asher63 (asher63) wrote,

After facebook.

I created an account on facebook on October 7, 2007 - two months after moving back to San Francisco, and two weeks after Bunny came into the world. I was a reluctant joiner, and had mixed feelings about facebook from the beginning. For quite a while, my profile carried the disclaimer: "I am not really a facebook person"; at heart, my loyalties always lay with LiveJournal.

But the main purpose of social media is to connect with other people, and the more people that are already using the platform, the more attractive it becomes. fb made it easy to connect with old schoolmates and long-lost friends. And with friends-of-friends searches, it was easy to find new people with whom you shared common friends, experiences, or interests.

I was puzzled and suspicious when I first started using facebook and discovered that the activity feed (it used to be called a "wall") is not simply a straightforward listing of friends' posts in chronological order, as it is in LJ and DW. It's selected by fb's algorithm; and where there's selection, there can be manipulation.

As we all know, fb's userbase grew and grew, to the point where it could be measured in the billions; while LiveJournal and DreamWidth slipped into obscurity.

That's a lot of power for one company to wield. No doubt you've already heard some of the controversy around fb's increasingly capricious and high-handed censoring of users - mostly conservative users. There were the bannings and stints in "facebook jail" for unspecified breaches of vaguely defined "community standards". More insidious was the practice of "shadow-banning", where a user's posts would be quietly hidden from the feeds of others. Conservative groups with thousands of users - like Brandon Straka's #WalkAway project - vanished overnight without warning.

Long story short, this week I decided I'd finally had enough. So, after more than 13 years on facebook, I downloaded my data file, sent contact information to the people I wanted to stay in touch with, and deleted my account.

And I feel great.
Tags: #walkaway, facebutt, politics

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