Well, it’s done.
I’ve talked about doing it several times in the past.
The first couple times was sort of teenage rebellion — “aw man, fuck their stupid ____ police, they can’t do that to ME. I’m out!”
More recently, when they completely changed the interface, adding the “timeline” and “live updates” features, I began to realize that I would have to re-learn a lot of the interface to be able to use it normally again; That’s when I realized I just didn’t know if it was worth it for me.
I’ve also noticed that Facebook’s “personal connections first” policy has shown me a lot more about my peers than I ever cared to know. I saw sides of my friends (and to be fair, they probably saw sides of me) that neither of us really should have ever seen. It’s sort of a package deal; yeah, they have the granular control over status updates so you can restrict who sees them, but I don’t think anyone has really bothered to learn it much. At least, it doesn’t seem that way.
When that happened, I decided I would try to back off my usage. I deleted the app from my phone, only checking it via the clunky mobile website interface; believe it or not, that actually significantly pared down my usage. At the computer, I only checked it about once daily. I really didn’t miss it that much.
I will miss many of my Facebook connections very much, particularly since that was the primary way I communicated with them. My “warning shot” this morning was a simple “Hey, I’m deleting my profile at the end of the day. Here’s my contact info.” It was nice to have a chance to say goodbye and make communication arrangements with some of my friends before sailing off.
Deactivating was a little surreal. It’s like taking a trip behind the curtain, to the forbidden area no one sees.
You can “download your profile data” (under “Account Settings” I believe) which includes every single one of your posts, photos, videos, etc. Mine took about 2 hours or so to assemble, and was 270MB.
When you’re ready to deactivate, which is oddly under “Privacy Settings”, it shows this screen:
TOTAL EFFING GUILT TRIP.
You’ll need to view that full to see it, but it shows 5 photos of you “with a friend”, and says “Soandso will miss you! [Send them a message].” As far as I can tell, there is no rhyme or reason to how those people are picked; it’s pretty random — same for the photos they chose.
Underneath those photos is a short exit survey. I kind of felt like I was being debriefed. For “Why are you leaving”, I chose “other” and wrote:
I’ve thought about it for about 3 months, and ultlimately, it’s ceased being a net positive in my life. I’ve learned far too much about people I’m only mildly associated with, I’ve learned how ignorant and biogted some of my friends are, and overall, being on facebook has, on more than one occasion, heavily challenged my faith in humanity. People just get downright UGLY on here, and I don’t have room in my life for that, despite the meaningful connections I’ve made with people I genuinely care about. In hindsight, that’s just really sad. I suppose I could choose better friends, but it seems more like a combination of human nature and the fact that FB basically exposes everything but their genitals to me.
And again, I include myself in those general statements about “people” — FB often brought out the ugly side of me, to my chagrin.
That wasn’t the only reason, of course — the different interface, desire to step away from addictive media, and wanting to be less tethered to the internet were all contributing factors. That was the only one I felt like writing about, though.
After filling that out, it asked me for my password one more time, then I had to fill out a CAPTCHA. That was a little weird. I guess they’re worried about people’s accounts getting hacked and the robots deactivating the accounts?
Then I got this email:
In the blurred box there are two links to sites that I have used “Facebook Connect” to register with. The links point to alternate ways to register an account with them. This was actually a very courteous and unexpected feature of deactivation, and I’m kind of surprised it was included, even if I don’t plan on taking advantage of it. Kudos to the FB exit team for that.
It feels weird.
But I’m glad I did it.