As if just waking up from a hazy dream and shaking off the grogginess of FOMO, we’ve finally decided to join the slew of other businesses and individuals who’re getting shot of their pages and profiles and #deletefacebook.
With fake news influencing presidential elections and catastrophic data breaches exposing the profiles of 50m people, anyone with their head screwed on would say it’s about time. But with the toxic mist of a weird, Stockholm-type syndrome slash class 1 drug addiction still hanging over much of the population, others would say, ‘What the hell are you thinking?’
These words would be music to Zuckerberg’s ears. He’s achieved exactly what he set out to: create a network (marketplace) of billions of dependent users who think they’re getting a great deal, when in reality they are, in fact, themselves the deal.
If you haven’t already found good reason to join the Twitter #deletefacebook bandwagon, we’d be happy to add some more fuel to the evergrowing fire:
You get what you pay for
If a platform can provide a secure and easy to use service that somehow makes life better, the majority of people are willing to part with at least some of their personal data.
But after a series of what can only be called shit storms, Facebook has managed to shatter this trust-based understanding by extruding it to its limits and way, way beyond. Facebook knows everything about you including where you live, when you’re online, what you watch, what you like, your religious beliefs, and who you voted for. It can even recognise your face, as well as that of your mother, and find out when you are somewhere in particular — even if you haven’t told anyone.
Some of this data we knew how and when we shared it with Facebook, most of it we don’t. The fact is, the platform may be free in monetary terms to use, but every moment we pay for it with our data and attention — both of which help Facebook generate its estimated $13 billion in advertising revenue every quarter.
The addict’s dilemma
Every addictive substance under the sun is readily available to pretty much everyone, with two exceptions: they have the money and know where to find it.
Take away those barriers, and suddenly you have a scene reminiscent of the Baltimore heroin epidemic. You could even say worse, as in this case, everyone had a dealer in their pocket but no idea what they were getting themselves in to.
This is the great deception of Facebook: users have essentially been weaned onto a hard drug, without even the satisfaction of knowing it at the time. After years of use, billions of people are now entangled in its intentionally designed “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops”; semi-reluctantly spending their days shooting up, only later to wonder where their time has gone, why they can’t concentrate, why they feel so depressed, and what they’re currently missing out on.
Facebook is perhaps the greatest example of not getting what you were sold. Although Zuckerberg still claims it to be a place for “bringing people closer together”, former execs are coming out and revealing it’s true nature as a classic treadmill-and-carrot machine designed to trap users into a perpetual chase for perfection — with the help of short-term signals like hearts, likes, thumbs up, etc. It’s the ultimate chase for the ultimate high, which, no matter how hard you try, you’ll never achieve because it doesn’t exist.
No service has infiltrated our lives more so than Facebook; we use it for everything from listening to music and ordering taxis to supporting our favourite podcasts and finding a date. It’s woven itself into the very fabric of the social sphere, and if the current wave of scandals doesn’t manage to unhinge it, investors will interpret it as a sure sign that Facebook is a must-have utility — or in other words, the most useful and marketable drug ever.
And then, only the best we can hope for is to settle into the drooling, semi-conscious, cradle-like dependency of the addict’s life. Hey, at least we won’t be paying for it, right?
Join us today and kick the habit: #deletefacebook