/ 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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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?

JOIN Multiply.Com 🙂


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 🙂

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!

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 🙁 :/

eggs on says:
5 October 2010

Just wanted to say I completly agree with Dave d above

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.

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!]

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 🙁 :/

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 email on that same day saying, “We have received a request to permanently delete your account. Your account has been deactivated from the site and will be permanently deleted within 14 days. If you did not request to permanently delete your account, please login to Facebook to cancel this request:[web address]. Thanks, The Facebook Team”.

I find out about the website by googling “delete Facebook account”. I was told it was as simple as that on a Radio 4 programme (can’t remember which, sorry).

Stefan says:
24 January 2011

Thanks Sophie for the link – just used it and I’m now permanently deleted from the privacy-ignoring, spam-inducing time-wasting monster!

Sophie Gilbert says:
7 October 2010

Hi Al

I posted this comment on Sarah’s piece: “My experience of Facebook has been that most of the posts have been in turn inane, offensive, banal, exhibitionistic, annoying, or all of the above, and this morning I deleted my account. I have other means to keep in touch with my real friends. One of them is called the telephone, the other snail mail, and the other email. I find that I don’t need a fourth one, and I’m glad to be shot of the utter nonsense that Facebook represents.”

I also asked in what way security risks could be seen as “minor bugbears”.

So far the only reaction I’ve had, from those who have noticed that is, is comprehension and appreciation. One friend actually admitted to me that she rarely goes on Facebook and only ever uses it to share photos…

I see my friends face to face, I phone them and email them, write postcards, letters and Christmas cards, and I share photos using Picasa or Flickr.

I’d like to re-iterate Al’s thanks to Sophie!
A superb link and most helpful.
I wonder which Radio 4 programme it was? I usually have R4 on all day every day so that one escaped me somehow!
Thanks again Sophie.
Just one question left for Which? to delve into and run a campaign on perhaps? “Does Facebook really DELETE your data, or just make it so that even you can’t get at it any more?” I guess we’ll never know!.

Yes, great link and we say the same here on how to actually delete your account (and not just deactivate it) https://conversation.which.co.uk/technology/what-makes-you-unfriend-a-facebook-mate/

There’s still a question over whether your data is actually deleted. You’d hope so. But Ars Technica has shown that when you delete a photo on Facebook, the link remains active (if you’ve save the direct URL) and takes some time to disappear (so far their record is over 16 months…)

Peter Sebborn says:
25 October 2010

I dislike Facebook because you have to “opt out” rather than “opting in” to features; I therefore deactivated my account. Sometime later I received a message from Facebook telling me that my account had been re-activated – without my knowledge or consent! This surely contravenes privacy laws. Consequently I pursued the (somewhat tedious) procedure to have the account completely deleted. As far as I am aware this has now been done, though I don’t feel I can ever be confident that this is in fact so.

I realised today that FB has for some reason created 2 accounts for me, how generous. Problem is they ‘talk’ to each other, despite details being identical – it is a duplicate. Therefore, I keep getting e-mails that I have 2 Notifications, and clicking on the link provided, indicates one account with NO notifications, conversations/messages from my friends on the page have all gone. I had new friends (well, my nephews) whose details are there and all their conversations with their significant others as well, so this uncle now has power over nephews – feels great.

I logged in from scratch, and my initial account appeared, my friends were back, their conversations, pictures, etc. also back. The nephews were nowhere to be seen, and no messages, our conversations, all gone.

I wonder what else FB has done – if this can happen, I may now have millions of people I don’t want to know at all, waiting to get in touch as soon as FB tells them I will be one friend they must have!!

FB has become too much hard work – it no longer has any way to simply have a quick look – half an hour would be a minimum, that is if I don’t have any pokes or things, if I do, it can be hours. So FB will be gently removed until it no longer exists on my PC, laptop, smartphone (a very inappropriate name, a smartphone would have been on my side and thrashed FB as soon as it tried to make my afternoon a misery.

George Katkowski says:
8 December 2011

I have posted this elsewhere but here goes.

Why I deleted my FB account.

These are my personal opinions having been a keen poster on FB for 3 months. Initially I enjoyed it, especially building up my profile, selecting photos and video clips and communicating with a circle of FB ‘friends.’ After a short while I became disillusioned that much on FB was uninspiring and uninteresting, FB seemed to draw people to a lowest common denominator with superficiality and banality often being the norm. I noticed interesting, thought provoking or inspiring articles often went without comment while trivial ones would get a lot of attention. Posters seemed to be grandstanding to show how ‘cool’ they were my making outrageous comments but did not want to bother to invest intellectually if a topic required some thought.

I became used to seeing mundane content and wondered why I should care if a ‘friend’ was on a bus or in a coffee shop or had only two hours to go until they finish work? I would not have expected anyone to be interested if I made such posts about my day.

I came to realise the FB business agenda was about gathering data to sell, and not about FB’s users. That it is a very large business, not a social service to bring people together. FB is ubiquitous and intrusive and I developed concerns about both privacy and security. I felt there was a risk of being lured by scams and I was also invited into questionable games. Ultimately I was fearful that if I made a mistake I would lose control of my FB profile, my computer or of my finances.

The more I read up the more I formed the opinion that Mark Zuckerberg appeared not to be the sort of person I would either like or trust.

I found FB language most irritating. I did not have 48 ‘friends’ any more than some people have several hundred or even thousand. ‘Like’ was also used in a limited sense. Once I wanted to signal I agreed or approved of a comment about a fatal road accident, giving me the dilemma should I ‘like’ it? Someone once ‘liked’ my comment about a genocide and quickly qualified the comment to say they did not ‘like’ genocide. And as for ‘poke’ – how annoying!

The layout, colours etc. are in my opinion about as boring as Mark Zuckerberg’s grey hoodie.
To me the comments looked undifferentiated unless people chose to place an eye-catching picture with their posts. By contrast, in a room full of friends and acquaintances I would probably be mutually drawn to those I am closer to emotionally or socially, or was interested in getting to know. They would look bigger or brighter or more attractive in the room. On FB everything looks the same in a flat, two dimensional world.

I realised it is far harder to deactivate or delete my account than to start one up. On first deactivating my account there was the emotional blackmail of seeing messages that certain friends would miss me. I believe even after permanent deletion, FB holds onto some data ‘for technical reasons.’ This arouses my suspicions.

I instinctively distrust anything this big and powerful. Know the remark “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton, English historian, politician, and writer)? I believe the same could apply to FB, which has quickly become a truly enormous and powerful company.

My motto has become “share your personality and intelligence with your friends and the world, or post on Facebook. It’s fee choice and always will be (like this comment)”

George Katkowski says:
8 December 2011

‘FREE’ choice, should have said of course. Just can’t get the proof readers nowadays!

I’ve got a funny feeling FB is going the way of Snopake, Letraset and Filofax. And if you can remember them you’re probably not on Facebook anyway and probably still using those indispensable aids to modern communication!

I think you might be a bit premature in predicting the demise of FB, John, since the number of users is still rising and approaching 1000 million.

The companies you have mentioned are British and have probably survived because they have diversified.

The url facebook.com has been blocked on my iPod for the past three weeks and I have tried all possible means but didnt work so am fed up.

John Oattes says:
12 November 2015

John oattes

John Oattes says:
12 November 2015

I found out my account had been disabled but no mention of why.I always thought in the free world that when one is accused of something one had a right to face his accuser.Guess I was wrong where Facebook is concerned.John