This time feels different

With everything going on around Facebook and Cambridge Analytica etc. I'm more glad than ever that I deleted my account. Not that I used it which was painfully obvious as Facebook failed miserably having no data to target or manipulate me with. My suggested friends list invariably looked like a sleazy catalogue for mail order brides.

There have been calls to leave Facebook before due to various privacy issues and on each occasion we say "this time feels different" - this time is no exception especially when you've got the likes of WhatsApp's co-founder Brian Acton joining the ranks tweeting the #deletefacebook hashtag.

Each time feels different but the movement has always been a damp squib; some irate users delete their accounts but not enough to dent the service, not even enough to make the tiniest of ripples.

The network is repeatedly accused of playing fast and loose with user's privacy but those same users have been perfectly willing to give up so much of it for the sake of convenience. The warning signs have been there for years but most chose/choose to ignore them or think it doesn't affect them.

The argument that "everyone's on Facebook because everyone's on Facebook" has always been a tough one to swallow but, unfortunately, true. And now we're at the point where not being on Facebook is almost like being a social pariah - you don't get to see things as they're only shared on Facebook, you can't sign up for events because they're only organised on Facebook, you can't participate in group conversations because they only happen on Facebook.

It's dangerous.

Derek Sivers (originator of the Now page) quit Facebook but wrote something very interesting in his post explaining his decision:

"It’s like I’m still visiting friends in the smoking area, even though I don’t smoke. Maybe if I quit going entirely, it will help my friends quit, too."

He was only using Facebook to advertise new blog posts but thought perhaps this was "a tiny tiny reason why others are still using it." There's an aspect of "friends don't let friends use Facebook" about it.

The more people leave, the less people give others a reason to be there, the more likely it snowballs but when there are over two billion users and no easy alternatives it feels like a drop in the ocean. It needs a catalyst, a tsunami instead of a gradual drip-drip, and maybe these latest revelations could be that, perhaps change will be forced by legislators.

We've been here before but never reached the tipping point where people actually act on their anger and frustration rather than just venting them on Facebook and Twitter.

This time feels different.

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