With 1.71 billion active monthly users, Facebook is slowly taking over humanity a million profiles at a time. For many of us, our Facebook profiles have become as important as our mobile phones to such an extent that it’s often hard to imagine life before it was launched in the far-off times of 2004. However, the social media giant, which continues to expand at a frighteningly fast rate, has been subject to no shortage of controversies ranging from violating minimal age requirements to conducting unauthorized user influence experiments. As such, there are literally dozens of good reasons for getting off Facebook, but here are the most compelling.
#1. Make and Maintain Real Friendships
Social media has us connected in ways we could never have imagined possible before the Internet. It makes it easier than ever to keep in contact with people all over the world, but research has consistently shown that it’s also making us lonelier. As the world’s favourite outlet for uncompromising vanity, Facebook also encourages people she to one persona online and a completely different one in real life. In other words, people who you interact with predominantly through social media are mere shadows of the real person behind. By contrast, real-life interactions forge real and meaningful relationships that are based on reality rather than fantasy.
A recent study by the Oxford University revealed that out of an average of 155 Facebook friends per profile, only four could really be called upon for help. At best, a Facebook profile is like a village community full of acquaintances but, as any psychologist will tell you, it’s better to have a handful of close friends who you can really rely on in a crisis than hundreds of acquaintances who really don’t care about you. Social media has shown strong evidence time and again to be severely damaging to human relationships, particularly for those who are in the habit of communicating with their friends online at the expense of meeting in person.
#2. Protect Your Privacy
Just like anyone, when you join Facebook, you agree to its terms and conditions. However, just like almost anyone, you probably don’t actually read what you’re agreeing to. Many simply rely on their privacy settings and take them for granted, despite the fact that they are becoming more meaningless with every update to the platform. In fact, it’s not at all unreasonable to say that the social media giant is waging a full-scale war against privacy, and there is plenty of evidence to support that claim. In one controversial move back in 2014 the network even removed the option to hide your name from being visible in the search results.
Nothing you post on Facebook is actually private, and even if content is deleted, there are no guarantees that it won’t resurface sometimes. In fact, Facebook seems to have a very different definition of the word ‘delete’ from that of the Oxford English Dictionary. For example, when the network changed over to the timeline interface back in 2012, many people who had meticulously deleted their posts found that they came back when the website switched to the new interface. Facebook also makes it notoriously difficult to delete anything. In fact, the only way to delete individual posts or messages is to do so one-by-one, and even that doesn’t offer any guarantees.
#3. Free Up Your Time
Facebook is the ultimate time-sink, and there have been numerous cases of people becoming severely addicted to it. Common signs of Facebook addiction include constant oversharing, checking your profile whenever you get the chance to and being excessively concerned about your online persona, rather than your real one. Not only do these activities take up a lot of time; they’re also bad for your mental health. People have lost their jobs due to procrastinating on Facebook or even lost personal relationships because they’ve been so hooked to the world of social media. However, it’s not only true addicts who are wasting far too much time on Facebook.
The average user spends almost an hour every day actively engaged with Facebook’s website or any of its mobile apps, including the enormously popular WhatsApp, which also happens to be owned by Facebook. Needless to say, people are spending more and more time on Facebook every day, even if they might not know it. For example, to make its users even more absorbed with the platform, Facebook recently forced all mobile users to download the Facebook Messenger app if they want to chat online using a mobile device. The app, which is extremely intrusive in nature, will, by default, send you message alerts night and day.
Many of us have come to rely on Facebook for legitimate reasons, such as keeping in touch with friends around the world who we would otherwise lose contact with. However, the social media giant has been subject to countless controversies ranging from those surrounding privacy issues to those concerning the very real psychological consequences of oversharing. At best, Facebook and, indeed, social media in general, has become a vast social experiment that we have yet to trully understand the consequences of. It has become a part of life but, if it’s leaving you depressed, lonely or longing for privacy, then it’s time to quit before it’s too late.