/ Technology

Why I’m fed up with Facebook

Facebook off-screen

Thinking back, it’s hard to remember life pre-Facebook. As it comes up to its seventh birthday, and the story of its conception inspires a movie (The Social Network) it’s now time to ask myself: can I ever leave Facebook?

Before I joined Facebook in 2005 I’d never heard the term ‘friend requests’. Back then people became friends, you didn’t have to ask them to mirror these friendships online.

Five years ago we all poked each other. Then we got bored of poking. My, how Facebook has moved on.

First it was a popularity contest to see how many friends you could amass. Now it’s morphed into a popularity contest for companies and brands – slowly taking over Facebook by encouraging us to become fans and ‘like’ their content.

How couldn’t you be on Facebook?

These days it’s intriguing to meet someone from my generation who isn’t on Facebook. They’re a social novelty, and the first topic of the refreshing face-to-face conversation you have with them isn’t about what you’ve seen them do on Facebook, it’s about why on earth they haven’t signed up!

These lucky Facebook refuseniks are the conscientious objectors of the Facebook war, whether because they disagree with the privacy implications, or simply because they want to opt out of the mainstream predictability of being online like everyone else.

But it’s hard not to be on Facebook. Previously I’d used instant messaging to chat online. Now Facebook has live chat. Often, rather than sending an email to a friend, I’ll send them a Facebook message. It’s just easier.

I used to use Flickr for photos, but my snapshot audience is on Facebook. And with more than 100 million photos uploaded each day, Facebook has become the largest photo sharing website as a side-effect of being the most popular social network.

Millions have escaped Facebook’s clutches

So now that Facebook has become the principal online ecosystem, it’s hard to escape from its clutches. The more features it adds, the more indispensable it becomes, and the more valuable our time becomes to Mark Zuckerberg and his advertisers.

But with 500 million active users, that’s actually only about 7% of the world’s population. So how do the other ‘forgotten’ 93% survive? How do they organise parties, create virtual farms or share their status? Maybe their parties are just better and not at risk of 15,000 uninvited guests turning up and trashing the place?

Maybe they have real farms, and conversely don’t need to spend real dollars on buying virtual plots of land in Farmville? And maybe they’re not such egotists that they think people care about their ‘status’.

Leaving Facebook isn’t easy

But if you want to join the rest of the world by leaving Facebook, it’s not going to be plain sailing. You’re not asked to ‘delete’ your account, you’re asked to ‘deactivate’. This is soon followed by pictures of the people on Facebook who will ‘miss you’. Talk about tugging on your heartstrings.

These guys still know me and some have my email address or phone number. They can still call for a chat, or pop round to show me their hilarious drunk photos. But will they? Is Facebook so ingrained in all our lives that it would be detrimental to our social life to opt out?

If you’re a fan of Facebook read Sarah Kidner’s opinion piece ‘Why I’m friends with Facebook’.

Are you a fan of Facebook?

No - it's a waste of time (75%, 305 Votes)

Yes - it helps me keep in touch with friends (25%, 101 Votes)

Total Voters: 406

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Comments
Member

I’ve been on facebook and my account is now deactivated. It got boring and has become far too commercialized.
My main concern, though, is that as far as I can see it is actually impossible to get your account deleted.
To my way of thinking this contravenes the Data Protection Act of 1998 which states that no one and no organisation may keep your data without a current and just reason to do so. So if you want to leave facebook, what is their “current” and legitimate reason to keep your data?
I’ve removed all my own pictures, I’ve unsubscribed from all thr groups I was in, I’ve severed all the on line friendships and I’ve set my location to the wrong hemisphere of the earth let alone the wrong address, but even though that should fox the casual identity thief, it seems impossible to alter your name or to remove it totally so how can we (and indeed why should we) trust Facebook to have actually deleted the pics, etc, and not simply “deactivated” them too, keeping them on their servers?

Member

JOIN Multiply.Com 🙂

Or

FaceParty.Com & Ablehere.Com 🙂

FaceParty.Com Was The FIRST & It Run/Held BIG GAY OUT IN London’s Finsburys Park In 2004 & 2005 In London 🙂

Member

Hi Scott, thanks for pointing out an alternative to Facebook. However, your comment is in danger of being seen as spam – so please don’t keep submitting duplicate comments about it. Thanks!

Member

Hi Patrick Steen,

Sorry for some reason I can’t reply ddirect to Your message/comment 🙁 :/

I don’t mean things to come across as Spam 🙁 :/

I am sorry 🙁 :/

Member
eggs on says:
5 October 2010

Just wanted to say I completly agree with Dave d above

Member

I do enjoy facebook as it keeps me in touch with all my friends and it has helped me make loads of new one’s. Being a full time Carer sometimes when my husband is really bad and bedbound life can get very lonely so once ive done all my housework facebook can be a lifeline. However it can also be frustrating when it decides to be awkward and not work right and start freezing or not letting you post or the various other issues you get with it. I have found facebook’s posts and things the easiest to understand i can’t have a proper conversation on twitter. I don’t get it’s setting very well. Although i must admit i have founf facebook extremely annoying over the past fortnight with naughty people trying to get on my site and you have to be very careful not to add the wrong people which is very hard not to do. Also it’s unbelievable how many virus you end up with ive lost count how many times ive had to run my spy ware through.

Member

FaceBook.Com turns people in to SHEEP 🙁 :/

We’ve always been able to stay in touch with family & old friends if we always wanted too 🙂

Making new friends can be hard, but making them on FaceBook.Com won’t been long lasting & FB is being used everywhere & anywhere & Its becoming another controlling company like BSKYB Aka Sky & Microsoft 🙁 :/

[Mods: Hi Scott, thanks for your comments, just to let you know I’ve edited your post slightly as you were using capitals at the start of every word. People find this quite hard to read, so if you could try to only use caps at the start of sentences that would make your comments much easier to read. Thanks!]

Member

Sorry again, I’m often getting told off on FaceParty.Com & Twitter.Com, For My capitals at every word :/

Just an odd OCD trait/habbit, I’m trying to work on 🙂

I can’t believe FaceBook.Com has made or had an movie made about them 🙁 :/

Member
Sophie Gilbert says:
7 October 2010

It is possible that Facebook sounded like a good idea at the time it was created, but the creators plainly didn’t foresee that it would grow the arms and legs it did, including and especially the security risks that it poses, or maybe they didn’t care.

On 4th of October I went on this website, http://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account, and followed its instructions. Since then I have received no entreaties from friends who’ll miss me or any such rubbish (maybe give it time!), but one