Why I finally gave up on Facebook

I have finally done something I have contemplated for a long time: I have deactivated my personal Facebook account.

It has been great to use Facebook to connect with relatives and friends I wouldn’t keep in touch otherwise: my sister in Germany, cousins around the country, ex-in-laws who want to stay connected.

However, I’ve had a number of concerns about Facebook for a long time. After an incident last weekend, it was time to act on them.

Who Likes this?

One of the most frustrating changes in Facebook happened a few years ago, when Facebook started showing your Friends what you’ve Liked. The thought is that they might Like it, too, because they’re your friend.

My friends and my son’s friends used to tease me because I Liked so many things on Facebook. I was just trying to keep these people in my news feed.

Facebook’s change in Likes has backfired in my case. I am Friends with many who have very different views from mine on politics and religion. Most of the time, if I see something I like about these topics in a post, I still won’t Like it, because I know it will offend or hurt these other friends, and I don’t want to do that.

Facebook needs to let users decide whether or not they want their Friends to see what they’ve Liked and Shared.

Facebook advertising

I’ve managed ad campaigns and boosted posts for several clients. On Facebook, the more you advertise, the more you have to spend just to attempt to keep reaching the same number of people. In other words, you get punished for committing to spend money with them. Let me give an example.

I just ran a six-week ad campaign for a client this summer. We spent $20 on the first ad to reach 7,000 to 8,000 people. By then end of the campaign, the last ad for $20 was reaching only 4,000 to 5,000. We’d have to spend more money just to reach the same people we were reaching before.

Contrast this with spending on traditional media — TV, radio or print. I’ll use the Omaha World-Herald as an example. Let’s say I buy an ad that costs $500 to run one time. If I decide to run it four times, the cost goes down. The more frequently I run the ad, the more the cost per ad drops. In addition, the World-Herald will run that ad in other places, too, and offer digital advertising benfits — all for committing to run an ad more frequently.

In other words, with these traditional media, the bigger spending commitment you make, the more benefits you receive. With Facebook, you get punished. You have to spend more and more just to keep reaching the same audience.

Mishandling users’ data

I’ve been greatly concerned about irresponsibly Facebook has collected and distributed their users’ data. The Cambridge Analytica scandal left me angry, scared and sad.

I’ve always known that Facebook’s biggest asset is the data it collects. Since internet security is such an important part of my business, it has been frustrating to watch Facebook Friends play games and take quizzes on apps that tell you they will be taking your Friends’ data, and these people have accepted that. Sorry, I didn’t agree to hand my data over to your game!

Facebook’s lackadaisical approach to mining and selling data has forever changed the fabric of this country, our elections, and our online security. It’s not a change for the better.

Is this the real life?

What has pushed me over the edge, however, is much more personal.

Everyone has Facebook Friends who are what I call “fair weather Facebookers.” They don’t post on their day-to-day lives, the good and the bad. They post only when they’re on a fabulous trip, or want to gush about their wonderful spouse/kids, or want to sell something.

Last weekend, one of those fair-weather folks posted some photos. On the surface, they seem perfectly innocent. But the story behind them was very painful for me. It was like being stabbed in the heart. (And no, I’m not going to share details because I don’t want a big blow-up over this.)

Once I realized that I was crying over Facebook photos, I decided that I’ve finally had enough. And before you say “Why don’t you just unfriend them?”, I’ll just say that doing so would cause even more problems than their posts would create.

I am signing out of Facebook for good for my personal contacts. I have another account that is very private that I will use for clients.

Unless it very specifically meets a client’s needs, I no longer recommend Facebook for most businesses. No matter how much money they spend, they still will not be able to effectively reach all of the people who’ve Liked their page and indicated their interest in keeping up with them. This is ridiculous.

I don’t need to have my data mined, sold and used for nefarious purposes without my consent. I’m tired of not being able to control what I see and do, and how others see it. I have done a lot of filtering on Facebook to eliminate the politics and news posts, because I didn’t want it to be a news feed. 

Mostly, I do not need to participate in a forum that leaves me in tears and breaks my heart, and causes depression and anxiety for so many others. Facebook has a lot of filters. Unfortunately, there’s no way to filter insensitivity and pomposity and cluelessness. I have too many other things to do, professionally and personally, that are far more uplifting.

Those who want to stay in touch can find me on Twitter, Pinterest and the other social media whose icons are found at the bottom of this page.