4 Years Without Facebook

3 minute read Updated

How social media controls you. From a free-thinker in a society controlled by social media.

After a four year hiatus, I recently rejoined Facebook to give it another shot. Here’re some insights I gained since I left.

  • With the help of Alex Schultz, considered one of the best growth hackers out there, Facebook learned how to hook you quickly by ensuring you were able to make 10 friends in 14 days.

  • To keep you coming back for more Facebook uses magic tricks considered unethical. And when you don’t engage enough it utilizes Artificial Intelligence so you can’t let go:

    With little social activity, Facebook disrupts with notifications like this, designed to draw you back in.
    With little social activity, Facebook disrupts with notifications like this, designed to draw you back in.
  • Shortly after rejoining I unfriended 15 people to get back down to 30 and felt the AI kick in to keep me before I even finished sending apology letters.

  • Facebook throttles the speed with which you can Like things so you cannot gain social influence without consuming more.

  • Facebook and other social media channels have Hurt the Open Web, affected individual privacy, possibly even Broken Democracy and are now being forced to confront the hapless spread of misinformation.

  • Facebook wants to know where you are at all times and will track every move you make, if you let it. To help get this information they built a Nearby Friends feature. Pictured here, a screenshot of the disclaimer:

    Seriously, why would anyone click this button?
    Seriously, why would anyone click this button?
  • You know those free dating apps that have you swiping for love in all the wrong places? Many monetize you by tying your information into the Social Graph and apply the information to sell you a prescribed future based on deep knowledge of your darkest secrets.

  • Facebook knows so much about you they can easily get you arrested.

  • When you leave Facebook you may never see your photos again. Or at least I didn’t when I originally left. Even after two separate requests for my photo bundle, messages to Facebook support went unanswered.

  • Same goes for Instagram app — you lose everything. When you leave Instagram there isn’t an option to download your images. This is contrary to how Snapchat Memories or Telegram work.

Not on Facebook or Instagram? Well then you probably use WhatsApp, also owned by Facebook. And guess what, Facebook made it free and plan to monetize users using metadata collected about you. It’s no wonder China hasn’t allowed Facebook since 2009 and later blocked WhatsApp altogether.

I’ve been back on Facebook for less than two months since my four year break, and I’m already starting to wonder why I got back on. But, then again, I must admit I’m fairly pleased with the 10 friends I’ve made in the last 14 days.

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