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You don’t have to quit Facebook to manage your relationship with it

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08.07.2019

I dislike Facebook and am generally much happier when I’m away from it. But I can’t stay away completely. I’m a journalist, and many companies and organizations I cover (as well as my sources) have a big presence on the social network. Also, I really want to see photos and videos of my niece and nephew. And as much as I’d like friends and family to use an independent encrypted messaging app like Signal, the vast majority of them are on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp (which, it should be said, do offer encryption technology).

If a Facebook curmudgeon like me can’t get entirely off the network, how can I argue that other people should? From dubious user protections to a timeline full of political rants, deathly-boring status updates, and creepy targeted ads, Facebook can be a real pain in the ass. But I’ve come to accept it as chronic pain, which can be managed and reduced, if not cured.

“People keep banging the ‘delete Facebook’ drum. But for a lot of people, if not most people, that’s just not practical advice,” says Gennie Gebhart of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). “And it’s kind of ridiculous to suggest that you do so.”

Given all the times Facebook has gone back on its word to users about privacy policies, snubbed regulators around the world, and even—according to critics—defied an order from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, it would be naïve to assume the company will always tell the truth. It now appears to be facing a multibillion-dollar FTC fine over violations.

Longtime critic and watchdog Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (which has sued the FTC over its Facebook oversight) says that the only solution is........

© Fast Company