Honestly, if Facebook was a partner, we would have left it years ago. Yet, after repeatedly breaking our trust, we remain. Tsk tsk tsk.
By the time you read this, it will be too late. A genetic doppelganger of you already exists, suspended in green goo underneath Facebook HQ, a Frankenstein’s monster of meta-data, credit card details, and excess dopamine. Zuckerberg’s cronies do not need you, as they already have you.
But, should you just quit the platform entirely? Well, let’s look at the evidence.
Back in July, Facebook agreed to pay, per Time, “a record $5 billion settlement” to resolve an investigation into privacy violations, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced. The company will also create an “independent privacy committee” to ensure “greater accountability at the board of directors level,” an FTC press release says. But the settlement won’t affect Facebook’s corporate governance structure, which lets Zuckerberg hold sway over the company’s “actions.”
Time went further, stating: “Facebook has promised to clean up its act when it comes to privacy matters. But the social media giant’s missteps have nonetheless cost it the trust of some users. 74% of adult Facebook users have either adjusted their privacy settings in the last year, taken a break from the site, or deleted the Facebook app from their phones, according to the Pew Research Center.”
And why would we trust them? They’ve earned our mistrust.
In 2018, Facebook broke the Biometric Information Privacy Act, a law that forbids stealing people’s faces. The method? Facebook’s questionable facial recognition software, one that can create a user’s face print based on measurements of the person’s facial features, such as their nose bridge, eyelids, and the width of their lips. This function had to be turned off.
Facebook claimed the technology was a security feature which would start to notify users when a photo of them is uploaded even if they had not been “tagged” in the photo or are not connected as “friends” to the person who uploaded the photo.
However, the snag in the system is that the uploader has to have their privacy settings set to public in order for the person to be notified.
Plus, there’s Cambridge Analytica, their limp response to revenge porn, launching a news service with Breitbart (a publication that paid Milo Yiannopoulos), and the very visceral hell they put their moderators through.
If not for that, maybe yourself, and perhaps to finally murder that 2008 you, the one that thought insults were comedy and the intake of party drugs were heroic.
So, how do you do it?
Well, removing yourself from the Matrix is easy.
Per Time, “navigate to the Setting page through the downward-facing arrow at the top right side of the site. Click the Your Facebook Information link under Security and Login and navigate to the Delete Your Account and Information link. Once there, you’ll have the option to Deactivate Account, which will allow you to either keep Messenger access, Download Your Information, or Delete Account.”
There are two caveats. First, you’ll have thirty days to change your mind and, second, you’ll have to deal with some very personal guilting from Facebook HQ.
Now, you’re free. Free to do whatever it was we all did before 2007, before we traded in our personalities, interests, and pertinent data for click-recognition and poorly-worded (and utterly fetid) status updates.