- My trust in Facebook has eroded to all-time lows, especially after the company’s past year of scandals.
- Yet, I can’t bring myself to quit Facebook, and I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.
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For more than a year, Facebook has been having a rough go of it.
My colleague Rob Price put together a list of Facebook scandals in 2018, and the list goes on and on. Seriously, go read it – especially if you have a Facebook account.
I’ve read through Rob’s list several times now, and several items horrify me personally.
Between Facebook’s role in stoking the Myanmar genocide, the WhatsApp founders abandoning ship (and one even urging others to do so), the company’s secret deals with smartphone makers giving access to your data, and of course the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Mark Zuckerberg and co. gave users more reason than ever to quit the network. The #DeleteFacebook hashtag has resurfaced countless times now.
And on Thursday, even Facebook’s own cofounder, Chris Hughes,wrote a searing New York Times op-ed arguing that Facebook should be broken up into three separate, publicly traded entities.
But I don’t think I’m leaving Facebook. And odds are, you’re also still on Facebook, and you’re not intending to quit, either.
It’s not like I haven’t thought about it. I’ve seen so many stories and tweets from colleagues and friends about their lack of trust in the social network, and their choice to leave it – for good this time. I totally understand and support those people in their decisions.
I’ve definitely deactivated my Facebook account in the past. But I don’t plan on deleting my account anytime soon.
Show me a better alternative
A better social network may be coming, but it’s not here yet. And the fact is, Facebook is the most popular social network for many different reasons.
Facebook has a great name, great colours, and great branding. It’s also the rare social network in 2019 where everyone still uses their real name. LinkedIn has these things too, but it’s really geared toward professional connections and older folks; you won’t see kids, teenagers, or college students using LinkedIn to share their weekend adventures.
Facebook is also a great place to share photos, since you can tag all of your friends (who doesn’t have Facebook these days?) and they can add those memories to their own walls. I personally use iCloud to share personal photos with family and friends, but I can’t see random friends’ posts on there. Facebook (and Instagram, by extension) is the best place for that.
But the main reason I can’t bring myself to delete Facebook for good is that I’ve accumulated too many memories there.
I have wall posts from high school friends dating back to 2006. I have a big archive of direct messages, happy birthday wishes, and photo tags. I don’t post to Facebook as much these days, but it’s still one of the best websites where you can easily visit your past self. I could download all of that data, but Facebook organizes and presents it all in a better way than I ever could (and with much less effort on my part).
Facebook, for its part, says it is committed to fixing complex issues on its platform in 2019, which include “elections, speech, privacy, and well-being.” But even if those problems aren’t resolved – hell, even if they get worse – I probably still won’t quit Facebook unless there’s a better alternative. So far, no other platform is even close.