© 2021 All Rights Reserved. Do not distribute or repurpose this work without written permission from the copyright holder(s).
Printed from https://www.damninteresting.com/to-hell-with-facebook/
The earliest known version of the idiom “the straw that broke the camel’s back” was written by the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury in 1677, though it was concerned with horses and feathers:
“The last Dictate of the Judgement, concerning the Good or Bad, that may follow on any Action, is not properly the whole Cause, but the last Part of it, and yet may be said to produce the Effect necessarily, in such Manner as the last Feather may be said to break a Horses Back, when there were so many laid on before as there want but that one to do it.”
For the past few years, we at Damn Interesting have been hearing from scores of long-time fans who were under the mistaken impression that we had ceased all operations years ago. These fans are typically delighted to hear that a) we are still writing and podcasting; and b) there is a wealth of new content since they last visited. When we ask them what caused the assumption of our demise, they invariably cite the fact that our posts disappeared from their Facebook news feeds.
This trend roughly coincides with Facebook’s introduction of “boosting” for pages; in this new model, according to the stats we can see, Facebook stopped showing our posts to approximately 94% of our followers, demanding a fee to “boost” each post into an ad, which would make it visible to more of our audience. We lost contact with tens of thousands of fans practically overnight. We don’t mind paying for a service if it is valuable, but we absolutely don’t want to reach our audience by buying ad space on Facebook. Yuck. But no other option is given to reach the many people who previously followed our posts, and who presumably want to continue to do so.
We established our Facebook page in 2008 as the fledgling social media site was gaining in currency, and we continued to maintain our page on the side, mostly as an afterthought. In the intervening years Facebook evolved from a dubious curiosity into a megacorporation that is firmly in the service of bad ideas. In a move that feels long overdue, we at Damn Interesting are abandoning all interactions and connections with Facebook.
We really should have done this back when it was revealed that Facebook used the ubiquitous embedded “Like on Facebook” buttons to follow people’s movements around the web without their knowledge or consent. We should have done this when Facebook literally toyed with people’s emotions by showing some people more positive stories in their newsfeeds, and others more negative stories, to see how it would affect their emotional states. We should have done this when it was revealed that Facebook allowed advertisers to target ads to people who expressed interest in topics such as “Jew hater.” We should have done this so many times before.
To the tens of thousands of fans who follow us on Facebook: our sincere apologies. You’re probably not seeing most of our posts there, anyway. For the few who do still see them, we no longer wish to share content on Facebook which might cause people to spend time there. We hope you’ll stay in touch via one of our multiple non-Facebook options.
Our reasons for leaving are not entirely abstract. We’re sure many of you, like us, have experienced first-hand how Facebook gives people license to be their worst selves. It can elevate mere differences of political opinion into anger and hostility, pushing friends and family into extreme views, turning loved ones into ugly caricatures of their former selves. Perhaps you have even regretted some of your own posts there; the Facebook interface is designed to make it difficult to engage in good-faith disagreements. It gives undeserved forum to misinformation, disinformation, and hate. Using Facebook has been scientifically demonstrated to cause depression. Facebook subtracts from the quality of the world at a magnitude seldom seen in history, and we’ll all be better off when it goes away.
Yes, we know Facebook is not the only harmful corporation on Earth, but sweet-jeepers-boy-howdy it is a blood-curdling fart in the elevator of existence. Some call it a “necessary evil,” but if that’s the case let’s do all we can to make it unnecessary.
There is a now-infamous chat log between Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and a friend of his in college, wherein Zuckerberg offers to share private user information, and sums up his opinion of the people who use Facebook as “dumb f***s.” We must reluctantly concede the point. We must truly be dumb f***s to have waited this long to rid ourselves of the hot garbage juice that is Facebook.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve had any particularly unpleasant Facebook experiences. Perhaps it will prove cathartic.
Goodbye Facebook, but not farewell.
© 2021 All Rights Reserved. Do not distribute or repurpose this work without written permission from the copyright holder(s).
Printed from https://www.damninteresting.com/to-hell-with-facebook/
Since you enjoyed our work enough to print it out, and read it clear to the end, would you consider donating a few dollars at https://www.damninteresting.com/donate ?
the non facebook options link goes to a 404. :(
Better late than never.
Nice to see a mainstream site catching on. With luck, you won’t be the last.
The more people abandon social media, the happier the world will be.
First (-ly second)
And agreed, no facebook for me for many a year. It all seemed like a lot of work having an opinion on so many peoples photos of their dinner.
Damn… fourth then. I was too slow pressing go.
Hello! I am glad to see you are severing ties with Facebook. I did it over a year ago due to how they use your information without your knowledge, and their holier-than-thou attitude. I don’t miss it one bit! The challenge is convincing my friends to ditch it, too. I point out that there are several alternatives you could use for social media, like the burgeoning MeWe website, who guarantee they don’t use personal information, and reportedly is has exploded in use by disheartened post-Facebook users. There are no ads that I’ve seen either. They make their money by selling emojis, premium memberships and the like. So far, with the exception of a few crazy folks, it is a MUCH better experience!
I’d like to see you move your platform there for daily/weekly updates and conversation.
I “Like” your decision to terminate all ties with Facebook
I also refuse to do business with FB, on completely moral and ethical grounds. They are an organization with a low bar for excellence and a voracious appetite for profits at any cost, imho, and have done more to harm our nation than any politician. I applaud your decision!
Obviously, the big kahunas at FB, Twitter, et al read Orwell’s 1984 and were big fans of big brother and the potential of being Big Bros themselves. May Karma reward them as much as they richly deserve. Pox upon their houses.
Never liked the idea of social media anyhow, and I don’t use any of it. Glad to hear the ties are being cut by one of my favorite websites, even if it has no impact to me anyhow.
Good for you, Damn Interesting! The BookyFace is a scourge upon the earth and NO ONE should use it.
So well said. I’ll refrain from further commentary at this point as truthful comments regarding Facebook can get rather inappropriate.
I wish I could say I saw this far ahead, but the truth is I never joined Facebook because I’m too anti-social for social media. ;)
I knew I liked you guys. Now even more.
I’d be delighted to sign up for a DI patreon.
Not before time and good for you. FB is toxic. I get your updates via RSS, Yeah, I know, How Quaint. If any of you doubt the extent of FB’s intrusion, download your data and take a look at the sites that have shared your data with them. Then send DI some cash
fakeook has one single goal: pleasing advertisers and grab as much money as possible. That’s how you turn a great idea to connect people into a garbage can where algorithms give the worst morons with a faul mouth the most attention, simply because more clicks are more dollars for Suckerboy. THAT is the biggest problem with fakebook. My deepest sympathy to you and the rest of the team.
PS: I don’t need fakebook to find your next work of art, the Damn e-mail works Interestingly perfectly. Keep rocking!
I heartily agree with your decision!
But I do know you need money to stay around, and I have made a donation both today and in the past, so while I appreciate all you’ve done for free maybe it’s time to consider a small “membership fee” say monthly?
I know you might hate the very idea butm then again, I would hate to see you and this site vanish!
I was booted from FB because I don’t have a mobile phone number to enter, and now it’s been done with T! wow, I never thought they’d stoop to FB levels but c’est la vie. Life must go on, and I’ve been looking for alternative sites. Losing followers is the hardest part indeed but there are others.
I quit FB six years after I found out how deep their tracking was. My dislike of the spy agency has only deepened since then.
Mr. Bellows, thank you for leaving it.
Damn Interesting is perhaps the reason I even go onto facebook . That and keeping in touch easily with far away family members . Everything else about it truly sucks .
It’s so damn poisonous. I have watched it ruin friends lives and ruin family relationships for a decade. I have arguably watched it transform national politics, group identities, and peoples ability to debate using reason and with civility. This post was certainly cathartic.
Unfortunately, in some countries, facebook is essential for gathering local information in the English language.
I am four years Facebook free and haven’t missed it for a single second! I reluctantly signed up again when moving house recently to use the Marketplace function, as there are precious few alternatives to that in my country for selling online, but I have no ‘friends’ and clicked away from the newsfeed as fast as possible lest I be stricken with PTSD from the sight of it.
Have also donated to show my support, but I second the commenters that have mentioned a subscription service such as Patreon. I am happy to pay for content I enjoy and deem valuable!
Hopefully you guys don’t get rid of your RSS feed, I don’t love you enough to put up with a mailing list.
BRAVOOOOOOOO !!!! Damn brave and bold decision.
Glad to see this. I’ve never been on Facebook and try to avoid its tracking, but my wife is, and frankly needs to be because some times it’s the only source of up to date information from some groups/clubs/places.
I do agree with all the points you make about how bad FB is (it may even be worse), but some of your terms may be a little unnecessarily mean – I’m sure most of the people who work there are actually trying to do good things. Its some terrible accident which has made harnessing some of the worst aspects of human nature so profitable.
I’m with you on quitting the sewer that is Facebook. It took me a bit to quit, as it is pretty much the sole source for some friends/acquaintances/businesses to communicate, sadly.
But I finally said enough in January of this year. I refuse to participate in that “business model” any longer. Two regrets – that I didn’t do it sooner, and that more of my friends can’t remember how we kept in touch before FB – e-mails, phone calls, even letters (gasp!). Oh for the good old days….
I love your site! I get your very few email sends. Have for years. I tell friends about you. I never even think of you in FB.
I have a page in FB simply because for SO many folks it’s their only internet portal. They just don’t know any better. Sad that they have to see the world through FB. But not everyone is that smart.
Well done. I stopped using Facebook years ago because of the clawing sense of malaise I felt building with every second I spent on there. Sadly this also meant losing contact with many friends who remain under it’s spell, so I totally sympathise with your situation. However, I will offer this; I was reading Damn Interesting before Facebook was a thing, I’ve continued and will continue reading it (and donate now and then), and I never even knew until now that there was a Facebook page for it. So, I suspect that you will lose only those people who are plugged into Facebook to the exclusion of all else.
“turning loved ones into ugly caricatures of their former selves.” I watched helpless as over the course of several years this happened to my wife. It was and still is tragic.
I salute your choice to free yourself of FB! I myself also stopped using them a few years ago. There are other platforms that need the same sort of action taken against them as well and hopefully people will soon wake from their sleeping wokeness.
Bravo! and +1 for RSS.
When you guys say that FB is scientifically proven to cause depression, why not provide a link / citation ?
@Andrei: Under “Sources and More Information”, see the link titled “A New, More Rigorous Study Confirms: The More You Use Facebook, the Worse You Feel”.
I have been a fan for a long time. No idea how I came across your site, but Facebook was never the main way I followed you. Back in the day, it was the regular emails from some Alan Bellows (clearly a fake joke name ;) ) character that kept me engaged. I checked and apparently I got a test email in 2008 and regular article updates starting in 2012.
I deleted facebook many, many years and many, many computers ago, and if I go to the site, my login info is still neatly printed in the appropriate places. They’re like an evil turd that is stuck forever in the treads of your shoe…
Bully for you. I’ve been getting your stories via RSS for years. Keep up the good work.
Amen! 8 months Facebook free. People were using our personal tragedy for their own agendas, people we considered friends and family. To push propaganda. Sickening.
It’s not always fun (I miss baby pics!) but I am more centered and focused on my own goals. I’m still detoxing from the emotional rollercoaster that posts and comments would activate me in ways pleasant and unpleasant.
I am not of the political persuasion it seems the writers of this site lean, but I can whole-heartedly give a hear-hear! to all the sentiments contained within this one. I left Facebook last year because of its extreme toxicity and its facade, or the one it allows people to create of themselves. It needs to die, so people can re-engage in real life.
Good on y’all! I’m a proud RSS subscriber, and I hope y’all continue your excellent work without paying the Facebook protection fee.
Within a few years from now, Facebook will have permanently sunk and disappeared in the same way as MySpace, Friendster, and Google Plus and the rest of those other web sites did.
Also deleted my account there earlier this year. Now I can concentrate on doing meaningful things in my life. The _increased_ amount I’ve learned by filling facebook-time with reading and lecture time is staggering. I only wish I had done it years earlier. It’s like finding out your car’s gas pedal goes down an extra inch.
Good on you!
I like to keep in touch with my family on Facebook, but the proportion of advertisements is slowly drowning out meaningful content. They are killing the goose for the golden eggs. I’ve noticed fewer posts from my friends and family over the past months.
Hello. Thanks. Well done. Good explanation. Thanks Alan. Keep up the good work
When I quit FB a year or so ago, I got back in the habit of regularly checking my favorite sites, Damn Interesting included. Sad to say several of them had grown so dependent on FB posting that their actual websites were months or years behind. Kudos to you for not being one of those!
By the time I might have been interested, the FB intrusive business model was coming to light so I never set up a FB account. If you’re REALLY serious about quitting FB, though you should go through your investments and take a look at the holdings of any mutual funds in the Tech or Communications sector and dump them there, too. Then tell your friends. Otherwise, it’s a little like cutting poison ivy down and planting poison ivy seed at the same time.
Your content speaks for itself. You don’t need FB to survive. Great move!
Absolutely correct, Facebuck is a plague and you do not at all need them.
Love your work and have since the beginning.
Great article…I dumped FB almost a year ago. I also pulled my business page. It’s a very unethical business and I think it comes from the top. A company’s business model will obviously lead to the behavior of that model. And for FB it’s not good for many greedy reasons. I’ve been on a different social media site for a few years. Starts with Me and ends with We ;) Much better.
Deleting Facebook was one of the best decisions I’ve made in recent years. I’m moving back to RSS.
I have never had a FB account, and I am very happy to hear whenever someone drops theirs. Congratulations!
I have a dozen or so MIFFFs- Media Illiterate Former Facebook Friends. In each instance I would politely (and privately via Direct Message) fact check an obviously fake Meme they posted about Firearms or Taxes or Covid etc. In almost every instance they would at first reply politely even thanking me for the info. However in the case of the MIFFFs they would continue to post outright falsehoods and eventually get angry at me for pointing this out. I would then send them a private message saying that they had joined my MIFFF club. In actuality they have proven themselves worse than Media Illiterate because when faced with facts they continued to share MISINFORMATION, THEREFORE THEY ARE IN FACT PROPAGANDISTS.
I’ve never had a Facebook account. When it fist came out and people were telling me about it, it sounded like an online bragging platform. Turns out it is much worse. People say things to other people that they would never say in person. Now its turned into full propaganda according to whatever zuck wants you to think.
Great article and I couldn’t agree more.
I deleted my Facebook page back in February and my mind truly feels more at ease.
Thank you! You rock!
Half the feed these days is just one of my friends responding to one of those engagement traps like “Show us your smarts! How many words can you think of end with –
I think it’s about time that others got together to create a new facebook style app. Make it unable to share outside a persons wants… Make it safebook. Make it integrate with facebook using a browser interface… Give a person a “migrate” option…
Never seen Facebook as necessary. Joined in 2007 to read a message someone has sent me using the platform and never been back on it since. I tried, but could never see the point of it so left it alone. Been glad I did ever since :)
All done DI for having the courage/sense to break ties with the monstrosity that is FB
You lost me here. What you are asking for is censorship from Big Brother, and then turn around and criticize Facebook for wanting to be Big Brother. Can’t have it both ways. btw, I don’t do Facebook/Twitter/etc either, for many of the reasons you state, but for the opposite of this reason:
We’re sure many of you, like us, have experienced first-hand how Facebook gives people license to be their worst selves. It can elevate mere differences of political opinion into anger and hostility, pushing friends and family into extreme views, turning loved ones into ugly caricatures of their former selves. Perhaps you have even regretted some of your own posts there; the Facebook interface is designed to make it difficult to engage in good-faith disagreements. It gives undeserved forum to misinformation, disinformation, and hate. Using Facebook has been scientifically demonstrated to cause depression.
My unpleasant Facebook experience was that every time I tell someone that I have never had a facebook account, people act like I said I was a mass murder that escaped from prison.
For obvious reasons (see below), I prefer anonymity. I have been the victim of identity theft twice (2019 and 2020). After the 2019 theft, I purchased security and identity theft protection services. Through these apps, I discovered that the 2019 theft source had come from Facebook (and Facebook subsidiaries) breaches THAT WERE NOT COMMUNICATED TO FACEBOOK MEMBERS. I immediately charged my Facebook personal and security information. I lost approximately $300.00 from unrecovered charges, but my bank and PayPal were able to recoup the rest. I changed a lot of passwords.
Then in 2020 it happened again. Thanks to my security apps, I was notified immediately. More password changes, some accounts closed. My birthdate, address, phone number, partial SS# are still on the dark web. I keep my Credit Reporting Agencies’ accounts locked.
Then I realized that Facebook had NEVER informed its members of ANY breaches.
I closed my Facebook account just after the second breach. But their policy states that they (and any companies linked to them) keep my personal data for six months “in case I change my mind.”
I do not trust that they permanently delete my information. I do not know what regulators make certain that they do. I do not know with whom they shared my information. I do know that they have no regard for their clients when breaches occur.
From EYES OPENED
This is wise. I left social media years ago, but I do miss it as a way to keep up on these things, and also with people we don’t have time to spend real time with. It’s a shame so few care about these issues as I don’t see a respectful alternative SM gaining speed. Thank you for your wonderful work!
Years ago, two friends, both heads of cybersecurity for huge, immediately recognizable companies, recommended that I avoid Facebook at all costs, as it comprised the most severe “attack vectors” known. No Facebook for me! And I feel fine.
Never felt the need for social media, and when I saw what was happening to my relatives and friends, I immediately knew why.
Several of these people have turned into total zombies, and have really lost their minds.
I’ve seen what they have done to discource in the country, and the division they caused.
This week their stock took a huge hit and Suckface lost a huge amount of money. Too bad I say!!
Alan, (if that’s ur real name)! keep up the good work, love the stories, great reading, but please don’t make ur sight a pay
site, because I have very limited recources, I’ve been a reader for almost 10 yrs, and I would hate to give up the stories.
Yes fake book is a cancer to social media zuck is a sell out of American free speech he should move to China they’ll fix him.
I just reactivated my fb account after five plus years of bliss because my daughter is starting (public) school and the official website has been abandoned in favor of a Facebook group.
Well said. Well done.
Too busy in real world to let fb waste my time