Facebook is in hot water again, over controversial deals it made in the past that compromised user privacy.
I have been considering for a long time to leave Facebook. These are the challenges:
- For many people, Facebook is the only way I have to contact them
- I don't have a better place to share family pictures (again most of the family is on Facebook)
- certain follows/groups relevant to my interest are Facebook only
Basically the network effect. If more people use off-Facebook services, the easier it will be to leave Facebook.
In the meantime, some steps to slowly wean you off Facebook, especially if you find yourself compuslively checking it (basically just make it totally inconvenient to check Facebook regularly):
- uninstall the app from your phone. It's a battery hog anyway
- only access Facebook via web
- never let the site remember your password, forcing you to input it every time
- always log out when you are done
- change your language to some other language (mine is set to Spanish)
Some random things I noted about Facebook recently:
- if you open the browser's developer console, Facebook outputs warning messages to the console, to protect against Self-XSS
- what I didn't expect was that if you set your Facebook's language to something other than English, the console message changes too!
- if you log out of Facebook, your profile picture remains on the login page so you can more easily re-login (I should probably remove that though). There's a small red number above your profile picture, supposedly indicating pending notifications that are waiting for you when you login. This number is a lie meant only to entice you to login and has no correlation to the actual pending notifictations.
Dave Winer makes a point that Facebook, despite all its flaws, did bring something good to humanity, even if only for a little while.
Facebook offers ordinary people something they've never had before. A place to publish their ideas for anyone to read. For all its flaws they have done something remarkable, something the news industry could have but did not do.— Dave (@davewiner) December 19, 2018
I don't know what happens next. Maybe Facebook will clean up its act and gets to stay around. Maybe it gets replaced by the next big thing. Or maybe it gets replaced by many small things. Whatever comes next, hopefully society will be more careful in how we handle the implications of the convenience that tech and social media bring us.