Leaving Facebook (part 2)

September 2020

Knowing the problems of corporate social media, and Facebook in particular, is one thing, but the practical process of leaving it is a whole other topic in itself. That’s what I’l try to expand upon here. Or in other words: what’s the actual plan? I’ll make a guess at the costs and benefits of leaving Facebook and I’ll look into some constructive steps I (and others too of course!) can take to transition to a post-Facebook lifestyle.

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Leaving Facebook (part 1)

September 2020

Over the past few years I’ve become increasingly uneasy with Facebook and social media in general. I’ve had an account for over a decade now (since 2008) and it has become such an integrated presence in my life that it’s difficult for me to imagine it otherwise. But year after year, new revelations become public, new scandals get out, another terrible event get exacerbated, more misinformation spreads,… My insight into the technological, psychological and polticial functioning of social media on us as individuals and society has grown. And the negative conclusion is inescapable: it’s not good.

I know that I should quit - I’ve known that for some years now. I’ve made quite some changes to my online behaviour already. I cut out a whole bunch of Google owned apps, got rid of WhatsApp and switched to Signal, removed the Facebook app and Facebook Messenger from my phone. But in the end, I still have and use Facebook on daily basis. There are friends I keep in contact with, events to keep track of, updates about things I like (literally, in the case of Facebook). The idea to leave it all behind gives me nothing short of anxiety: I’ll lose so much.

Therefore I have resolved to pledge to quit Facebook by the end of this annus horribilis.

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Startpage

September 2020

A little side project I’m working on is building a simple, cohesive start page to use as starting point for the internet, with a built-in news-feed. One of the reasons is that I still want to break free from the corporate algorithms deciding what I see online and thus influence how and what I’ll discover and visit.

It’s not that big of an idea and there’s a small scene online of people designing these, inspiring me to do the same. It will involve mainly some webdesign in HTML and CSS, which I understand a little by now, and probably some JavaScript, which I don’t know at all.

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Digital Alternatives

July 2020

This blogpost is a list about my search for digital alternatives that are more open, more respectful and more private than the ones I and a lot of other people have been using until now, often for free. It’s an attempt to claim back ownership of my virtual self.

Why did I do this? These last few years I’ve started to shift away from trusting the big data corporations such as Google and Facebook. I’m suspicious about the free services these companies offer us. Not only are they invasive of our privacy, they also profit of the enormous amount of data that we generate for them. This way these companies have a huge impact on our consumption, on our ideas, on our relations, on our society and democracy. They are also not held accountable for anything and sooner or later the repercussions will catch up with us - if they haven’t already.

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