebook). But I’d learn things long after the fact and through indirect channels.

I realized I was missing stuff that was kind of important to me about people I care about. That made me sad. But, it didn’t make me any less pissed about Facebook.

Anyway, fast forward a couple years, to a month ago. I was on my phone and I clicked on a link for a Facebook page to see a video or something and then noticed….I”m signed into my old account on Facebook. Grrrr. So annoying. I’ve never downloaded Facebook to my phone, never signed in on my phone (it’s less than a year old). How did Facebook do that? I don’t know. Maybe through Instagram which is on my phone. Or Whatsapp — also owned by Meta? I’m not sure, but it’s insidious and makes me mad. Side note: even while I stopped using Facebook, I kept using Instagram and Whatsapp which are both owned by Meta. Not sure if drawing that line makes any sense. Are Instagram and Whatsapp any better than Facebook?

Once I was on Facebook, I figured I’ll poke around. And I saw all of you. Your photos, news of your lives, anniversaries. Kids going off to college. Lots of stuff. Good stuff and bad stuff. Important stuff and not. And I realized how much I’m missing. So far, Twitter and Instagram and TikTok don’t do that well. I don’t really miss Facebook, but I do miss you.

So, I’m back. I’ve always loved the good things about Facebook; being in contact with people you like all over the world in real time. Staying up to date on lives and sharing fun stuff. I’ve never looked to Facebook for news, analysis, politics, or commerce. If anything, I’ll avoid that more than ever. If you post stuff like that, I’m probably not going to look at it.

I have a few things I’m going to try to do:

  1. Try not to depend on Facebook too much for communication. Try — consciously — to use other methods to update and connect with people. And try to take connections off Facebook when I can.
  2. Take some security measures to keep Facebook from gleaning information I don’t want to share. I’m happy to share the measures I’m taking. If you have advice, I’d welcome it. I acknowledge that they probably won’t work very well. They engineers at Facebook are smarter than I am and they spend all their time figuring out how to steal information and tweak algorithms. But I’m going to try to foil the surveillance and algorithms where I can.
  3. Keep my use of Facebook focused rather than casual. Be discreet and conscious about time I spend on Facebook. I want to use it, but don’t want to be used or let it command too much of my time and attention. I’m only using it on one device (with some safeguards), not downloading the app, not using FB Messenger.

Obviously, I still think Meta is a bad company and Facebook is bait to invade your privacy, steal your information, and subject you to capitalism. The wonderful things about Facebook are despite the company — or maybe they are provided to hide the harm the company does to users and to society. I think this, but I’m still coming back.

What do you think? Am I hypocrite? Does this make any sense?

ENDS///

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gawain

gawain

315 Followers

I'm a human person, working in policy & advocacy in international development, gender rights, economic justice.