de-Facebooking my life

I sometimes can be mistaken for a curmudgeon.  Perhaps it comes with age. Perhaps it’s my field which breeds overly particular engineers obsessing about better ways of doing things.


It’s not an overactive sense of digital privacy that can make me grumpy about tech. On the contrary, I’m actually one to forego a good portion of said privacy in favor of really well-crafted and nearly free online tools, like Gmail/Inbox, music, and more.

Yet, when it comes to Facebook, there are several other very good reasons why I tend to get grumpy.  And like a perfect drug, I keep going back to the poison well.  Let’s look at the good and bad of it.

The Good

Social media used to be so promising, no?  The very possibility of connecting us all to our long lost friends and family, and for free! That’s a nice idea on paper. Facebook has remained chief among the social media platforms.

I’m actually preferring Facebook Marketplace over Craigslist these days.  There are several advantages like:

  • requiring signed-in users before setting up purchases
  • buyers / sellers can be rated on their transactions
  • other details like photo upload, maps, etc. are just more polished

For the longest time, Facebook Messenger used to be a great messaging platform, admittedly ahead of its time.  Google spent years trying to catch up and finally got Hangouts up to speed. And with the development of RCS SMS, texting can now compete.

But lately, Messenger has become bloated, slow, and filled with ads.

The Bad

  • The infinite scroll. Social networks are designed to keep your attention for as long as possible.  Bad for adults, bad for kids.
  • Toxic humanity phenomenon.  Something about the marginal anonymity combined with a lack of true face-to-face interaction makes for a soup of uncivilized behavior.
  • Echo chambers. Opposing viewpoints tend to self-segregate.
  • Vehicle for political espionage.  2016 proved that the Russian spy machine is alive and well and successfully socially hacked the US election.
  • Spam.  Just recently, Facebook admitted to abusing the trust of millions of its user’s phone numbers, ostensibly submitted to take advantage of 2-factor authentication, by spam-texting them.

What to do?

For those like me that aren’t quite willing to delete their Facebook account entirely, there are steps you can take to untangle their knot from your life.

  1. Do not ever let Facebook Messenger have access to your phone’s address book.  If you do, you should remove all those pesky URIs that they embed into each of your contacts, which look like this… “fb://profile/100400246”.
  2. Remove all app links to other services here
  3. Stop using Facebook to login (or create logins) to 3rd party websites.  By doing so, you’re handing the keys over to Facebook for your security.  Instead, create your own secure logins and use a password manager. Don’t rely on Facebook (or any other company) to manage passwords for you except for a trusted password managing software application that resides on your computer/domain.
  4. Consider removing the news feed all together. 
  5. Delete your tracking data without deleting your account.
  6. Block those toxic friends, rather than unfriend them to keep your news feed less triggering or hate-filled.

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