Posted on my Facebook feed the day before I deactivated my account, after hearing this news.
I’m leaving Facebook. I’m doing it to protest their arrogant denial of the corrosive impact that they’ve had on our politics and our culture, and because it doesn’t add any value to my life. I realize my departure won’t impact their bottom line, but I wanted to let my friends know, so they won’t feel the need to check the obituaries.
Here’s why I’m leaving–maybe you’ll make the same decision:
1) Facebook doesn’t make me happy.
When I realized a few months ago how much time I spent staring at my phone, passively consuming silly memes, advertising and misinformation instead of talking with those around me, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone and pad. I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t miss it. Once you step outside the Facebook bubble it loses relevancy, and I was honestly happier without it. I was no longer sharing information I found interesting and anxiously waiting for validation in the form of “likes” and positive comments. I no longer saw a hateful post I disagreed with that poisoned my mood for the rest of the day. And I wasn’t looking at gorgeous travel pictures posted by others and considering my satisfying life disappointing in comparison.
2) Facebook is not a source of information, it’s a manipulative and skewed view of the world.
With retirement I’ve got time to get much more engaged in politics and culture, and I’ve found that the majority of the information that I find reliable (ie it’s supported by verifiable evidence) I get not from Facebook, but from books, podcasts and journalism websites. Even when I saw something on Facebook that resonated with my beliefs, it often turned out to be false or misleading in some way. There are journalists out there doing real investigative journalism, but I didn’t discover them through Facebook. And because of the algorithms that control Facebook content, even when I liked and followed well researched source sites, their posts never seemed to show up in my news feed. (This one may not show up in yours, because it’s so long.) Research has shown that Facebook is far more likely to spread lies than factual information, and Facebook (the company) doesn’t seem to care, because they’re making money.
I’m still making glass (steveghilliard.com), and I share images of my work on Instagram (sghilliard). Although I can’t stand the platform, I do have a Twitter account (@flowmanuga) which I occasionally use to follow politics and trends. If you want to talk, let’s go fishing, or meet for a coffee, lunch or a beer. If you’re a close friend, you’ll know how to find me. If you’re one of my “Facebook friends” that I’ve never actually met, maybe that will change at some time, or we’ll reconnect on some more useful platform. To everyone that reads this, I honestly wish you the best, and hope that you enjoy your life, with or without Facebook. I’ve made my choice.