‘Why I Deleted My Facebook Account’

by on November 13, 2018 · 18 comments

in Media, Ocean Beach

Originally posted Nov. 13, 2018

By Geoff Page

I was on a road trip in October and somewhere in Northern California I tuned into a public radio station interviewing a journalist who had written a long piece in the New Yorker about Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg.  The piece is titled “Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?” and it was written by Evan Osnos.  They began to discuss the 2016 Presidential election and I was blown away by what I heard.

Here is the part that turned me off to Facebook.

Facebook offered to “embed” employees, for free, in Presidential campaign offices to help them use the platform effectively. Clinton’s campaign said no. Trump’s said yes, and Facebook employees helped his campaign craft messages. Although Trump’s language was openly hostile to ethnic minorities, inside Facebook his behavior felt, to some executives, like just part of the distant cesspool of Washington. Americans always seemed to be choosing between a hated Republican and a hated Democrat, and Trump’s descriptions of Mexicans as rapists was simply an extension of that.

During the campaign, Trump used Facebook to raise two hundred and eighty million dollars. Just days before the election, his team paid for a voter-suppression effort on the platform. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, it targeted three Democratic constituencies—“idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans”—sending them videos precisely tailored to discourage them from turning out for Clinton. Theresa Hong, the Trump campaign’s digital-content director, later told an interviewer, “Without Facebook we wouldn’t have won.”

“Without Facebook we wouldn’t have won.” Let that sink in for a moment.  So, Facebook donated free employees to Trump’s campaign and helped him win.  Why?

There are plenty of companies out there now that specialize in managing social media for businesses, politicians, sports figures, anyone who needs it and either doesn’t understand social media or doesn’t have the time to deal with it.  Instead of paying for one of these companies, Trump had Facebook itself do the work – for FREE.

The companies that manage social media as a business have sources of information to do what they do.  But, can you imagine the difference between the resources of a private company and the resources of the people who created Facebook and work there?  We already know that Facebook is guilty of providing our information to others, just think of what they made available to Trump.  Why would a private company like Facebook provide this free help?  The answer was in the paragraph that preceded the two quoted above.

“The 2016 election was supposed to be good for Facebook. That January, Sheryl Sandberg told investors that the election would be ‘a big deal in terms of ad spend,’ comparable to the Super Bowl and the World Cup. According to Borrell Associates, a research and consulting firm, candidates and other political groups were on track to spend $1.4 billion online in the election, up ninefold from four years earlier.”

Yep, money.  So, for money, they helped elect the idiot in the White House who has been actively destroying this country ever since he was sworn in.

Once I heard this, I knew I could no longer be a part of Facebook.  The damage they have contributed will affect us all for many, many years.  The morning of the election I stared at the TV and all I could think of was the Supreme Court and the judgeships that would change this country. We’ve already seen that with the supreme court but what is not on everyone’s radar are all the lower courts.  Read Dark Money by Jane Mayer late at night with just a small light on, it will scare the shit out of you like a great thriller.  The bad part is it is all coming true.

Deleting my account was harder than I thought it would be because it was how I was keeping up with old friends.  But, I decided this was something I could not ignore just because it was uncomfortable, so I deleted.  I plan to write a letter to Congress asking them to investigate Facebook’s involvement in the election. At a minimum, their assistance amounted to an illegal campaign contribution. At most, it amounted to meddling in a Presidential election for business purposed, or, perhaps more?

If you want to read the article, go here.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/09/17/can-mark-zuckerberg-fix-facebook-before-it-breaks-democracy

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Eric November 13, 2018 at 2:30 pm

FB, never have never will.

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Avatar unwashedwallmartThong November 13, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Facebook,
never have,
never will.
Fuck ’em.

Reply

Avatar retired botanist November 13, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Illuminating. I deactivated, not just logged out- but deactivated, my FB account about 4 yrs ago. Then about two years ago I had a message from FB asking me if I had logged on from Moscow and, if not, that I should change my password. My FB hacked, from Russia, after being “deactivated” for at least two years?!
But more importantly, how does someone log on to a supposedly deactivated account? I then had to go back on FB, log in, change my password, and then deactivate it again…at which point FB asked specifically if I didn’t want to just “log off” instead… that was the end of any trust factor for me.
FB, like so many other entities in our culture now, is simply too big to be trusted. Not only do I not know what they’re doing, I’m not sure they know, either. No thanks.

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Avatar Chris November 13, 2018 at 7:47 pm

You might want to actually delete the account. Not the same thing as simply deactivating.

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Avatar Jan Michael Sauer November 14, 2018 at 12:43 pm

I have often thought that progressives should be boycotting FB. Quitting FB is like stopping beef consumption. You think that you might miss it, but you’ll end up feeling a lot better without it.

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Avatar retired botanist November 14, 2018 at 4:56 pm

yep, thx Chris, I’ve thought about it :-). As mentioned in the article, there are many things about FB that I, too, miss- contact w/ old friends, shared photo albums etc. and I guess that’s why I opted for what I thought was a “deep freeze”, thinking I might someday “thaw it out”. And tbh, I don’t really care if someone wants to hack my FB…welcome to my photos and my previous soapbox :-). But I DO care that FB engages in (partisan) activity that isn’t transparent. Geez, is there any vestige of life left that ISN’T partisan these days? Ack, will my choice of breakfast cereal be the next thing to be politicized? :-) I endorse Jan’s perspective, and I now especially, based on this article’s disclosure, feel I made the right choice 4 yrs ago. Use the phone, send email attachments, connect in other ways. As Jan says, eventually you’ll be glad you did :-)

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Avatar Geoff Page November 15, 2018 at 11:02 am

And, today, read the stories about Facebook and what it has done to George Soros.

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Avatar rick callejon November 15, 2018 at 12:47 pm

Jane Mayer’s “Dark Money” is an outstanding read.

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Avatar Geoff Page July 27, 2020 at 2:55 pm

And several years later, here is a new, very scary piece on Facebook and the elections:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jul/26/with-facebook-we-are-already-through-the-looking-glass

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Avatar Carl Zanolli July 27, 2020 at 5:20 pm

Posting on FB is the functional equivalent of not wearing a mask in public. It doesn’t expose us to biological contagion but to the demise of the remaining democratic principles we have left

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Avatar Dickie July 27, 2020 at 5:54 pm

Wonderful to see so many in the no FB cohort. I also never have never will.Always saw Zuckerberg as a cunning predator.
I also don’t do Amazon or shop at WalMart. Join me? For those like me who buy books online, a good alternative to Amazon is thriftbooks.com, where you order $10 worth, shipping is free.

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Avatar unwashedWalmartThong July 27, 2020 at 6:33 pm

I usually use Better World Books.

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Avatar Lyle July 27, 2020 at 9:53 pm

I learned in second grade to not believe everything I heard or read, especially from newspapers and politicians and used-car salesmen. It seems to me that Facebook is no different, but like other media outlets (like OBRag for instance) there is useful data mixed in with the BS.

I’ve been a long time FB user in order to see some news from children and local PL community. There are lots of whiners, but also lots of local info that I probably would have missed otherwise (like sunset viewing at CNM ! ). And, in spite of whatever it is you’re complaining about, I DID NOT vote for Trump in 2016.

If people are voting for Trump due to a few obviously bogus FB posts, then we need to hire some more cynical second-grade teachers to teach kids (i.e. incipient voters) to take what they hear and read with a large grain of salt. After all, free speech doesn’t guarantee credible speech.

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Avatar Geoff Page July 28, 2020 at 8:37 am

Lyle, you wrote “And, in spite of whatever it is you’re complaining about…” You either did not read the piece or you missed the whole point. This was it:
Theresa Hong, the Trump campaign’s digital-content director, later told an interviewer, “Without Facebook we wouldn’t have won.”

Facebook donated its own employees to help the t-rump campaign – for free.

Without Facebook:

1. The courts would not be full of conservative judges and Supreme Court Justices for years to come.
2. The Clean Air and Clean Water Acts would not have been gutted.
3. The Affordable Care Act would not be virtually ruined.
4. We would not look like fools around the world.
5. We would not be fighting China.
6. Racism would not have been inflamed for political gain.
7. The Koch brothers and their ilk would not be running the country.

I could go on and on. That was the point, Lyle.

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Avatar Lyle July 28, 2020 at 12:55 pm

Hmm. I did read your comments and agreed with them. I think instead of saying “whatever you’re complaining about” I should have said “all these manipulative things they did”.

My point was that they did not make me vote for Trump, as evidenced by the fact that I didn’t vote for Trump even though I was exposed to Facebooks wily ways. So I have to question if they couldn’t convince me, how did they convince all those other folks ?

And of course I totally support your decision to leave Facebook, and other peoples choice to never start with them.

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Avatar Geoff Page July 28, 2020 at 1:44 pm

Well, Lyle, my guess is they didn’t convince you because you can think for yourself. There is a vast multitude who either do not have the ability to do that , or. more probably, are too lazy and prefer someone else tell them what to do. All I can say is the quote from the campaign manager said it for me. Having watched Zuckerberg and Facebook ever since, I’m convinced they are friends of the orange-haired one.

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Avatar Tyler July 29, 2020 at 3:25 pm

Got off FB 4 years ago. TBH, though, Zuck could care less about US use. The real $$$ is from international expansion.

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Avatar Geoff Page July 30, 2020 at 10:12 am

While that may well be true, Tyler, countries all over the world are also very unhappy with FB because of its refusal to police content. It has become a useful tool for anti-government groups everywhere. If FB’s bullshit got t-rump elected in the US, imagine how other governments look at it now.

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