Quitting social media is being sold as the solution, but it's not liberating users, it's repressing and isolating them.

Yeah. I’m with @khkey

I too (respectfully) disagree.

Healthy habits can grow when you cut the bad ones out.

Think about gardening: you must remove the weeds before you can grow vegetables. “Abstinence-only” is actually a great way to think about social media. Before you can think about how you fill up your time, you need to clear the space to think/breathe/be again. You need time to do nothing and just be a human in the world - long walks, sitting, looking around, being okay with just silence and calm.

I’ve been on this trip for a while. It took me a while after ditching smartphone and all social media, but now my life is full of all kinds or richness - travelling around the country in an RV, meeting and talking with strangers all day every day, building my company, reading, writing, blogging. A few days ago, I just danced my heart out at a random festival in a random part of Wisconsin. We must step back and zoom out in order to achieve that which we desire - being human again. Cutting the cord entirely is the only way to initiate the recovery process. That’s how addiction works.

Also, I’m really confused about your reference to homosexuality and I think you should reconsider. You’re making it seem like homosexuality is a problem in the first place. It’s not. We should think of facebook use as alcoholism, gambling or porn addiction, heroin use, whatever. Unless you believe that sexuality is something that we should “moderate” (rather than just being our most authentic selves) your last paragraph is a total misfire and I urge you to reconsider.

There are religious beliefs against medical care. If you or a child gets sick with an entirely treatable disease, abstaining from medical care can lead to unnecessary death. Perhaps you feel more control of the situation, but you aren’t. You’re still in denial.

Heck, these forums are a form of social media. Anyone notice the irony?

If you’re more of a systems thinking, you might know about Jack Kornfeld-s parable of the poisoned tree:

On first discovering a poisoned tree, some people see only its danger. Their immediate reaction is, “Let’s cut this down before we are hurt. Let’s cut it down before anyone else eats the poisoned fruit.” This resembles our initial response to the difficulties that arise in our lives, when we encounter aggression, depression, or sorrow in ourselves and others. Our initial response is to avoid them, saying, “These poisons afflict us. Let us uproot them; let us be rid of them. Let us cut them down.”

Other people, who have journeyed further along the spiritual path, discover this poisoned tree and do not meet it with aversion. They have realized that to open to life requires a deep and heartfelt compassion for all that is around us. Knowing the poisoned tree is somehow a part of us, they say, “Let us not cut it down. Instead, let’s have compassion for the tree as well.” So out of kindness they build a fence around the tree so that others may not be poisoned and the tree may also have its life. This second approach shows a profound shift of relationship from judgment and fear to compassion.

A third type of person, who has traveled yet deeper in spiritual life, sees this same tree. This person, who has gained much vision, looks and says, “Oh, a poisoned tree. Perfect! Just what I was looking for.” This individual picks the poisoned fruit, investigates its properties, mixes with other ingredients, and uses the poison as a great medicine to heal the sick and transform the ills of the world. Through respect and understanding, this person sees in a way opposite to most people and finds value in the most difficult circumstances.

Yes, some of us have noticed :cat2:

I am not sure this is the same. Is this forum mining for engagement time, optimizing for ads, collecting our data, requesting real names? Also, I have little against diaspora or mastodon. Facebook is a completely different thing. Facebook is social media optimized for profit not for the people. Facebook should be called a marketing platform instead of a social platform.

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Well it depends… Gab started off great and with great promise of free speech and no ads…

After a week or two I stopped logging in and posting haha.

“Oh, look, another nazi. Neat, another muslim supremacy page, coolsies.”

Not saying I support corporate ads being the one true faith or either violent death cult but there can be middle ground.

Something we can sell ads to folks without stalking or hurting them and at the same time have the site be beholden to some standard agreed upon for ads and the owners of the sites policy of what can be posted so it’s all compromised and there is no more victim.

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Social media has been around a long time. It’s been around since the BBSes of the late 1980s. I am still an admin on a webforum account I’ve been on since 2002.

What’s different is how scale, and the demand for scale, has weaponized how these platforms in how they are promoted, sell ads and personal data, and trigger human psychological frailties.

Hence my point about not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, because the problem isn’t inherent to social media per se. It’s about how it is used and abused and how we each make decisions what we want to live with or not.

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@greg No one will be talking about regulating and breaking up fb from former co-founder and other influential people if there are no issues with social media monopoly facebook. Just recently the FTC fined facebook 5 billion dollars for privacy issue. Fb is like a goverment critics say.

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Whether to quit general social media is a matter of personal choice caused by different reasons. Some do not use social media of any kind, while some find social media still offer certain value to them. In Facebook’s case, many cannot tolerate the fact that their personal data is being constantly traded as the main product, and some people don’t find building and maintaining social connections on Facebook effective and meaningful. When they find alternatives, whether being face-to-face interactions or other social media platforms, and these alternatives work better for them, I don’t see quitting Facebook as repressing and isolating people. They just find a better way to socialize.

On the other hand, trying to fix Facebook is indeed the better way to fix the larger problem at its root, and we have to be honest that it’s very hard. I think we need to think in terms of an average person (like me, maybe you, maybe many people around us) who may know what’s happening behind the scene but individually doesn’t have the power to tackle the problem. Quitting the platform may be the easiest option for us to mitigate the disaster for ourselves.

So I think both quitting social media and trying to fix it are part of the solution to the problem. We may not know which is more effective. What happens when more and more people quit Facebook? Maybe it will encourage more humane and ethical social media products that do not extract our attention and data or hijack our psyche to happen, and I’d rather think that with more people start to join this conversation of humane tech (humane social media tech here), regulations and anti-trust protection will come along. What matters now is the acceleration of this coming into reality.

By the way, the definition of social media is very broad. It is a gigantic market with dozens of categories each having many products available, and I found a quite comprehensive illustration of the landscape of social media.


Hello, thanks for reading and replying to you and all other engaged users, I am truly grateful for all you pal’s engagement! :slight_smile:

Now onto your comment:

It may appear that I disagree with many people on this forum, but in many ways I extensively agree, let me explain. The purpose of my post is not to undermine alternative platforms or call to the digital mindfulness community a sham, rather I want to provide a different perspective, that burning the boat before abandoning it isn’t in our best interest.

As you said Facebook is not your friend, their extractive monopolistic blitzscaling practices are part of the problem, but when you said:

there’s a lot of reasons to delete Facebook. That said, Facebook still provides a lot of value.

It hit me. Facebook, the platform popularly used to engage in conversation and create social value, is not a replacement for the value in it of itself. Facebook is only valuable because our connections, creations and conversations are. We are the value, in a pessimistic stance this means we are merely capital to be extracted, on the other hand this menas we are also the solution.

I think change will not come about from market solutions but from a collective re invention of the net, we the people. Action against extractive business models is not black and white, far from it, change can only come from ambiguity loving humans rather than binary machines.

Ambiguity in this context means facing the problems of the digital age with a mindset beyond #deletefacebook, yes some people have to get off FB, some will have to boycott it, some will try to reform it from the inside and that’s sort of my point.

That the reddit privacy dogma of #deletefacebook and delete windows, apple, android, only use the tor browser and cut the internet cord is not the only alternative to the future or current tech dystopia as described by a fear mongering reddit user.

My post tried to deconstruct the privacy extremist worldview by showing how quitting tech In the name of freedom, free speech and privacy will only undermine those same values. There’s a portion of freedom in not doing what r/privacy and TheHatedOne tell you to do, there’s a place for free speech inside mainstream social media platforms and just like there’s value in choosing what information not to make public there’s also value in putting some information out there.

But cutting the cord and deleting all traces of existence robs you of that kind of freedom, free speech and privacy. What I try to say is that there’s no dichotomy between hiding from the net being mark’s personal slave.

I think real change, however it might look, can only come about if the most passionate people about privacy embrace the values and freedoms that social media and the internet provides them with. If the majority of privacy conscious people are only conscious in their room and inside an obscure internet community then how will change happen if the only people talking on the net don’t care about privacy.

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Hello, after dispersing from the forum for a while I’m coming back to respond to some comments, as I said in another response I greatly value your contribution :slight_smile: , everybody here has had great points in my opinion and you comment cut straight to my intention.

Are you saying we are socially obligated to be on Facebook regardless of whether we enjoy or benefit from the product? Or is this more specific to the motives for quitting?

I don’t think there’s an obligation to quit or remain on any platform, However I subscribe to the idea that If you are aware of a moral wrongdoing and you have a say in bringing about change then you do have the responsibility to try to fix the problem.

So does that means if you know Facebook’s wrongdoing the you have to quit? No, to me fixing the problems of the digital age go beyond quitting or staying: You can protest, build a new platform, connect with users, host a public talk, hell you can even make a Facebook page against digital surveillance!

My point is that to fix the problems on our screens we have more than two options, we can do more and better as long as we come together rather than isolate ourselves in alternative platforms. Unlike privacy extremist might tell you, there is no one size fit’s all solution.

If using twitter over Facebook is part of your personal solution then I think you get it. You’re not coward for making a personal choose, however is it coward to run away from all trace of personality and connection with other people online just because a self-repressive member of a group told you to.

There is still hope; humans don’t scale. Social media & their consequences scale only because users voluntarily repress their humanity, act like robots or digital zombies, but we’re far from scale-able machines. In the end the scaling and downgrading of human’s bubble will break because we’re as different as we can possibly be from synthetic, we’re human.

To end on a hippie note, the tossing away of our privacy is a reflection of our approach, and reversing this approach will inevitably lead us to the solution: We can only toss away a profoundly humane value like privacy by tossing away our humanity. When we begin to act less like consumers, gig workers, influencers, our own boss, digital zombies glued to our screens, like machines and we begin to act as humans who see each other not as part of the out group but as part of the whole; then the digital spells loose their power over us. Only by embracing our humanity we can understand our technologies as tools and not as our masters.

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Hey! Glad to see some genuine engagement here! Most of the replies, including your own, raise some great points, but it might surprise you that I don’t disagree with what you said. Hopefully we can work things out!

Your premise seems to be that the problem with Facebook is privacy.

Privacy is a red herring in my opinion, not that it’s not important, but the problems in the digital age, like privacy, are built around another concept.

My post is aimed at what I call the “woke” tech community, and I tried to tiptoe around some specific words because that community seems to get triggered with some basic facts about the matter. Let me explain:

In my view, the issues of tech are closely tied to economical, cultural and technological inequality. In more plain language this is a form of social injustice. Here’s were the anti-SJW’s, anti-feminists, right-wingers and “centrists” of reddit and youtube usually roll their eyes.

In away you hinted at it, if this wasn’t fully clear let me re-frame some of your statements: digital isolation is a creation of the people in power, the options of what cellphone companies you can choose from are made by people in power, whatever is considered good business is determined by people in power, the inhumane behavior of people online is being perpetuated by people in power, the public space is controlled by people in power.

This is a form of social injustice reflected on digital surface area. Now what one does with this information is key, by pulling the curtain and revealing unjust power structures you can come to many conclusions, in my post I focus on one of them:

You can wrongfully conclude that instead of challenging the status quo and the unjust power structure you can simply “opt out”. Reading the work Snowden brought to light might make you say “Hey, that’s unjust, I should do something about it”, RMS even calls proprietary software an injustice, these figures acknowledge the power structure.

But some of their followers don’t, they ether don’t call them unjust or think the problem is specific to privacy. The importance of calling out this wrongdoings under the term unjust is that justice implies a society, a collective group trying to come to an agreement of that’s acceptable behavior rather than individuals trying to undermine each other for selfish reasons.

The original post focuses on other terms, it’s about undermining the values the “woke” tech community claims to champion, precisely not to use trigger words that would shut down their critical thinking. Terms like social justice tend to do that. The tech woke community tends to share values with the anti-SJW, anti-feminist and overall skeptic community, who value facts, logic and debate over challenging the status quo (and actually making a change). That’s why my post focuses on showing how quitting tech in the name of freedom, free speech and privacy will logically lead to the repression of those values - Because to the “skeptics” facts and logic is everything.

I believe technology can be better as long as people acknowledge the power structure, not because tech is the solution, on the other hand we are the solution. A better society won’t come from increasingly humane tech, it’s the other way around, a more humane society will create better technologies. I believe in us.

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Could you explain better this part?

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Thanks, that clarifies a lot. The thing that intrigues me most is being a part of a better solution for people to engage each other in useful and meaningful ways. I enjoy talking about it here and will never give up on connecting with people. I just want to find a way to do it that is as healthy as possible. I like your thoughts about our humanity overcoming our current pattern of consuming and living. I hope we can get there!

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“Regulators and lawmakers in Washington, Europe and other countries including Canada have already begun multiple investigations and proposing restriction against facebook that will embroil it with policy debates and legal wrangling for years to come.” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/13/technology/facebook-privacy-investigations.html?fbclid=IwAR0CgAYTnacbVKKZ8GJfGc8vZe8PrvOjeBqQ2vL2DpKxPulMK_iVspW-2NQ

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In any social community “problem” there will always be people we disagree with in regard to solutions. To make internet space humane- people must have a voice and choice- because of free speech in America at least- we will hear from the people who have the strongest opinions.

Many people thought anti war protests in the 60’s were extreme. People left their jobs and education to a world of picket signs and drugs. These people served a purpose- to start a movement that there are other options to war. It’s obvious a person on mushrooms wouldn’t be fixing the USA’s relationships in the world- BUT- free speech gave them the avenue to express opinions and a challenge to a situation that was very upsetting to many. And we know human war hasn’t stopped. But the US government heard the opinions of people due to the gift of free speech.

We called extremists- “rebels” or activists back in the day- they were often thrown in jail at demonstration rallies- and would even “collapse” in huge numbers outside buildings during protests to make a point- a pile of 50 dead weight people on the ground are not easily moved by police… Sometimes demonstrators were violent- some will also misbehave in a group.

The bottom line is, even the people we disagree with have something important to say. They don’t offer solutions because the problem is too big to manage. BUT…

Overstating problems with unrealistic solutions often bring a problem to the surface and this is what starts some movements. A crisis has to happen and people react- some in ways we disagree with some we like.

There are some great solutions here- and I appreciate the role every person has- especially extremists- because I’m not brave enough to delete my essentially abandoned Facebook account.

In a free speech society with a true democracy everyone has a voice because this is how we live together.

My humble opinion is that Facebook probably shouldn’t go away- I wish it would along with many social media channels- because it’s robbing us of true connection. But that is my opinion- and I know a free market takes care of itself. Facebook may become better or it may vanish altogether. That is up to us the people and for that to happen we must thrash around a bit and figure it out and part of that is living in peace with people we completely disagree with.


i don’t think there are many people who wanted facebook to go away or go extinct. Most of us wanted for a significant change on the design and practices of fb and if possible its core business model. And many people don"t trust facebook to do it by itself. I don’t think we can wait while societies and peoples throughout the world are affected by negative consquences and rely on market forces(example competition is almost non existent to fb) to make a dent. The issues need immediate solution and in my humble opinion goverment intervention which is happening now is the right path to rein in unregulated and unaccountable fb and also other tech monopoly behemoths for the benefit and welfare of the people throughout the world. The fact that a lot of goverments throughout the world passed laws and took drastic action sometimes just show the scope and extent of the issues involved.


I’ve seen this in the US before with healthcare. Government regulation really cleaned things up in a hurry- still not perfect but there is structure to hold accountability for negligence and complete incompetence.

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I hate govt and most of what they do is mind bogglingly backward or inefficient (hammers on pentagon receipt $50k each come on.)

That being said, when I hear my elders talk of the airlines and how wonderful flying was before Reagan deregulated, and compare to the mile high human cattle sluice that air travel is now, you may have a point.

What concerns me is not that some people protest social media by quitting said platforms, what concerns me is that some people see quitting social media - or the internet as a whole - as a method to bring about change and not as one of the many methods to change our media environment.

Anti-war protesters quit their jobs to protest, but some privacy nihilists quit the internet not as a first step towards a better net but as the goal by itself. This is the self repression I refer to, quitting Facebook shouldn’t be the goal just as quitting your job or education shouldn’t be the whole anti-war protest.

I think it’s such a shame that some people end up repressing their own free speech by quitting the net and social platforms in the name of free speech. To them “the only way is out” is their motto. I say instead of removing oneself from the conversation in the name of anonymity we come together, isn’t connection the whole point of the web after all?

The hard truth is that users as we exist currently, we the people, have little to no say in the matter. Facebook will not go away, not because it’s the will of the people, but because Mark and other tech giants have power over us; The game is rigged. Free markets don’t auto-correct away the bad apples, on the other hand they self-heal, it re-enforces the power structure. This is why monopolies exist. If we the people decide we wan’t Facebook no more and migrate in mass to some other platform, then Mark will buy the 2nd biggest platform; WhatsApp, then Instagram and Oculus.

If Facebook improves or vanishes is not up to merely internet users, numbers on a spreadsheet, it’s up to the people with read-write access to the spreadsheet that encapsulates users. Mark will continue to rain supreme because he owns and has privileged access to us, the investors, tech workers and our data.

Real change will happen when we stop accepting our roll as data points or workers to be exploited and embrace our roll as the invisible labor that powered their platforms in the first place, we gave them what they got; their platform, their data, their wealth, their power; that’s ours.

Facebook (and Google) has simply been riding the particular very fortunate circumstances of one era of the internet. Yes Facebook is a monopoly, and they have many of our contacts all on the same platform. But if history teaches us anything, the circumstances will change and Facebook (and Google) will very likely fall out of power. We don’t know what the future holds, what will bring about this change but there are many likely scenarios:

  • Someone builds a more ethical / responsible / humane (but less profitable) service, and people switch.
  • Governments break up the monopolies.
  • More serious laws are passed to restrict internet surveillance.
  • The tech giants, either within the USA or internationally start competing with each other directly in each other’s main areas of control, such as messaging, social media, search, advertising, and so on.
  • Someone makes something even more addictive and captivating.
  • People become more concerned with computer security and privacy and this ushers in a tech revolution.
  • Someone simply builds something that works in the user’s better interests instead of treating people like they are meat to be devoured.
  • An open standard, decentralised replaces messaging and social networks as we know them.
  • Attitudes towards information technology change, from the current primitive ways of addicting and exploiting people, towards to a system designed to improve our minds and thinking.
  • Someone makes a new mobile OS that isn’t designed to exploit people, and that changes all the major tech services.

There are countless possibilities, both good and bad. But most are for the better. Instead of looking to rejoin social media, we too should be looking for an alternative model to replace social media. Some of that already exists, simply reach out and mass email your friends. Or day say I visit them in person and have a conversation. And of course we should always be on the lookout for better technological solutions as well, and if they don’t exist it may be up to us to invent them.