November 30 2022 4:40 PM E-paper Subscribe Sign in My Account Sign out

The Facebook exodus: Why I left

Abdullah Habahbeh
Abdullah Habahbeh (Photo: Jordan News)
The world around us is always changing and evolving, and it is not the teen years of the second millennium anymore. Social media platforms might have started as small businesses that cater to the needs of youth while shaping the digital age, but they have now transformed from newborn startups into global giants. اضافة اعلان

Most millennials like myself, as well as GenZ youth, have a tendency to use technology, and my personal journey on Facebook began in early 2007. It was a wondrous experience filled with self discovery through the internet, using virtual strings to announce and declare my existence to the world.

However, it can be tempting to overstay one’s welcome as a social media user, and I overstayed my welcome on Facebook, not knowing that staying too long on the strings awakens a spider that turns users to prey.

There are many who would argue that they have left Facebook over privacy concerns and how privacy is continuously invaded, and yet they might still be using WhatsApp and Instagram, which are both owned by Facebook. So, leaving the latter while keeping the former does not result in any true change.

Thinking about it, our whole existence in the digital world is an invasion of our privacy, and we can only blame ourselves for how much goes on there. However, one cannot help but wonder if it is really possible to detach and detox ourselves from social media.

As someone working in digital marketing, I can safely say that social media is an essential element to thrive and reach out to others, and in this respect we cannot deny the importance of the platforms in our day-to-day lives. Therefore, I am here to mainly explain the decision I have taken to completely leave Facebook.

Facebook is currently the most extensively used social media network in the world with roughly 2.85 million users worldwide. The total number of Facebook users in Jordan reached more than 6 million in May of 2021, according to Napoleoncat.com, which means that almost 61 percent of Jordan’s population is on the platform.

The slogan we were fed is that Facebook “helps connect and share with people in your life,” but in reality, the slogan should be “Facebook is trying hard to be the next Google.”

When it first started, the whole idea was to allow people to connect with each other and share content; but at a later stage when the idea of a “post” was introduced and evolved, this ambition turned people into hostages of their own devices.

The experience became worse as we sank into annoying targeted ads, videos, groups, pages, marketplaces, and shopping platforms, and I imagine they are working towards having their own search engine in the future. Personally, I see nothing innovative about Facebook; it simply copies features from its rivals and then proceeds to present them as new features that would enhance the user experience.

As an ex-user of Facebook, it is difficult to see it as a “platform”, as the site is being continuously misused by users, whom we cannot blame when the tool itself is having an identity crisis.

Facebook’s monopolizing approach of owning, managing, and deliberately declaring themselves as the only and top digital world player is simply despicable.

As mentioned before, with 61 percent of Jordan’s population is on the platform, for them, it has become a place filled with fake news, low-quality content, and even obituaries, but the most essential downgrade of all is how it became a place of cyberbullying and identity theft.

There were up to 1.3 billion fake profiles on Facebook during 2019 alone, according to Statista.com, in addition to 533 million Facebook users having their data hacked and leaked in early 2019.

These are all signs that the platform is losing its grip, which will eventually lead to what we can call “Facebook Exodus,” the beginning of which we are already witnessing. The statistics and abuse are also somewhat indicative of how Facebook is abusing its users and treating them like bait for the benefit of advertisers.

Everyone on Facebook must take the time to observe, analyze, and make an informed decision regarding whether they want to remain part of such a horrendous virtual space filled with obvious exploitation.

We cannot completely blame Facebook for being what it is now, but we can place part of the blame on ourselves for allowing it to turn us into victims, and so all we need is to sit with ourselves for only a bit and think of how Facebook is of any benefit to us.

I believe it is time to join the Facebook Exodus, and I hope that leaving the platform will be just as wonderful and liberating an experience for others as it has been for me. There is no going back.  

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