I Quit Facebook, and You Should Too

Facebook is like an abusive spouse. You will be happier and less stressed without it.

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

Dear Facebook,

On December 1, 2019, I gave myself an early Christmas present. I quit you. I threw you out like the bag of garbage you are. No more bickering from friends in the comments of posts. No more political arguments. No more echo chamber. And I couldn’t be happier. I’m free of your abuse forever, and I‘m not looking back.

I was never an addicted, rabid user, thank goodness. I joined several years in and mostly ignored you while I lived on a sailboat without a stable internet connectivity. But you helped me to reconnect with some old friends when I went to my 30th high school reunion. I had a good time, but just like with high school friends, we immediately went about our lives and lost touch again. You were just an overblown phone book, a contact list gathering dust, names for which I had little memory and no affection. And you droned on and on and on, echoing the same crap over and over again. Same crap, different day.

You never cared about us any of us. You used us. You’re like the neighborhood drug dealer, making friends with us to get us addicted to you and then stripping us of dignity and self-worth. You divided us from each other, pitting friend against friend, who could have more friends, more likes, more pictures. When you did bad, you’d apologize and say you’d never do it again. And then you’d do it again.

You’re like the neighborhood drug dealer, making friends with us to get us addicted to you and then stripping us of dignity and self-worth.

Especially during this pandemic, I know many people use your groups to create communities, share knowledge, and have group events. But I don’t need you. I’ve broken those bonds. I’ve found different ways to connect with others. And I’m encouraging everyone I know to try other avenues for connecting. You’re a dead-end street. And I won’t be seduced by your power. You are a mean bully.

And I see you are in the news again this morning. You are a sanctuary for conspiracy theorists who attack our nation’s health care workers during this pandemic. “Dr. Dr. Halazun opened his Facebook page to find a man insisting to him that ‘no one’s dying’ and that the coronavirus is ‘fake news’ drummed up by the news media.”

Obviously, you could do something about this disinformation but you don’t. You never do. Dr. Halazun has since stopped engaging with the trolls on Facebook, some of whom claimed that “the hospitals are empty” and that the virus was part of a plot to vaccinate or microchip U.S. citizens — just two of the many conspiracy theories that have swirled around the coronavirus. WTF, man? How much of your bullshit do we have to put up with? I hope to read your obituary some day. I will eulogize you the way Dr. Hunter S. Thompson eulogized Nixon, kicking you to hell.

You’re a dead-end street. And I won’t be seduced by your power. You are a mean bully.

You have enough power and money to last lifetimes and be a good citizen, but you aren’t living up to it. You should drown in your own vomit of lies.

Enough is enough! I’ve given you multiple chances, Facebook, but you just don’t change. You slapped me once too often and kept disappointing me.

You are a sanctuary for conspiracy theorists who attack our nation’s health care workers during this pandemic.

You’re also not very smart. You’ve left breadcrumbs of all your bad deeds behind you, records of yourself with the red Solo cup in your hand. Rule #1: Everything that gets posted on the internet stays there forever.

1. You manipulated users’ emotions

The first time you hit me was back in January 2012. I should have walked out and quit then. You manipulated 689,003 users’ emotions for science and never apologized. Basically, you used your loyal followers as unwitting guinea pigs. You removed “either all of the positive posts or all of the negative posts to see how it affected their moods.”

Normally, when conducting experiments that involve human subjects in research labs must undergo an ethics review before an Institutional Review Board (IRB) to make sure that no subjects will be harmed. The IRB is charged with “protect[ing] the rights and welfare of human research subjects recruited to participate in research activities conducted under the auspices of the institution with which it is affiliated.” Institutions get in big trouble if they conduct human subject experiments without considering the welfare of the subjects. It curbs experiments that could lead to grave physical or psychological injury.

But what’s that to you? Nothing. In fact, because you’re a bully with a big bankroll, you didn’t even apologize. You just paid the fine and went right on doing your research. Why ask for permission or get approvals when you can just act badly, pay a fine, and go on with your life? I’m sure you sleep soundly at night. Most bullies do. You celebrated by having an IPO that year.

But what about those who you served negative posts to? How did those people sleep? Imagine you were mentally ill. Imagine for that week in January 2012 that the only thing served to you at that time was negative posts. That would be devastating to someone with a mental illness. Yet, you didn’t care. You are the devil.

2. You’re an instrument of genocide

Your scandalous behavior just keeps getting worse. Didn’t anyone ever teach you that gossiping and spreading falsehoods makes you evil? So when your name came up as instrumental in helping the Myanmar government’s genocide against Muslim Rohingya minority, nobody was really that shocked. People were saddened that you haven’t learned a damn thing. Genocide is bad — it doesn’t matter who it’s against. Learn some 20th century history, Einstein. You just don’t get it and keep hurting people.

With all your potential for bringing people together, and with your big bankroll, you could be a force for good. But you’re just a spineless thug. Get out of my face.

3. Your user data leads to election manipulation

Oh yeah, let’s not forget Cambridge Analytica either. You had a big role to play in the 2016 election. Someone wasn’t minding the store as that data was used by trolls and troll farms to manipulate voters in that ignominous election. We are still feeling the effects of that election today. Don’t you see that? Your actions directly influence this White House administration’s crappy response to the pandemic by getting this insane, incompetent narcissistic thug and con man elected *President of the United States. That’s right — you buddied up with power and are as big an asshole as those you call friends. People are dying. And yet you go on. You lying sack of …

4. You never learn

Do you ever learn? No, not a bit. You have already weighed in on the upcoming 2020 election by deciding not to fact check political ads. So lying is okay now? I mean, politics includes mud-slinging, but you condone outright lies from being posted as long as your pockets continue to be lined.

There are rules to a free culture and free speech, you know. Advertisers can’t just outright lie on television. But you keep treating the internet like the wild west that it is and won’t fact check political ads. And of course, our Liar in Chief is making lying ads as we speak to put on Facebook, and you are saying “sure…just keep the money coming in.” I understand why we need more regulation of internet companies. You’re the scum on the bottom of garbage cans.

5. You abuse your users’ trust

How many apology tours has Mama Zuckerberg taken on your behalf? I mean, mothers will defend their kids to the death. “Just look at that Face(book),” he coos. Mama Zuckerberg will defend you even if you lie, cheat, and steal — even kill — and he’ll even lie for you. How many millions in fines do you pay and just keep doing the same thing? FTC fined you $5,000,000,000 — that’s 5 BILLION — largest ever fine for a tech company for violating user privacy. And we thought you liked us. You’re just using us! Bully!!

6. You are guilty by association

And then cozying up to Fascist-in-Chief in secret meetings. Great optics there. I’m sure you’re just figuring out a way to keep regulation from your door and seeing just how many advertising dollars you can get from those lying ads. Think about just who that White House resident likes: Putin, Kim Jong Un, Duterte, and Zuckerberg. Yeaaah. Good company you keep. Guilty by association. You disgust me. Get out of my sight!

You might remember MySpace or Napster, right? You don’t hear about those so much anymore. I hope someday you are like MySpace, a thing of the past, a name that sounds vaguely familiar.

That used to be a big thing, right? Whatever happened to it?

That’s your future!

I will tell anyone I know what a jerk you are. And I hope more people join me by kicking you and throwing you to the curb.

I’ve made my life better by quitting bad habits. I’ve quit added sugars. I’ve quit smoking. I’ve quit emotionally manipulative partners. And I’ve quit you, Facebook.

Of all the things I’ve ever quit, I’m proudest of quitting smoking. But you are a close 2nd. You’re not even good enough to be the worst. But you’re the worst of bullies, and I hope something happens to you and you die a miserable death.

You’re a disgusting, worthless … thing! You don’t deserve any more of my attention.

Nope! No…more…chances. Get out! Go!

Lee G. Hornbrook taught college English for 25 years in every time zone in the continental United States. He writes about sailing, movies, literature, baseball, growing up in the San Fernando Valley and is at work on a memoir. Find him on Twitter @awordpleaseblog and at his personal blog A Word, Please, or his Medium publication Valley Dude.

Writer, Editor. Vegan, Sailor, Non-conformist. Former college writing teacher. **I Write. Mostly Words. Every Day.** https://awordplease.blog

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