Facebook is toxic.
The ads don’t bother me so much, especially because they are usually of interest to me because of this privacy invasion. I realize companies must make money, especially when hosting content for tens of millions of people for “free,” but what I cannot abide is supporting fascism.
I’ve boycotted companies like Procter & Gamble for 30 years because they insist to continue testing on animals. It’s very inconvenient to me to do so, because they make virtually everything when it comes to cleaning products and so many food items, too; however, my convenience it’s worth the millions of animals tortured every year by P&G. It’s also why I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly as long because sentient beings will not be terrorized, tortured, and killed with my money. I can make that choice, no matter how much I liked the taste of meat (and I really did!). A few moments of sensory pleasure at mealtime isn’t worth over 16 billion animals killed every year in the USA alone. Not with my money.
It is this same ideology and commitment to refusing to support corporations that are blatantly enabling / causing oppression, fear, pain, suffering, and death to people or animals—or even the environment. Corporate responsibility is important. We vote with our wallets every day. There are so many other options available to corporations, so those who choose to cause pain and suffering, I will not support.
Not with my money.
It’s very hard for me to quit Facebook, as it’s been my main social interaction for nearly a decade. I’ve been on the platform for 13 years, and it was good to connect with my readers at first, back when I was writing. Then, after several horrible, traumatic events, it was a great way to start kicking people out of my life/visibility who were misogynists, victim-blamers, rape apologists, or otherwise just assholes. It was empowering to block people like that. Through Facebook I learned how to better protect myself and make choices that were best for me instead of worrying I might be hurting someone’s feelings. That was a huge step for me.
After my husband left in 2015, I traveled alone for nearly three years, and Facebook was often my sole source for social interaction, other than the barista at Starbucks or the animals I was sitting. I have hundreds of contacts on Facebook, many in other countries. It’s been a place to build and maintain communities, especially during COVID. I have art groups, local political groups, and my own Patreon group on there as well, so I don’t make this decision lightly. Leaving Facebook will greatly alter my daily life, not only for the social interaction but also because I log into many, many, many places through Facebook. I’ve started changing those today.
The reasons to leave have become too difficult to ignore. These are but a handful of links out of scores about these topics: Election tampering. Interfering with Democracy. Manipulating users. Profiting from that manipulation. Weaponizing politics. Supporting fascism. Protecting White Supremacists (…and no, it’s not Freedom of Speech). Enables Trump’s hatred, lies, and vitriol. Political polarization. Deliberate spread of misinformation…especially at a time where our very Democracy is at stake.
I’ve even had direct experience with this for one of the very few posts I tried to boost on Facebook. It was for my Revolution in Portland video. I clearly defined my audience as Democratic Socialists, but it was shown to mostly Far-Right Republicans, who proceeded to bully and spew hatred against my progressive video/views. Not a big deal, as I just blocked them, but I was paying $$ to reach a certain audience. Facebook purposely sent it to those who would be whipped into a fervor over the content—to prop up the Right and exacerbate their hatred. I wouldn’t have thought this before I read the articles linked above, but it’s all too clear now.
Below is an excerpt from a note my awesome partner wrote, and I feel the same way.
Facebook, as a platform, has been an enabler. It’s enabled the MAGA crowd, Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, Qanon, and dozens (if not hundreds) of similar fascist, crypto-nazi (nazis, but with plausible deniability) user groups. It’s difficult to continue using a platform that allowed a bunch of out-of-town Trump-humpers to motorcade around Portland, shooting people with paintball guns full of marbles, not to mention the actual gun-murder (whose details are still fuzzy, as facts slowly surface). It’s difficult to continue using a platform that could very well propel America into a genuine fascist authoritarian regime led by a handful of plutocratic oligarchs in November.Brian Enigma
After all, Facebook will still be there, so I’ll still have those distant connections in an emergency. I’m not deleting it yet, but I am staying away and ensuring they don’t make money off me or my eyes. That’s the first step, and it will be a process. I’m using this Guide to Quitting Facebook to start. I’ve already taken Step 1 and 2 (below). Please consider doing the same.
STEP 1: Delete the Facebook & Messenger app from your mobile devices. Make it harder for you to get there. When you visit, go only through an incognito/private window with ad blockers, if possible.
STEP 2: Transition to something new, and encourage your closest contacts to do the same. If we can move over in blocs, we can all continue to stay in touch and have more meaningful, valuable, and interesting exchanges. Join me on one (or both) of these two networks I’m trying out:
If I can encourage several people I interact with the most on Facebook to join me on MeWe or WT.Social, it won’t be that much different for me since I’ve blocked so many for being assholes and unfollowed others for posting content that annoyed me.
Hope to see you there!
Please follow this blog to keep up with me as well, because I might be going more toward long form writing than short social media in the long run. Old school! Leave comments here to communicate, and I’ll answer every single one. That’s my promise to you!
Scroll to the bottom of this page (under the post), and you’ll see “Follow Blog.” Once you follow, you will be notified by email when there is new content, but you can change your notifications to other ways by going here: https://wordpress.com/following/manage.
Again, I’m not deleting my Facebook profile yet, but I will check it less and less—always through incognito/private windows with ad-blockers—as I transition to a new platform. Sadly Instagram and WhatsApp are both owned by Facebook, so those will be the next to transition away from…but Facebook goes first! Remember, it’s okay to do these things in stages, as long as you’re doing something! Just because you can’t do everything, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything.
Take a stand!
Make responsible choices where you spend your money and encourage others to do the same. A little bit of inconvenience is worth not supporting fascism or cruelty. You’ll be surprised how quickly you adapt.
When researching how to leave Facebook, I’ve come across countless articles and blogs that repeatedly state how it’s the best thing the authors have done. None that I found regret it.
May you find peace.