We’ve all seen the news that a political data firm working with Donald Trump was given user data from Facebook to help them out during the election. This has some people so mad they want to leave the social network.
We asked some of our writers, “Do you plan on leaving Facebook after data was used to control an election?”
Alex reports he is “incredibly done” with Facebook, explaining “I have maintained a dormant Facebook account on the off-chance I would require it professionally or the service would improve.” He feels like it has only steadily gotten worse, though. When he logged into his news feed to deactivate his account, he just found trash posts that he didn’t care about. He’s pleased to “wash [his] hands of the platform” and is “pleased to see the back of garbage-pile service and garbage-tier behavior.”
Miguel says he only uses it now for private communication with his mother and friends and notes whenever he discusses something political, he uses other platforms that offer more privacy. But he didn’t withdraw because of the data collection; he withdrew because of accounts being suspended because of “mainstream opinions” they held. All of the posts were in Romanian and dealt with Romanian politics, and he chalks this up to “Facebook’s complicity with the European Union’s objectives.” He plans to work on convincing his family members in the U.S. to communicate through other platforms.
He also notes that data was collected in previous elections in the same way and feels it’s the media who’s “ringing alarm bells” for the more recent election, which he finds interesting, since the data collection was less invasive than in previous elections.
Simon reports that his social circles have a “use Facebook or bust” attitude, meaning he’s tied to using it and can’t quit “unless something backbreaking happens to the service, and people move off it in droves.” He’ll be sure to not install third-party apps, though, or use Facebook sign-in options until it’s rectified.
Ada ditched what she calls “Fakebook” six or seven years ago, despite her friends still using it. Unlike Simon, for her it’s “If you want to hear from me, this won’t happen on Facebook. Use email, the phone, or anything else instead.” She hasn’t heard from some of those friends in years, but it won’t force her to get back on Facebook, as she doesn’t like the tendency to be overly open.
But because of that, she was never posting a lot to Facebook, she doesn’t feel comfortable disclosing information and does not trust any privacy settings she doesn’t have control over. She even warned her friends who believe she is being paranoid. Additionally, she notes how much time it takes to follow your friends and she has too many things to do.
The news of the data collection during the election doesn’t change my mind about Facebook. I will still continue to use it. I admit to being on it more often than I should be. I check it periodically throughout the day. But it fits with my personality. l like to share, and I like to provide commentary on several things. It works for me. And i have different groups of friends on there that I know I wouldn’t be able to keep up with without it.
I noted that the WhatsApp cofounder has joined the “Delete Facebook” movement and wondered if that’s because he feels what Facebook did was wrong or if he feels it will better his own platform.
Miguel figures it’s probably a combination of both. Six of his friends have deleted their accounts entirely “because they were no longer able to make any statement without getting a thirty-day suspension.” He believes the movement is spreading rather quickly, especially in Europe, so figures other platforms will want to take advantage of it.
He’s even considering using WhatsApp to communicate with his family, but not all of them use that, and even less use Telegram, which he suggests using “because of its self-destruct timer that allows for conversations that are at least somewhat protected.”
He still sees Facebook as “the most useful platform for sharing things publicly with the greatest amount of personal connections, but he also believes there are competitors on the horizon.
Simon thinks WhatsApp has a stake against Facebook since Facebook Messenger is a close competitor with WhatsApp. He thinks “they’ll look for any chance they can to strike at the kneecaps of their top competitor” if it means they can come out on top.
It’s interesting, too, with regards to age groups. I’m older, so my friends are on Facebook, but younger people all seem to be on Snapchat. I wonder if there ends up being a mass exodus off Facebook if they’ll go to WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc., or just stay off social media altogether.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you thinking of joining the “Delete Facebook” movement? Or would it be too hard for you to leave your friends? Where will you go instead of Facebook? Do you plan on leaving social media after data was used to control an election? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.