Ten days ago, I deleted my Facebook. I told two people I did so (my best friends). Since then, only one other person has noticed. While most of my reasoning was “minimalization” (remember I deleted the apps off my phone even though I kept the accounts) to keep an eye on where my wasted time was being spent, I found a concerning habit forming regarding my (and others’) use on the site.
When the person actually noticed I had deleted my profile, he was sitting right next to me. Several (and I mean several) weeks ago, he had sent a funny photo via messenger to me in relation to a joke a group of us had shared. While I appreciated the message, I did think it merited a response. Really the only thing that I could have replied with was “haha” and to me that seemed redundant. While we were talking now in present time, he referenced that photo and asked why I hadn’t responded. Since I had completely forgotten about the message until that point, I told him I remembered the photo but admitted I didn’t remember responding. Immediately, he pulled out his phone, flipped through several pages of apps, and pulled up messenger. After scrolling through what I personally thought were a massive amount of open messages, he paused and looked up and said “Wait, did you delete your Facebook? I can’t even search your name…”
Right then, I realized how thankful I was to have deleted the app. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against communicating with my friends but I noticed how dependent everyone was on using Facebook for social acceptance with the people around them. They posted for the sole purpose of “likes” and interactions. They accepted all the friends and posted all the things, waiting for the notifications to pour in. Political opinions became rampant, uneducated, hateful, and unavoidable. Truth and fake news were everywhere. Facebook to me had become a strategy game just to keep information about me private to individuals who were not my “friend”. I never saw the updates that I wanted to see nor the posts that were relevant. I continued to get spam notifications, messages, and friend requests. The more these things came in, the more I had to “update” my privacy settings that were continually changing in order to keep everything I posted visible only to friends.
And then I saw the irony. I had created a profile on a public site for other people with the intention of still remaining private. I never posted, never liked, never messaged. I never read, never participated, never commented, rarely shared. So I deleted. It was easier than trying to find all the proper settings pages to make sure everything I posted remained private. I still find myself opening my browser and starting to navigate to Facebook but I’m doing that less and less now.
My favorite part about the whole experience is that as soon as I went through the nine circles of hell to try to delete Facebook, the closing page prompted me with this: “We are sorry to see you go. Would you like to join Facebook?”