It’s long overdue. The reason I have lasted so long in Facebook is the fact that a lot of my contacts I find only there. But since all of them have mobile phones and email I realized that’s just convenience, and so, it ends.
Give people the power to build communities and bring the world closer together ¹
Facebook’s mission. A bunch of PR good looking, heart appealing bull shit. Facebook connects people to Facebook. Period. Everything you post: pictures, texts, links, videos, memories, etc. belong to Facebook Inc., not to you. You relinquish your control over your own information when you post to Facebook. Even if you don’t post anything in Facebook, they have the ability to track you all over the internet with very smart scripts called trackers. Trackers follow you all around the Internet reporting back to Facebook. Searched for a new TV on Amazon and next time you opened Facebook, 10 ads of TV’s popped up? Yup, that’s it.
All this information is gathered to profile you, to create an extremely accurate virtual copy of you. It knows what you like, what you hate, what you value, who you value. If you use Messenger or WhatsApp it knows who you talk to, when you talk to, and for how long have you talked to. It uses this virtual “you” to show you advertisement. Ads that are so well targeted and so well tailored to your tastes and interests that you will probably click them, and hopefully buy what is advertised. This is how Facebook makes money: selling ads to products or services, that you will click, and buy.
If it’s free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product
This is a very cliché statement, but very accurate. You don’t pay a dime to use Facebook and still they make billions every year. You are not their customer, you are their cash cow (or more elegantly their product). They farm your information and turn it into a profit.
In all honesty you can say “I don’t care, I choose to relinquish my privacy to have access to free or discounted stuff”. That’s your choice. Keep in mind that data you do not own, you do not control, and ultimately it could be used against you. Privacy is not something that was given easily. It is a human right, which many generations fought hard for. We are going full speed ahead into a world where we choose to forget those rights for the sake of convenience.
When an entity (company, government or individual) has so much information about someone, it can use it to influence their behavior. Recently, Cambridge Analytica did just that. By using personal data of millions of Facebook users it “allowed the company to exploit the private social media activity of a huge swath of the American electorate, developing techniques that underpinned its work on President Trump’s campaign in 2016” ².
If none of that matters to you, then just remember that Mark Zuckerberg once, when asked why people would give their data so easily, said “they trust me, the dumb fucks” ³. Yes, for Facebook we are all a bunch of dumb fucks for trusting them.
Is Facebook the only one?
No. Mind me, this is a business model that’s worth millions. But remember the cliché, if it’s free you are the product. Facebook’s business model, interestingly called Surveillance Capitalism⁴ by Shoshana Zuboff from Harvard Business School, is what drives companies like Google, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc.
I have found alternatives for almost every thing I use online. I swapped from WhatsApp to Signal and Telegram. I use DuckDuckGo instead of Google for all my web searches. I’m transitioning to an encrypted email client like ProtonMail instead of Gmail. I don’t use Instagram, I send my pictures directly to the people who matter, no one else. I use a tracker blocker called Better both on my computer and on my phone (Ghostery for Firefox is also good). I couldn’t find a solid solution for YouTube yet, will keep trying tho.