Anger has raged since it emerged that Facebook conducted a secret psychological experiment on over half a million of its users. This fresh controversy is the latest in a list of gripes over privacy, advertising, auto-playing videos, algorithms and more.
As a trigger of mass complaint, Facebook has become my generation’s television licence – the focal point for relentless resentment, the favoured terrain for the self-righteous. The fact that a lot of complaining about Facebook takes place on Facebook has always had a dash of irony about it, particularly for those of us who still quite enjoy the platform and do not smash our fists against the screen if it slightly changes the hue of its background colour.
The tenor of the discussion around Facebook, the general sense of negativity and frustrating, is at odds with the fact that this is a free, non-compulsory service. People complain about Facebook as though it was a service they were forced to use, or were paying over the odds for. Nobody is making you use Facebook and humanity survived for thousands of years without it – so if you are that angry with it, why not just leave?
But is the prospect of life without Facebook even worse than the reality of using a platform that many people seem to hate? Going cold turkey may not prove to be quite as apocalyptic as committed Facebook users think. I have a friend who is not a member of any social networking site and could not be less interested in the world of status updates, likes and tweets.
Reasons You Should Quit Facebook In 2015
"Facebook is so annoying." How many times have you heard that sentiment this past year? We bet a lot, because more and more people seem to be getting tired of the social media platform, especially young people.
We've noticed a nationwide annoyance with Facebook over 2013. The company even admitted in October that younger teens were using the network less frequently on a daily basis. Here are 11 reasons that might convince you to let your Facebook account go in 2014.
1. Nobody actually wants to just read about what you're doing anymore.
Think about it: What sounds more appealing (and believable)? Reading a status that says, "I'm currently hanging out with Will Smith!" or a picture of that person actually posing with Smith? A photo is definitely more engaging. Here's the most-liked Instagram picture of 2013: Justin Bieber's snap with Smith.
When TIME interviewed teenagers about their social media use in March, 16-year-old Hamp Briley explained that kids these days don't have time for Facebook: "Twitter’s all statuses, Instagram’s all pictures. People like to do more specific things like that instead of being on just Facebook.”
2. Facebook makes it impossible for you to stay "private."
For many valid reasons (think stalker exes or potential employers), some people don't like having their name come up when it's typed into the Facebook search bar. However, most users this year found problems with changes to privacy settings. For one, Facebook removed the option to keep your name hidden when people search you. They also forced people to control their privacy settings on a cumbersome item-by-item basis. Today, the only way to make sure certain people can't access your profile is to block them. Or alter your name so it doesn't appear when people search your real one. Or, of course, quit Facebook entirely.
3. Your parents (and even grandparents) are now watching your every move.
This year seemed to be the year everyone's mom, dad, grandmother and great aunt got hooked on Facebook. And that meant every time you posted a status about something innocuous, these Facebook novices started breathing down your neck the minute you hit "post." We get enough scolding from our parents "IRL" -- no need to let it trickle onto a social media site where our friends can laugh at our familial bickering.
4. Or they're posting photos of you that you would never want anyone to see
What's worse than getting no "likes" on an Instagram photo you posted? Checking your Facebook and realizing that a horribly embarrassing photo of you that your mom posted is getting over 50 "likes," along with some pretty serious mockery in the comments section.
5. Facebook is even keeping track of what you don't say.
You may have been happy you didn't post that one over-share about your extended trip to the bathroom the other day, but Facebook may have a record of exactly what you typed and what time you were about to publish it. This month, Facebook released a study revealing that they were undergoing a new type of data collection in which they were tracking when people typed content out and then removed it without publishing. Their mission is to understand why users "self-censor" themselves in updates. According to Facebook data scientist Sauvik Das, a "self-censored update" is "an entry into either [a status update or comment box] of more than five characters that was typed out but not submitted for at least the next 10 minutes."
6. Facebook makes you feel less positive about your life.
Even though the purpose of Facebook is effectively to reveal details about everything and anything you do, access to this knowledge could take a toll on your mental well-being. A recent study done by the Department of Behavioral Science at the Utah Valley University discovered that heavy Facebook users aren't the happiest people out there. The researchers found that just using Facebook makes you view your life more negatively. Of 400 students questioned, "those who have used Facebook longer agreed more that others were happier, and agreed less that life is fair, and those spending more time on Facebook each week agreed more that others were happier and had better lives."
7. The "friend suggestions" tell you to befriend people you don't even know.
Facebook's "friend suggestions" algorithm needs some work, because these days we're discovering that your potential "friends" are people we only know through someone else, or someone we haven't even met at all. If you want people to stop using a platform that is supposed to connect them and bring them together with the people they care about, you should definitely adopt Facebook's strategy of trying to get you to care about the lives of complete strangers.
8. You realize you only know and care about only 20 people out of your 1,000 friends.
It starts to get kind of weird when you check the birthdays for the day and don't remember who any of the five people are. How do you know them? Are they some random person you met at a bar in college one night, and in a drunken stupor decided to "add on Facebook"? Probably. Do you need to know that this person is moving to California this week? More importantly, do you care? Nope. It could be time to overhaul your friends list. Or maybe it's time to realize that your Facebook account is being used pretty much entirely to keep tabs on these kinds of strangers.
I Don’t Use Facebook, But It’s Not a Privacy Concern
It was a Tuesday. I was seated comfortably on Angela’s chesterfield sofa. Angela, who I’d met during college, hosted weekly get-togethers for “the girls.” Each of us would bring something to contribute to the group: vodka, chips and guac, cupcakes, etc. We’d gather around the television to watch “our shows,” which Angela had DVRed throughout the week. Although our shows were prerecorded, we’d never fast forward through the commercials because they provided us with time to gossip, catch-up and inevitably back out of the conversation, hang our heads to check our Facebook accounts via iPhones. It was the normal thing to do; it was acceptable among us and sometimes one of us would even exclaim something along the lines of: “Oh my God, did you see Nick’s status update?!” We all got along wonderfully, and I looked forward to our weekly get-togethers.