Migrating away from Facebook

When we first joined Facebook it was filled with chronological timelines kept active by university friends. At that time algorithms did not affect what we saw or how frequently and there was a sense of community. In the last two or three weeks we have heard a lot about Cambridge Analytica and other companies because they have syphoned off user data and used it to manipulate people in a number of political events. 

During this time articles have been written detailing privacy and the threat that social networks pose. I have seen very few, if any articles looking at people and how easily misled they have been. I see very few articles exploring the issues surrounding how such a large portion of the population is susceptible to being misled. 

The events of the last week are a perfect demonstration of the Manufacturing of Consent that Noam Chomsky wrote about in his books and discussed at his lectures. He spoke about looking at the dominant headlines and looking at what was ignored. He spoke about taking an active look at what is being said and by whom. In theory, the very people that were misled by the manipulation are the people that would have been seduced by his rhetoric. 

What I really want to see, is a shift away from websites like Facebook towards blogs and online communities where users interacting with each other are not manipulated by algorithms. I want to go back to an age where web forums, chronological timelines and more, are the norm. Facebook experimented with emotions in timelines a few years ago, now they have allowed companies to syphon off data and most importantly they are being accused of helping aggravate the situation in places like Myanmar.

The best way to hurt a company like Facebook is not to delete your account. It is for them to lose your eyeballs. It is for you to stop using the site, to start using others, and to reduce their income. If they want to treat us like a commodity then we can return the favour. We can use them fleetingly.