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Why I Deleted Facebook

Get out before it’s too late.

BANGOR, Maine- I was hanging out in Zac’s studio and he mentioned that he sent me something on Facebook and was wondering why I didn’t respond. I hadn’t looked at. I hadn’t even looked at Facebook in a week. This is not normal behavior, so I figured he was owed an explanation:

“Dude, I only go on that shit to send messages one guy that I grew up with. I don’t use it for anything else. I hate that shit.”

If you post, like, scroll etc on Facebook you are working for free, building a product that is yourself. It’s slave labor that you’re probably joyfully addicted to. The new Opium War is here.

It then sank in: What I said was stupid. Is it really worth letting an overtly onerous company presided over by a real life villain track my every move, sell information about me to other companies and governments, potentially watch me on my webcam and listen to me through my phone, map my social contacts, pinpoint my location and path around the world, manipulate how I interact with my friends, adulterate and abstract how I view the world, and create a mechanism for me to unintentionally leave a trail that can be easily misinterpreted / misused by who the f’ck knows long into the future? (Not to mention the generally toxic forms of human interaction that tend to happen there.)

So I deleted that shit.

Most people’s understanding of Facebook is backwards. They think that the social platform is a free product to billions of customers, who use it to keep in touch with their family and friends. The reality is that the platform is a factory in which unpaid workers toil night and day providing the company with valuable content and information that can then be sold to the highest bidder. If you post, like, scroll etc on Facebook you are working for free, building a product that is yourself. It’s slave labor that you’re probably joyfully addicted to. The new Opium War is here.

Even Facebook’s co-founder is calling on the US government to step in and destroy the monster he helped create.

The Federal Trade Commission is expected to soon hit Facebook with a $5 billion fine for privacy violations.

Delete that shit.

A ubiquitous social network that everybody is on is an excellent, first-of-its-kind tool. Who wouldn’t want to go to one place to be able to get in contact with everybody in the world? This would have been an an excellent tool that Facebook was coming close to becoming. Then trust in the platform began eroding as more information about what the company is doing behind the scenes became reveled. People began deleting their accounts and the movement spread … Networks are arrays of connections between nodes. Remove a node, no big deal. Remove lots of nodes and the network begins to break down.

Surveillance technologies are being introduced and tested as recreational or security platforms — things that people welcome with open arms. But what we’re allowing is the creation of that cliche future dystopia where everyone is tracked, monitored, and controlled. Is this the world you want to live in? Of course not.

We all think that we are the Winston Smith, the great protagonist resisting the Party with our unbridled humanity. But are we really? Are you?

Delete that shit.

Filed under: Media Analysis

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3548 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Astoria, New York

15 comments… add one

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  • Des May 14, 2019, 6:15 pm

    Well said Wade. Ever tried using the hashtag #deletefacebook in a FB post?

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    • Wade Shepard May 14, 2019, 6:53 pm

      No. What happens? I bet they delete it, right?

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  • julie May 15, 2019, 7:25 am

    I deleted that shit almost 2 years ago! Won’t work for that little twerp Zukerburg to have billions of dollars. I’m on What’sApp and YouTube so it not like I’m pristine. I do Andy’s Hobo Traveler though. Sweetheart place that is…
    What really makes me sick about all of it is this is the beginning of ai’s “mind”.

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    • Wade Shepard May 15, 2019, 10:04 am

      Good call. Have you missed it? I’m feeling an odd sort of relief. Beyond all the crap that I listed here about FB there was also a personal reason as well: I didn’t like how it made me feel. If I was in that kind of social situation AFK I would walk away. Now, I can’t say I ever scrolled my feed more than once or twice a month but there was always a certain sense of dread each time I’d open the page and I’d try to avoid looking at what anyone was posting and go straight to direct messages. It was this weird feeling like I was going to be exposed to something that irritated or distracted me. I’ve sense did a little research about this and found that it’s rather normal haha.

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      • julie May 16, 2019, 9:33 am

        I was careful to not friend anyone who wasn’t in my immediate circle of friends. None of us used it for social reasons much unless it was a happy birthday. We used it to follow things we found interesting like Standing Rock. I liked that I could watch someone with a phone in their hand in real time at events. No heads talking about it. What ever they saw, I saw the same. At the time I worked at a place where I

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        • Wade Shepard May 16, 2019, 10:42 am

          Yes, the livestream function is pretty cool. Unfortunately, they don’t pay creators for producing content they make money from.

          The entire premise of social media is pretty cool in this age where social circles are spread all over the world. It’s kind of a pity that the company that rose to the top is directed by a truly unscrupulous individual — a robber baron from the old school. A thief.

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    • Wade Shepard May 15, 2019, 10:10 am

      Yes! There are some topic based social media that’s excellent sources of community and information. Andy’s site is one. He puts in large amounts of effort to make sure it’s a friendly place that people want to be — even when it adversely affects his own bottom line. Reddit is excellent as well. I also still like forums. Topic based rather than personality based social sources of information.

      I have yet to ween myself from Whatsapp too. I’d like to but it’s a valuable tool for my work … unlike FB. Hopefully more people will move to Signal and Telegram.

      YouTube has many issues but, ultimately, they give creators a decent share of the earnings they generate, so they get a pass as far as I’m concerned. That’s big. While they do abuse their power and community they also give back to it. Unlike Facebook.

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  • Rob May 15, 2019, 9:44 am

    A business that collects & sells information about YOU that is fun to use. Sounds like a drug addiction doesn’t it?
    I heard the other day they the social media cartel was collectively punishing people who didn’t think “right”. A new facet to the social media. The world is changing fast!

    It boggles my mind… the social media cartel controlling (to a large extent) public discourse. You don’t think ‘right’, you can’t talk to anyone where we all talk!
    It’s a brave new world…

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    • Wade Shepard May 15, 2019, 10:16 am

      Hello Rob,

      “Social media cartel.” That’s a good way to put it. I really only scratched the surface of the issue here, but what these companies are doing is very much like what drug dealers do. They act like your friend … and then they get you hook and you become indentured to them. When we look at the reports of how FB intentionally does this through psychological manipulation the metaphor starts wearing thin: it’s what they’re actually doing. It’s sad watching people who are addicted to this — especially when there’s an entire generation of people where social media is their normal go-to mode of communication. At least our minds have been acculturated to view real life and social media life as two separate things.

      Yes! It is insane the amount of moral / political manipulation that Facebook and others engage in. It very much is a situation where if you don’t think “right” you’re ostracized.

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  • Trevor May 15, 2019, 2:41 pm

    way to go Wade FB INSTA TWITTER r all the same..

    they get u sucked in!!

    whats app offers me a free way to contact a range of friends… as does hangouts, email.

    on twitter i post a link. i dt get scrolling .. scrolling useless shite.. its very sad…

    am waiting til these sites get taken off…

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    • Wade Shepard May 15, 2019, 3:25 pm

      Very true, man. Platforms like these started out as a service for people to communicate and they turned into a new form of commercial exploitation. Reddit and the old school forums are still useful. I use Whatsapp still for the reason that you point out … although I’d love to delete that too. Instagram just makes money off of other people’s work without paying them anything. I always found Twitter pretty lame, but it has a use for breaking news or to gauge public opinion on a topic. We’re soon going to be looking at two internets: the mainstream, corporate internet and the grassroots, independent, dark internet.

      I know where I will be.

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      • Trevor May 15, 2019, 3:36 pm

        yup.

        i read blogs to see what friends r up to.. u, mrp, jonny blair

        and SM gives me a feed to new stories depending on what medium they use to promote their latest.

        ive subscribe to vbj so i dt need twitter or such to get the feed.

        many blogs give me inspiration and ideas .. some make me laugh at the absurdity of their stories..
        the worst one is :

        send me 50 bucks and ill tell u how i made a million thats like pyramid selling haha.

        was going off on a tangent….. been a shitty day where i nearly quit my job.. i just gotta hang in there a bit longer..

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  • Lawrence May 15, 2019, 4:14 pm

    Have you read Surveillance Valley? Really good book.

    If everyone on your street has Facebook and you don’t then you are easier to find because your the outlier.

    I never really played the social game that much although I have FB business page, which is worthless.

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    • Wade Shepard May 15, 2019, 5:06 pm

      Yes, that is true. It creates the question “why aren’t you doing this if everyone else is?” I will check out that book. Right on, FB business page is useless now. It used to be a decent tool. I actually found it worth paying to promote (get this, I paid FB to promote a page on FB!) and grew the followers up to 18k. A little while after paying to do that FB made some changes and then it became clear that I would need to pay them again and again and again to actually get the people I paid to have follow me to actually see what I posted. It was a scam.

      It’s kind of a pity that this company that did something absolutely phenomenal ended up being so f’cked up and short-sighted. Alternatives will arise and social media will again become decentralized. I hope.

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  • Trevor May 16, 2019, 10:22 am

    Thanks to who ever hit my site up from VBJ… all i know it was from the USA . the city is blocked.. thank u again… :)))

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