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I Stopped Using Facebook And Privacy Has Nothing To Do With It
Facebook and the 21st century seem to be synonymous with the age of digital advancements and connectivity. As one of the most popular and powerful social media platforms, Facebook has millions of users across the globe. But over time Facebook has lost its old-world charm. At least I feel so. And so, I quit Facebook a long time ago.
My name is pretty unique and one can easily find me online, thanks to Google. But still, you won't find me on Facebook. Data mismanagement, privacy, and other such factors are few of the reasons why I quit the platform. But still, you'll find me on WhatsApp and Instagram that are no better! The prime reason I cut ties with Facebook goes much beyond privacy and data security.
Why I’m Not On Facebook Anymore
I've always been active on social media platforms, right from the time of Orkut. Facebook came to India when domestic internet connections were still budding in the country. Back then, the time you could spend on the internet (doing whatever with your parents at your back) was directly proportional to the grades you got!
Cut to, Facebook came in as a means of connecting with all your pals. That friend you lost contact with after elementary school was suddenly popping up in the ‘People You Might Know' suggestions. This way, I too found several friends of mine on Facebook. But as time passed by, I began finding people I didn't want to see anymore!
The people I wanted to avoid were removed from my friend list. Yet, their photos were appearing on my Feed because another friend of mine had liked it. Why was Facebook still showing me content that I was trying to avoid? Facebook surely brought in better controls on what I was viewing, but it simply wasn't satisfactory anymore.
Facebook Feels Like An Utterly, Clutterly Mess
As Facebook progressed, its UI changed several times. But over time, the Facebook UI started to lose its charm. I was using Facebook even before the app arrived. And the web version felt pretty messy. Facebook had clearly changed its tactics to simply connecting people to making them spend more time on its platform, while it collected more data.
The minute I opened Facebook (web or the app), the number of red dotted notifications triggered alarms in my brain. Without being aware, I had liked, shared, and become part of several pages and groups on Facebook. These red dotted notifications were simply bating me to click on it, check who did what, eventually spending more time on the platform.
What's worse? Finding the settings to get out of these groups and pages was another mess. I began to realize I was hardly active in these groups, I didn't really connect with most people on my friend list, and yet - Facebook's notifications continued to show that I missing out on important aspects of other people's lives!
Zuckerberg Still Gets My Data; Thanks To WhatsApp, Instagram
For those thinking I quit Facebook over data and privacy concerns, I still use WhatsApp and Instagram. I completely switched to Instagram around the time Facebook bought it. Instagram's idea of simply sharing photos was videos was appealing. But later, the new features on the platform were cloning Snapchat. Nevertheless, I stuck on to Instagram as my go-to social media platform.
Facebook also owns WhatsApp, India's widely used messaging app. All my contacts are on WhatsApp and it works as the prime source of communication. So, if Zuckerberg wanted my data, he'll have plenty of it via Instagram and WhatsApp, even if I'm not on Facebook.
Interestingly, Statista data shows, as of July 2021, India has the highest number of Instagram and Facebook users with 180 million and 340 million users, respectively. Research also shows Facebook is more popular in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, whereas Instagram is widely used in tier 1 cities. WhatsApp is more generic and is used by all strata of the population. With this, Facebook surely has enough data on Indian users!
I Quit Facebook And Nothing Changed
It's been years since I deleted my Facebook account. And while I was doing so, Facebook ensured to show a list of people who might miss me. In reality, I talk to most of these people daily and no, they don't miss me!
Instagram, on the other hand, is much better for now. The number of red dot notifications is manageable. Moreover, I can follow/unfollow anyone or group much easily than Facebook Groups. The ads are surely a menace now and I can imagine them coming on WhatsApp too. But for now, I'll stick to Facebook-owned apps rather than its main platform.