Putting it mildly, Facebook had a rough time. Between massive data breaches and all the fake news, Facebook is in the middle of a public reckoning that is long overdue. In a recently posted article where is was stated that Facebook has peaked and it is downhill from there on, we explored how Facebook has simply grown too big and it is too large to police itself.
However, Facebook users, on the other hand, seems to be in a moment of a broader cultural backlash against the social media. After the 2016 elections, trust in the social media has been declining steadily and with the new incident about Cambridge Analytica’s data harvest, people have simply resorted to deleting their Facebook accounts.
#DeleteFacebook has been trending on the social network. Even WhatsApp’s founder posted on deleting their Facebook account. However, deleting Facebook is not as easy as it seems. For many those who simply use Facebook to share photos with friends and family, or just to keep in touch, deleting Facebook accounts may be a viable option. But for the rest, those who depend on Facebook on daily basis for their jobs, deleting Facebook is not the best option.
Here’s some of the problems you will face on deleting your Facebook account.
Social Sign ins
Facebook allows you to sign into a lot of places without having to create an account. Yes, it is true that the data Cambridge Analytica collected is from an app that you had to sign in using Facebook’s account, but those are one in a million cases. A lot of other legitimate websites allow you to sign in using your Facebook account. Once you delete your Facebook account, you lose all access to those websites.
Job or Education
A lot of people regularly use Facebook for their jobs. These include those working social media managers or those who collaborate over Facebook. A lot of people also use Facebook as an advertising platform for small to medium businesses. A lot of school and college people also use Facebook Groups. It is a very familiar and well connected collaboration tool. Also, with everyone on Facebook, those not on Facebook becomes a minority.
Yes, Facebook has become many things. But, it has still retained its core functionalities. These include staying connected to other people. A lot of people use Facebook to stay in touch with older friends or to stay in touch with home. It is still great at discovering your older friends too.
For these three main reasons, it is still quite difficult to completely get rid of Facebook. However, if you still want to delete it, go here.
Here are a few alternatives
Strip Personal Data
The very first thing that you need to do is to get rid of as much personal data as you can from Facebook. Besides your Name, gender, birthdate and email, Facebook does not need anything more.
You can easily edit your profile to make it safer, but obviously, less interesting. You can also untag your face from the photos. This will prevent Facebook from learning what your face looks like and automatically identifying you. You can disable the tagging feature totally if you want.
Get rid of the pesky apps
The apps that you use on Facebook, the quizzes and prediction apps – these generally exist only to siphon your personal data from your account. Get rid of these apps totally from your account’s privacy settings.
Moreover, you will also find websites that you have signed into using Facebook. Revoke access to those sites that you no longer use.
Most importantly, avoid sharing your personal details with anyone on Facebook. These include apps, and even on chat.
Use a separate messaging app
WhatsApp, even owned by Facebook, comes with end-to-end encryption. Which means, no one can read the messages in between. It is not true with Messenger, however. Facebook often reads these messages and suggests content based on these messages.
Switch to Email
Send Emails whenever possible. If you want to send people some files, use email instead of messenger. If you want to show people photos, upload to a cloud service and share that. There are tons of photo focused services. Canon offers 15GB of free storage called irista. Moreover, you can use Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, or anything else to share your photos. Yes, you may not get the likes and comments – there’s no instant gratification – but it still is safer. For sharing photos, even Instagram is good enough since it does not harvest so much user data.
Use Facebook through a browser
Instead of using the Facebook app, use Facebook through a browser. In that way, Facebook cannot constantly track your location, send you notifications, or use up a ton of your storage. You will lose out on a lot of features, but then again, those features end up collecting your data.