When I first joined Facebook a decade ago, I used it to communicate with far flung friends. Over time, as the company grew, I began to solely post material critical of their ruthless commodification of life and their reckless disregard for the consequences of their data exploitation. I eventually deleted my account. As can be seen from this typical profile picture I used on Facebook, it stopped being a personal outlet for me. I want to share the factors I considered in deleting, after reading numerous articles on the subject that did not address the reasons I quit.
I did not delete my account out of concern over my privacy, controlling my data, removing my traces, or anger over the Cambridge Analytica 'scandal.' Violating privacy is not only the Facebook business model - it is the business model of most online companies. There is nothing scandalous about their work with Cambridge Analytica, this is routine - a recent example of dozens is provided by the Daily Dot in Facebook gave your data away to Apple and Amazon. After decades of researching the global surveillance apparatus, I have no illusions around data gathering, collection, analysis, psyops, Cointelpro, Echelon, Carnivore, Tempest, Palantir, Prism, etc. - backwards, forwards, sideways, inside, outside, local or global.
I deleted my account to be one less commodity helping to create the conditions that allow the duopoly of Facebook and Google to manipulate emotions/politics across large sectors of humanity, to use artificial intelligence to predict and change behavior, to have no transparency in their meddling in politics while being grotesquely disingenuous about it, to recklessly drown users in misinformation in an intensifying online information war, to dominate advertising so fully that they eliminate revenues for critical, investigative newsmedia sources.
I deleted my account because Facebook uses tax havens to avoid investing in the infrastructure of the Bay Area, while it is increasing income inequality in the area, so significantly that even the World Bank has been critical, and though Zuckerberg is a billionaire, his company disgracefully displaces working class people in the area (10 local governments along the West Coast have had to declare states of emergency because of displacement into homelessness). On the flip side, their philanthropy is more damaging than helpful.
I deleted Facebook because the company culture is libertarian, in line with the ethos of Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley libertarians remain entranced by Ayn Rand - besides being a pathetically bad writer, she is one of the most incompetent, illogical, and hypocritical figures in history.
I deleted Facebook because of their work with police departments and the military, and their collaborations with ICE, which go hand in hand with Google's work with the military.
Facebook will continue issuing misleadingly benevolent statements that it is improving accountability and transparency and not misusing artificial intelligence against users only because they do not want to lose advertisers. Here is a video of Zuckerberg's misleading 2017 commencement speech at Harvard where he is talking, in tears, about the injustice of US immigration policy - while Facebook works with ICE - detailed not only in the Intercept, but in Fortune, and in NBC News. This level of cynical speech and behavior means Zuckerberg is a genuine monster. Even with all the publicity on their abuses, Facebook earned $4.99 billion in the first three months of 2018 (on sales of $11.97 billion).
These are some of the primary reasons I deleted my account with Facebook. I have written more extensively on the negative impact of Facebook and Google on the social contract in Situating the Web of the Necro-Techno Complex in the journal Performance, Religion and Spirituality. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing some of the numerous methods developed by activists, artists, critics, scholars, tech workers and former employees of Facebook and Google on how to address the deeply divisive problems these technologies are introducing.