Why I’m Leaving Social Media (and it’s not why you think)

(3 min read)

Author’s note: this post was inspired by Facebook’s change to the WhatsApp privacy policy, initially intended to go into effect February 8th, 2021, then later changed to May 15th, 2021. No, they cannot read your messages. But they are sharing more personal information about you with Facebook (and it’s advertisers) than ever before.

I’m leaving Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, but not because:

  • They are designed to be addictive1,2
  • They give an unrealistic view of others’ lives (what everyone posts is highly curated)3
  • They are divisive, polarizing, and encourage confirmation bias4,5,6,7
  • They provide a platform for cyberbullying8,9
  • The algorithms that build your news feed prefer lies, negative or shocking news vs. true or positive (positive posts receive less “likes” and “shares”)10,11,12
  • Using them affects the ability to pay attention and promotes multi-tasking13
  • Using them can trigger sadness and depression3
  • Using them can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness14

No, as if that wasn’t enough.

I’m leaving because I’m tired of them profiting from selling & using my personal information.

Facebook (including WhatsApp and Instagram, which it owns) reported a revenue of $85.9 Billion in 202015. For a company that provides “free” services to its users, they sure make a lot of money. They make money using data about you, your behaviour, and your interactions with content and with others.

“As long as social media companies profit from addiction, depression, and division, our society will continue to be at risk.”

https://humanetech.com

Let’s explore some facts:

  1. Their algorithms are designed in a way to earn them money.
  2. How do they earn money? Advertising.
  3. So, how do they earn more money? Selling more advertising.
  4. How do they sell more / more expensive advertising? By promising their advertisers access to a specific, receptive audience.

Facebook knows so much about you that they can sell the advertisers access to you because you’ll be more likely to buy their specific product. It’s called targeted advertising, but taken to a whole new level. They know your likes. Your dislikes. The probability you’ll click on a certain type of ad or post.

They build profiles about each and every user, then hand these out to the highest bidder.

I understand & acknowledge that there are certain circumstances, both personal and work-related, where these tools are necessary, or the benefits you gain outweigh the drawbacks. You can absolutely continue using them, being aware of these companies’ motives (bottom line: profit).

I’m not saying you should leave. However, you should be aware of the real price you’re paying.

And that’s a price I’m personally no longer willing to pay.
I’ve had enough. I’m out.
And you?

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