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Elon Musk Deletes Own, SpaceX and Tesla Facebook Pages After #deletefacebook (techcrunch.com)
1390 points by middle1 on Mar 23, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 502 comments

I always felt like doing this (deleting my facebook account), but fear of missing out always kept me from doing it. Whenever I seriously considered leaving the platform, I had a vague sense that I would "not belong to the herd" anymore, that I would lose the option to contact friends / family members, that I would be left outdoors.

The other day I made the step. I deleted my account. Before I did I exported all my data.

Two days past and I have a strange sense of freedom. Previously I would check my FB feed a dozen times a day. Although I deleted the app years ago, never really used Messenger, always had to use different browsers than Safari on my iPhone because FB would not let me read/use messages in Safari, instead it wanted me to install Messagner. So previously I would check my feed many times a day to kill time. I was a "lurker". Never posted anything since years, just used it as a news reader. And glanced over the things that my contacts posted. It gave me an illusionary feeling of connectedness, when in fact I could not be more disconnected from real contacts, quality contacts, and most of all: from myself by fleeing into a dull activity, by entering "the matrix", killing time.

Today I felt like in my childhood, going to appointments, not killing time on my way to my appointment, having seen my surroundings like back in those days without so many distractions. A wonderful feeling.

I hope this platform dies, rather quickly. Because it harms society and individuals more than we are aware of.

Edit: Grammar

In your opinion, what is your criteria for declaring that a platform is "bad for you" and "an unhealthy habit"?

Personally, I spend ALOT of my free time lurking 4chan's /g/ "technology" board, 4chan's /ck/ cooking board, and a carefully curated list of my favorite food and technology related subreddits on Reddit. I personally consider my addictions to be quite healthy because I learn and absorb a tremendous amount of information from sites that focus more on "actual content that matters" and less on worshiping the same small group of narcissistic acquaintances that congregate on platforms where "disliking" content is frowned upon.

Sure there's a lot of stupid crap on 4chan and reddit is full of corporate and government shills, but the internet has grown SO MUCH lately that the signal to noise ratio isn't as bad as it was in the early 2000s. My only problem nowadays is that I don't have enough time in a day to read/watch/comment on all the important stuff I find on the net. Compare that to the early 2000's, when useful information on the internet was so scarce, that I had to use minesweeper in my highschool computer labs to pass the time.

I for one am happy at how much content there is on the internet now. If you're smart, you can curate your own nonstop stream of "useful" content without that much effort. Problem is that you have to reject content that is curated by big businesses like Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and program your own method of retrieving things that matter.

People will always complain about the exponential growth of information. Look at newspapers and the printing press. I'm sure that people reacted the same way towards pocket watches and newspapers as people nowadays are reacting to smartphones and social media. Some people just have addictive personalities in general, and will blame not being productive on whoever's in charge of "information" at any given moment.

Not the parent, but I would say that a platform should somehow add value to your life to be "good for you". HN, Reddit (depending on where you go), other sites etc can entertain, teach, and connect you with interesting people. Social networks I've found are value detractors for me because:

A. I don't care what 95% of people I am connected with are doing, and I regularly talk to the people I care about anyway.

B. I can't have any meaningful discussions on them

C. They are dominated by high volume posters who tend to be very opinionated. Very opinionated people tend to have extreme opinions which are usually wrong and aren't particularly interesting to me.

D. The networks present a false sense of reality which lowers happiness. Everyone always posts their highlight reel which makes you feel like the whole world is killing it constantly and you aren't.

> D. The networks present a false sense of reality which lowers happiness. Everyone always posts their highlight reel which makes you feel like the whole world is killing it constantly and you aren't.

This! I can resonate with all of your points. But this one is one of their major weaknesses.

> The networks present a false sense of reality which lowers happiness. Everyone always posts their highlight reel which makes you feel like the whole world is killing it constantly and you aren't.

If this is what happens in your feed, you have a shallower and less genuine set of social media connections than I do. I get highlights, sure, but just as much lowlights, and quotidian events that don't meet either description.

I suspect that the people who connect with networks of people who do exclusive self-image-burnishing social media posts would also connect with people that provide the same kind of fronts in other venues (including in-person), though I'll also grant that if you tend to connect predominantly with such people, social media magnifies their effect, as it's easier to consistently present an image online than in person.)

> you have a shallower and less genuine set of social media connections

I don't think you have to be "shallow" to be biased towards posting highlights.

You spend a nice vacation in Asia? Your kid managed an important accomplishment? Found a restaurant that's awesome? Aren't these the kind of things that you naturally have the tendency to share?

In contrast, you spent your saturday doing nothing at home? Your kid did an average thing? You ate food that's just "okay"? Am I shallow if I don't like posting these things? Sure some of the days I might want to post about some average or bad things, but I think I'm still biased towards the highlights

As to point C, I think the problem you have is that you are following or associating with people whose opinions do not agree with your own. There are many opinionated people who are insightful, intelligent and interesting. Volume of posting does not always imply 'wrongness'. Similarly, regarding point A, why are you even connected to these 95% of people you don't care about? Perhaps if you curated or controlled who you connected to better you would find social networks much more valuable.

So essentially- the lack of a "dislike" or "downvote" button makes people unbearable?

As someone who cooks a lot, I was curious what /ck/ could have to offer. I hadn't been to 4chan in years. I'm not sure how this board has tremendous amounts of useful information.

/ck/ is actually one of the sanest places on 4chan, in my personal opinion. It's not the nicest place on earth- I mean, it is 4chan, so memes and rudeness aren't against the rules. Couple that with optional anonymity, and you're bound to encounter some rough edges here and there.

Having said that though- I've been there since 2007, and I used to get lots of compliments for posting original content (pictures of food being cooked). People love to talk about food there- plus you get to hear actual line cooks talking about things. You don't have to wait forever to get a reply on a thread, and good threads (like costco food threads) can go up to hundreds of replies before being pruned. All in all, I don't hate the place. My usual bookmarks each day are: 1) HN 2) Reddit 3) /ck/ + /g/ + /fit/ 4) google news (only if important stuff is hapenning in the world, though I Have to admit that the fastest place to get instantaneous information nowadays is /b/)

>I hope this platform dies, rather quickly. Because it harms society and individuals more than we are aware of.

I'm not deleting my account. I only signed up because I was using the Facebook API for something once and needed an account to test. Other than that, I occasionally post links to news, pictures (look at my food! look at this funny animal!), and I check on groups that I belong to, especially the trading ones. The groups are especially useful. I also only ever log in from a single place, my mobile.

It always amazes me how people use it. What did you think was going to happen to that data? How do you think a service as large as Facebook was paying it's bills? People don't need to stop using Facebook. They need to sit for a second and think about they are using it.

My problem is not how they use / misused the data. Thats a whole different chapter. I am accusing them of having made a platform that is designed to make you come back, as often as possible. They give you the illusion of being connected, liked when you post something and others hit the like button, but in reality many of your contacts feel miserable when you did something that they can't. And all that happens is that your attention gets distracted, whenever you login. Also, this is a machinery that allows to manipulate the psychology of the masses. Manipulate the masses in a way our societies never have seen before. Democracies are vulnerable. They always have been. But never as much as with platforms like this.

And by the way: This man is a genious. He made half the population of the world believe that privacy isn't something valueable, that we should share our most precious moments with half the world.

Edit: minor change

"designed to make you come back" ... but that's true of the whole ad-supported internet, broadcast TV etc. If it's free, you are the product. Still a problem, but not just a FB problem.

> What did you think was going to happen to that data?

In some sense you are right, but in this context you are missing the point. The whole point of this recent uproar is that 3rd parties got access to significant amounts of data without consent. Why should people expect that to happen?

I think the biggest problem with a lot of companies is that it's all about growth. Every year more money, more customers etc. Eventually something will give when you're trying to provide a free service and become a huge company. They have to sell something to someone who will pay.

So for a social media company that is free for users and requires a huge software development effort? What are their assets? Pretty much just users. Maybe their code based. I think it's almost inevitable that they put ads on stuff and then later sell your data. What else were they going to do? Start asking users to pay a subscription? Sell the software so that others can spin up their own social media websites?

Its become a cliche but "if you're not paying for it, you're not the customer, you're the product". Now obviously companies with products and services you pay for, are still going to screw you over. But yes, I think this is exactly what people should expect to happen.

>Today I felt like in my childhood, going to appointments, not killing time on my way to my appointment, having seen my surroundings like back in those days without so many distractions. A wonderful feeling.

Well put. For me, it’s not FB that is standing in the way ... it’s HN! ;)

That being said, this place tends to have much higher caliber comments that what I read on FB, and I learn so much from both articles and discussion. I’ll #neverdeleteHN

Pro tip: If you go to touch.facebook.com and request a desktop site, it will let you access your messages on a mobile web browser without installing messenger. :D

Also mbasic.facebook.com, the JavaScript-free version of the site.

Same with m.facebook.com, just request the desktop site and you can access messages.

Though it's not particularly fun to use that way as touch events become quite sensitive and you end up clicking things you didn't mean to

It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

I've installed plugins to disable my newsfeed and it's been great. Can't really think of a downside to it as it previously was a waste of time and only promoting superficial forced relationships through superficial comments.

You can totally stick to using Messenger as it still promotes 1-1 intentional relationships, and messenger is relatively easy to migrate off of as you can always get your closest friends to add you on alternatives.

> Previously I would check my FB feed a dozen times a day

Wow. Is this still common these days? I rarely check FB. Honestly, I end up checking Twitter and HN way more.

This is, conservatively, once an hour while awake, which doesn't seem all that much. You are the outlier here, I think. Many people check Facebook much more frequently than hourly.

I never understood these posts. I’m not a huge fan of companies that make their living by selling their users privacy data, but Facebook is just a platform.

I have an account because my social circle organizes events on there, but that’s the only thing I use it for. I log in once or twice a month and have made a total of 3 posts to my wall since 2014.

I understand that it can be a tine sink for some people, but so can 4chan, Reddit, hacker news and other social networks.

And that is the thing I don’t understand. Why is wasting your time talking to strangers on HN more valuable than talking with people you actually know on Facebook?

That being said I’m happy for you. Everyone should drop things that make them miserable, and you’ve managed to do so which I think is great.

I already does not use facebook and the likes. For me, I had a similar feeling after I blocked reddit/hn domains.

>I hope this platform dies, rather quickly. Because it harms society and individuals more than we are aware of.

Reddit/HN are places where places that can make you feel like you are doing something or "contributing", without actually making any real impact. A feeling similar to the the illusionary feeling thing you refer in your comment. On one had, it helps individuals to grow and on the other, it restricts their actions to an isolated chamber where the real world remain safe from their thoughts/questions.

So I think, after a certain point. You should forcefully disconnect/distance yourself from these platform, and start to engage in more real world activities. For ex, write a blog, write actual newspaper articles. Send your thoughts to actual news papers for them to publish in such sections, engage in local activities and discussion Etc.

An example of this is that when we came to know about the testing of self driving vehicles happening, many of the people here might have asked "What are the tests there were done before these vehicles are put on road"? Is there any legal groundwork in place?

But those questions remained safely in the realm of the HN servers as some binary pattern in a Hard disk platter. They didn't get out it the real world. They didn't get translated into real question to real authorities.

>Reddit/HN are places where places that can make you feel like you are doing something or "contributing", without actually making any real impact.

Impact for its own sake is overrated. That's not to say you should navelgaze and philosophize about everything but you really do need a balance. The startup community in particular is in love with the image of hustle and whirlwind activity usually just for the sake of ingratiating a handful of egos.

Blogs and newspaper articles have been left in the dust. We can romanticize the long form journalist but really that's a step back. The pool of ideas is now open to anyone with a well worded comment. Rather than privileging a credentialed journalist to express an opinion for us there is a battle of contrasting ideas from many more (though never all) backgrounds to find consensus. To me this is the future. A handful of ivy league graduates pontificating back and forth in op-eds through limited newspaper and magazine space is the past.

You might argue that this will create an environment full of emotion and rhetoric but really that's business as usual. The well educated have just been schooled in how to dress up their opinions as though they were facts. Internet comment sections are about deciding how a problem or conversation will be framed not necessarily about solving those problems. Framing/rhetoric and analysis of virtues are a huge part of determining what "impact" will look like.

> But those questions remained safely in the realm of the HN servers as some binary pattern in a Hard disk platter. They didn't get out it the real world.

If no one would bother to read them sure. But I fail to see how the fact that information is stored in a 'binary pattern in a hard disk platter' makes it less relevant than it being stored on a slice of fallen tree... Especially in our day and age I would argue for the opposite, the virtual medium has become more important - because more people are using it to get their information.

> virtual medium has become more important - because more people are using it to get their information...

"More" does not necessary equals better..Having talk with a concerned authority or a minister might be thousand times better than communicating to a million reddit/hn readers..

Can you think one single instance where a reddit/hn comment ended up having a real world impact?

FYI here’s a link to delete your Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/help/delete_account

Earlier I had “deactivated” my account thinking it would get deleted, but then I learned I have to visit this page to actually delete it.

Note, if your account is already deactivated when you try to delete it you will again be asked for your password despite being already logged in. You will also be asked to complete a CAPTCHA. This will invariably result in the error message:

"Incorrect email/password combination"[1]

This is despite being logged in to FB with the same password.

The fix is to change your password, log out and log back in with the changed password. You will then be able to delete your account without issue.

Maybe the author could add this information to their post?

People have been asking on the FB help forum for years about how to resolve this error. FB refuses to answer anyone asking for help with this error. I'm guessing their failure to mention this or address this is quite intentional.

Oh and the audio versions of the CAPTCHAs are all completely unintelligible gibberish. I'm guessing this is intentional as well.

[1] https://www.facebook.com/help/community/question/?id=4018056...

Oh dear, a bug! I wonder if it's a bug like the one that raided your linked contacts and wiped out people's email addresses and replaced them with a @facebook.com email. Or the multiple 'glitches' that would reset your privacy settings to more public.

Or the glitch that makes your input disappear if you try to use the site in desktop mode on a mobile phone. Malicious bugs are at this point an obvious FB tactic for plausible deniability in bad UX directed at users with certain behavior.

Or, not malicious at all, simply a bug. The 'delete user' functionality is going to be rarely used, so it gets hardly any QA test coverage, compared to the news feed page functionality used by many hundreds of millions of people.

>Or the multiple 'glitches' that would reset your privacy settings to more public.

I didn't know this was a real thing. I was getting ready to delete my account a couple days ago but I wanted to set all the privacy settings to be as strict as possible before I did it.

Sure enough, somehow all of the advertising and data retention settings were on the most open option possible, despite restricting them when I made the account and when I would occasionally check my privacy settings

Interesting... completely unrelated to the recent issues, a few months ago, I wanted to log in to Facebook from a mobile browser so I could follow a link without installing the app.

I also ran into a challenging captcha and a page saying my account had been “locked”, but I was still able to log in. After logging in, I received a phone call from Palo Alto. When I let the call go to voicemail, it left a message consisting only of a recorded voice saying “goodbye”. Perhaps this was some poorly-implemented two-factor auth, but in context, I felt like Facebook was intentionally making the experience of using a mobile browser unpleasant to encourage use of the app.

Sounds like the delete your account page has similar “issues”.

From my experience optimizing signup funnels, it made me wonder if somebody is doing that work in reverse here. Are they getting a bonus based on what percentage of people abandon the account deletion process?

Maybe I’m just being paranoid, and optimizing those flows is simply not a high priority. But for a tech-focused company that tends to operate at a pretty high level, it felt like they are actively making things more difficult. Like this was the shittiest experience bright minds could come up with.

That's really weird. I didn't do any of the stuff you said lead up to the call but I also got a voicemail from Palo Alto that just said "Goodbye" I joked with my friends it was that California was about to fall off the US. Wonder if it is related to facebook or something.

I definitely got it within a few minutes of logging into Facebook from a mobile browser, which is not something I normally do... maybe someone was trying to log into your account?

I use only the mobile website for years and they are slowly removing features. The last I noticed that was removed was image upload in a comment.

Dark UX

I had disabled my account a week ago, not realizing there was a separate delete option, then deleted it a couple days ago. I didn't run into this issue; I signed into my "disabled" account first, then went to the delete link and it worked.

It's a strange bug for sure. Friend I helped had to change their password 2-3 times before it would go through.

We typed it very carefully. Tried copying from notepad, the same copying used to reset the password.

It indeed felt like Hotel California, as someone below compared.

Does doing this also delete Messenger? I'm aware there's been a little bit of decoupling of the two services in recent times.

...and does it actually delete your data from Facebook's servers? I.e. all their records of your messaging history, all your photos, their ability to make a future third party face-recognize you on the street, their knowledge of who you find attractive, what party you are likely to vote for, what crimes you are likely to commit, what you like to spend money on and so on and so forth?

I don't think so. I've kept my account primarily because I assume they'd have a shadow account on me. Just because you don't have a FB account doesn't mean they don't have data on you.

I've kept an account partly for that reason. I'm wondering how much GDPR might change that though. Can anyone with more expertise on the matter weigh in?

Assuming I could be relatively certain that my data will be deleted, I'd probably keep a bare account but delete most of what they have.

I would expect that much of your data would remain, though specific portions would be anonymized. I would guess that photos, the contents of posts, etc. would vanish (eventually), but the account id and metadata, connections to other accounts, events, and the like, would remain in perpetuity.

Yes I believe so, although they say it may take a while for various batch processes to get rid of all traces - for instance tape backup.

What happens to your Spotify account if you delete/deactivate your facebook account? I made the mistake of linking the 2 when I first joined Spotify in my haste to listen to music.

Looking through my email archives, I see I had to contact Spotify support via email and ask them to delete the Spotify account I'd created via FB, so that I could signup again via an email login.

However! Spotify support were great, they offered to migrate all my playlists from the old account over to the new account. No guarantees they could do that now with everyone deleting their FB accounts at once, but I was really impressed with the friendliness of their service. They pretty much created a customer for life out of me from that support experience.


You will need to contact Spotify support if you deactivated Facebook prior to disconnecting from Spotify.

You're not the only one - for years Spotify ONLY let you sign in with Facebook. And you aren't allowed to unlink them either. I had to just start a new Spotify account and Los everything.

You will need to call Spotify. I was not able to cancel my Spotify subscription anymore after I deleted Facebook. So I had to call and they had to manually transfer all my playlists to a new account

Deactivating your account does nothing to Messenger, not sure about deleting.

Yes, unfortunately.

If you're deleting Facebook and not getting rid of messenger you're missing the point. Messenger is more invasive in many ways, even if it doesn't track your web activity as much.

Invasiveness of Messenger is much more bearable because it lets me communicate with my Facebook friends, which I see as much more important benefit compared to a time sink newsfeed.

Also, using Messenger Lite (Android only) is a vastly better experience than the main Messenger app.

It's funny, because for me the primary benefit of Facebook is events. Keeping track of events with calendar invites is much more clunky and higher friction. Messenger is just walled-garden email and I could live without it, but I have no idea how to do community events as well as I can with Facebook.

And it's funny because contrary to the "Facebook as hypnotist" narrative (which is real) Facebook is a really fantastic tool for getting people together talking face to face and even working together on things.

Until you realize that FB has no API to get events out of FB. FB might be useful but it's the same usefulness as having an email thread with a calendar invite. They don't let you export your event data in any meaningful way to keep you on the platform.

My FB events appear in my iCal just fine via CalDav. Not sure why you think you can't grab your data.

It's not just about events automatically appearing. First of all, I'm not sure of a way to do that without individually exporting events, maybe if I setup FB emails for events, I could get GMail to auto-add them, but I don't use GMail so it would take more setup to ingest invites automatically. But even then, there's no way to RSVP inside the calendar invite itself. The interface is opaque, they let you read their data, but not interact with it in a programmatic way despite it being _your_ friend network and _your_ event.

It just depends on what you use it for. A lot of my friends have cheap phone plans with low network minutes/texts but unlimited wifi. Facebook Messenger becomes a cheap phone in this case. There's alternatives, but I'd have to convince everyone I know to swap to them...not gonna happen.

Meetup.com maybe? But I agree, I use Facebook Events a lot. It comes back to that issue of "everyone is here and using it, so this is where events are posted".

If Facebook decides you should be allowed to talk face to face and work together, that is. One of the big problems with Facebook events is that the algorithm filters them out pretty aggressively unless the creator pays to promote them.

My kids school uses signup genius. There are a few solutions

SlimSocial also supports Messenger and is a good alternative to the Facebook app in general. You still have the same privacy issues regarding data on Facebook's servers, but at least this app lacks the client-side analytics.

I also use messenger to communicate with friends, but i think im going to make the effort to convince them to move to a privacy focused and non data mining platform, such as telegram.

Maybe I'm missing something, but why not just use sms?

The thing you are missing is that many of us have friends all over the world. And international SMS quickly gets expensive. (Also, most people are not on signal / your-favorite-messaging-app) ...

Group chat doesn't exist in sms.

Also it is quite old fashioned and painfully limited wrt/attachments.

And expensive for thise with families/friends abroad.

People make group chats in FB messenger. If you don't have messenger, you don't get to be in the group chat.

To give my personal answer for it, there's no other cross-platform messaging service that everyone uses.

There are other chat services sure, but the Facebook has by far the most number of people I know on it. Also, not everyone I know exchange numbers. There's no usernames, etc on Facebook so its easy to find people too.

Weird, I know, but guess generations are changing. Apparently now Snapchat has become the main form of 'communication' for many millennial with their friends. So looks like I'm falling behind.

Because SMS only supports text, but not any form of multimedia. Granted you can use MMS but that's really expensive and only does photo and video. Also, SMS has no encryption or sender authentication, not even any way to prevent MITM sniffing or spoofing (which is why online banking SMS verification is unsafe as hell).

Try threema. They have multimedia, everything is encrypted and group chat works well. - Not open source, it cost a little, but I trust them.

My friends use messenger and getting them to change is hard, not sure why they migrated to it in the first place...

SMS isn't cross-platform and costs money.

If I have messenger (edit: Messenger Lite) on my phone, is it tracking my location the same as the facebook app would? I usually have location services turned off but I don't imagine that makes much difference.

(I bet that's a stupid question)

Not a stupid question.

I also don't know if turning off location services actually disables the ability of apps to get your location.

It does not. It's essentially preventing them from getting granular or "fine" location. They can still get basic telemetry as I recall.

Bye FB, and while I'm at it, so long LinkedIn. Good riddance.

For too many years I kept a page at popular social networks even if they added negative value for me. I don't know, what if someone place a page there impersonating me? Well, I don't care anymore.

The problem is, how do you find out how many sites you currently use Facebook Connect for, and get non-FB Connect logins for?

Until recently I thought Lyft made Facebook login mandatory, I'm not sure if that's still the case.

I think if you look under "Apps" in your Facebook account settings, you can see a list of websites where you're logged in with Facebook.

I use Lyft, and I have never used Facebook to log into ANYTHING. So I don't know if they support dropping an existing Facebook login, but they certainly support other authentication methods. (Mine is username-password.)

I don’t have a Facebook account and use Lyft.

For anyone staying because of Facebook Messenger, it's not obvious but you can tie Messenger to your phone number instead of having a Facebook account.

It still requires you to create a new account (that has an account key you can automically store in Google Drive) but it works.

The downsides are that messenger.com doesn't support this so you can only access messenger on your phone and that Facebook still has an idea of who you are.

Does FB put in writing somewhere that deleting your account will result in all your data, including inferences and profiling data derived from data you and others have provided will be actually purged from their systems? Or do they just delete what little personal data you may have provided directly, but could still reconstitute virtually everything about you, whether anonymized or re-linked upon request or payment by a third party?

Search for "deleted" in https://www.facebook.com/full_data_use_policy. The bit you'd be worried about is: Keep in mind that information that others have shared about you is not part of your account and will not be deleted when you delete your account.

Which is wrong obviously. I should be able to purge all info about me from the site. Its not hard - after all, people tag users they talk about.

It's not obvious to me that other people's comments should be deleted or modified because they mention you. What if they mention you again after you've left?

Facebook is like Hotel California.

> You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave!"

> Earlier I had “deactivated” my account thinking it would get deleted, but then I learned I have to visit this page to actually delete it.

Thank you for pointing this out. I, too, was under the impression that "Deactivate" was the delete option, especially considering they place a "Delete" segment right above it but make it sound as if that is about handling your account after death. Some definite dark patterns in the UI right there.

It's both a dark pattern and a connivence - there are a bunch of people who will deactivate their account and then start it up again. Having the data there to just... rehydrate the account makes that re-onboarding much more seamless.

But yeah, there's a sneaking dark side to how they use that feature.

I thought my account was deleted for years. I randomly started getting FB emails about a month ago. A few days ago I was emailed about being tagged in a dead friends picture. Bye Zuck, I hate you at a personal level.

Deleting Facebook now, without good alternatives, might cause more problems than good.

Instead, we should first model what the future of social networking should look like:


Then I am curious to hear people's thoughts on:

- Mastodon

- Secure Scuttlebutt

- Steemit


> Deleting Facebook now, without good alternatives, might cause more problems than good

It's safe to do it now. I got you covered:




What's this mean? Really rich dude did something, you should too?

Is it not "safe" to do something until the guy people worship does something? Have respect for yourself.

Parent is saying that the Facebook alternative is a personal/corporate website.

Maybe (though it's vague enough to mean anything), but it's definitely of the Musk does it, you can too variety.

Those alternatives never went anywhere for the past 14 years. Musk is late to the game, what's his wiki prove?

The "I've got new respect for Musk" mantra (actually stated in this thread) when he's doing what other people have been doing for a decade, only difference is, he's rich, is very follow the crowd for something which prides itself on individuality like HN.

I think that the message ModernMech is trying to convey is the following:

-if you want to read the news for Tesla, go to their website -you don't need to be spied on 24/7 and having that "intelligence" coming back to bite you -you don't need a constant spy to follow you around to any page with a "like" button -you don't need to waste 60mins in cat videos and party photos on a party you were not invited, if your actual need to see the news about the new Tesla XYZ car

I #deletedFacebook a decade ago. I've been more than fine, as will everyone.

Hearing people’s rationalization for why leaving FB is impossible makes you realize how addictive and insidious the product truly is.

Seriously. It's like listening to smokers rationalize why they can't stop.

Conveniently ignoring that smokers do have a substance addition to nicotine.

I'm not ignoring it. The rationalizations just sounds similar, that's all. If anything it speaks to the strength of people's addiction to Facebook.

Secure Scuttlebutt is pretty amazing. I've seen a few demos of people who run a private social network app, Patchwork. Definitely something to look out for.

> I am curious to hear people's thoughts on: Mastodon, Secure Scuttlebutt, Steemit

None of them are very good...?

Many of us use Telegram.

Others use Signal.

Signal advantages: tptacek thinks the crypto is good.

Signal disadvantage: It wont work with limited permissions on your phone according to some people on HN.

Telegram advantage: somewhat more userfriendly. Larger userbase. Works even if you limit its permissions.

Telegram disadvantage: every cryptographer seems to think their crypto is bad. Uncertainty wrt their relations with Russian government. (I think they are enemies but some think they are very good friends or blackmailed into cooperation.)

> Signal disadvantage: It wont work with limited permissions on your phone according to some people on HN.

I'm curious as to what those limited permissions are? I assume this refers to iOS, because in my experience, Android is not as restrictive of apps.

Not anymore, fixed approx. 2 months ago, see changelog:

> This holiday season, don't ask for everything all at once (especially during installation). Signal now supports dynamic permissions.

> Many of us use Telegram.

And some friends and me use Threema. Very old fashioned: you pay some money and get a product. But I wouldn't want to switch.

Imho threema is the best client overall. Very fast, very reliable, great UI, good crypto. Designed for company usage. Security whise however I guess Signal has the upper hand.

They both audit their crypto:

Threema audit: https://threema.ch/es/faq/code_audit

Signal audit: https://eprint.iacr.org/2016/1013.pdf

Sounds like a product I'd like.

I used to like WhatsApp, another app with an old-fashioned business model ...

Disadvantages of Telegram, Signal: Add: don't work on desktops.

Telegram works well on desktops. For me that is part of being userfriendly.

The signal app works fine for me (on Mac)...

While I don't normally give much weight to Business Insider, they have an interesting theory [1] that this is related to Zuckerberg's nasty comments about SpaceX after the rocket carrying Facebook's 85M satellite blew up.

Must feel pretty good for Elon considering how much press this is getting.

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-deletes-tesla-space...

Sounds overblown to me. Zuck's statement was: “As I’m here in Africa, I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent.”

I don't see anything nasty about that. It was SpaceX's failure.

It's passive-aggressive. A bit like deleting one's facebook profile I guess.

A bit of a different though. Elon did not intentionally destroy the Falcon 9 in question, and SpaceX worked very hard to determine what caused the issue and rectify it for future flights. Zuckerberg knew for years what was going on with user data, and gave zero f*s until they were caught.

Substantially easier to throw shade (passive aggressively even) from the moral high ground.

Elon cares tremendously about bad press. He's specifically banned all reporters from filming launch or recovery attempts in case there are failures.

You'll notice that there are NO social media posts whenever there's a accident (of which there have been many).

Zuck drawing attention to it must have really pissed Elon off.

Source? Anecdotally speaking, it seems that there's been about as much coverage for each failed launch as there has been for each successful one.

Um, except when Elon posts video compilations of their failures... (seems to me they're pretty open)


They do that in a carefully controlled way, well after the event is too cold for the news cycle. And even then, some events that are too dicey-looking are never seen.

Mark, this is not a criticism. Given the way the media handles such things (i.e. sensationally and with minimal or just plain wrong context) it's really for the best.

I'm confused--aren't the launches broadcast live via webstream?

Yes, but landings at sea tend to cause the video feed to go away, and it doesn't come back if anything goes wrong.

I'm sure they have a delay.

I don't understand why this is downvoted. This is exactly how a PR firm or department will handle those things.

What? The general public films all SpaceX launches and all landings on land, not to mention reporters.

>NO social media posts whenever there's a accident

Sometimes there are - in fact its a running joke that he calls them "rapid unscheduled disassemblies" (or something like that).

inb4 the conspiracy theories that the rocket blowing up was to set back a competitor to StarLink

I'm afraid that ship has already sailed...

How is deleting a profile on a website "passive aggressive?"

It is when you do it publicly and announce it to the world.

Where is the passive part?

Do you know what passive aggressive means?

Well, no. Doing so openly and not only your own, but also publicly from your companys ... is much more agressive.

So if he would have done it, only because of that statement, I would say clearly overreaction. But deleting Facebook because it is Facebook ... makes still sense.

I think you’d at least passive aggressively be mad too if a moving company blew up the truck with your stuff on it, accidentally or not.

If you only had that furniture, yes; if you had no money left to replace it, definitely.

Not when you have enough wealth to replace it. Shit happens, and getting furniture into space is an intrinsic risky affair.

Plus a satellite doesn't have intrinsic value. If a moving truck lost all my stuff I didn't intrinsically value I'd just contact my insurance company and buy a new one. Obviously it takes time to build a satellite, but it's not like it was personal.

Are you seriously comparing a 85M satellite's destruction to deleting a Facebook page?

> It was SpaceX's failure.

In an extremely high-risk endeavor where all parties knew all possible outcomes

The CEO of a huge company throwing public shade at a business partner for a scenario that was known to be a possibility.

That statement works equally well for both CEOs.

Though Musk knowing how Facebook would treat data seems more of the "I'm a scorpion .... it's what I do" variety

As if this rocket blowing up was just peachy for Elon Musk? He was probably as disappointed in the launch failure as Zuckerberg was, if not moreso because it's his entire business. The satellite was a side project for Facebook.

It's not a contest, though. Two people can be disappointed by the same thing.

And #deleteFacebook is Facebook’s fault. MZ could have phrased his statement more charitably — if he had, Musk may have responded differently.

Does anyone know if the connectivity was to be "free basics"? (provide internet but only to fb properties and select others, but not Google, or the open internet)

Basically - Musk Is the MAN!

OT: do/did you work at a Domino's in the Hudson Valley?

whats wrong with working at Domino's in the Hudson valley? I don't think you need to work at Domino's to think the man is a man of his word and a bias towards action.

He didn't indicate there was.

He's just asking. Strikes me that he somehow recognizes you from there. "OT" = Off Topic, so the question wasn't about "the man".

His handle was the store number of the Domino's in Poughkeepsie.

Facebook didnt own the satellite, msm would lead you to believe they did. Facebook had just leased all the capacity of the satellite from Spacecom. Facebook lost nothing, there was no feaud.

> msm would lead you to believe they did

Yes, blame the media. A faceless abstraction to take your frustrations out on.

The reason people believe Facebook owned the satellite is because of Zuck's own words: "SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite."

Note he said "our," not "the bird we were going to lease time on."

Not that much different from people saying "my car" when they're still making payments to a bank.

Pocketstar is right. Media is supposed to do the checks for any statements and provide the correct info, not just reprint tweets and dramatize them.

99% of "media" reporters are general assignment. That means today they're reporting on rockets. Tomorrow on cats. Nobody can be an expert in everything, which is why there is niche media.

In mass media, there's a spectrum between fast and accurate. The internet age prioritizes fast over accurate.

Yeah actually I think that's the way almost anyone would have described it. Just like you say "my office" for the space your company leases and you work in. But I also agree that it is part of what the news media is supposed to do to point out that the satellite wasn't actually owned by Facebook.

Don't forget another instance of back and forth between MZ and EM on twitter about "Dangers of Artificial Intelligence."

>Musk's negative feelings torwards Facebook may be related to a 2016 dispute where Zuckerberg implied that he blamed SpaceX for a failed launch which destroyed a Facebook satellite.

And today is a what year? I had a better opinion about Business Insider.

If that was the reason then why did he not delete the accounts on 2016? I think that the journalist is trying to mislead the public opinion.

Why? Business Insider is an SEO operation run by someone who is permanently banned from the securities industry due to fraud.


Well you certainly get a lot more press for dissing Facebook right now than back then. It's the scapegoat of the moment, may as well take advantage and get on board if it suits you.

I think Occam's razor applies.

Several days ago, Musk posted about his brand new "media empire" called Thud! [0] — "That’s the name of my new intergalactic media empire, exclamation point optional" [1].

Not implying that he is building a FB competitor but I'd rather we wait and see, rather than speculate as to his motives for deleting those accounts/pages.

EDIT: Thinking about it a little more, he hasn't deleted his Instagram yet although he acknowledges "FB influence is slowly creeping in".

I think the influence he is referring to is the unintended consequences of the AI powering "The Algorithm" used by Facebook, which no one seems to fully understand. IOW his fears about an all encompassing AI may have something to do with his decision. He has publicly criticized Zuck for being naive [2] about the risks that careless application of AI portends to everyone.

“AI is a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive because if we’re reactive in AI regulation it’s too late,”

[0] https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/973857445683462145

[11 https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/973972643190792193

[2] https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/889743782387761152

Not too long ago there was also some beef on Twitter between Elon and Zuck about AI [1]. Guess that made the decision a bit easier for Elon.

[1] https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/25/16024444/ai-safety-threat...

So glad that facebook satelite blew up.

That was one of the few times that a rocket blowing up put a smile on my face. The last thing the world needs is Facebook satellites constantly orbiting overhead.

The satellite was headed to geostationary orbit over africa, 4Deg west. Unless you live in northern africa the satellite would never be overhead.

Being pedantic: In GEO, with an orbital radius of about 42Mm, and earth having a radius of 7Mm, that gives a radius of 7Mm * acos( 7Mm / 42Mm ) ~ 9800km around 4°W (almost a hemisphere), for which it would be overhead.

But admittedly it would only give service to a portion of that.

Props for Mm, instead of 'thousand km'.

I read his tweets and I thought he was just joking. New level of respect for Elon.

I've learned to never assume Elon is joking.

Or, that he is, and is following through just to spite you.

I really can't tell anymore, but I'm certainly entertained.

Particularly after the flamethrowers. I'm sorry, I mean the not-flamethrowers;)

New level of marketing probably more accurate

Facebook pages are in and of themselves avenues for marketing. Stop being so damn cynical about every single thing people do. It is possible, believe it or not, for people to have personal values and beliefs that extend beyond the ceaseless desire for money.

I think the OP above is being practical as opposed to cynical. TBH, most of the demographic that followed him on FB also have insta and twitter. Most of the people i know in my age group (college age - 24) don't even use FB anymore. Theres a little joke that as soon as your parents start to use the platform its time to jump ship. On top of that, its created articles like this - which has led to even more publicity. I also wasn't aware that any of these FB pages existed but i follow them all on insta and twitter.

My thoughts exactly, practicality as opposed to cynicism.

Also, what are his personal values? Who knows? Why does he bore the underground with abandon even when he acknowledges that the environmental impacts are not completely know. One study says autonomous vehicles can be as effective for congestion easing as his underground tunnels.

His transportation is the next level of dependency he is creating and we are turning a blind eye to. As these corporations' services get too essential (through lobbying), there won't be any choice to #delete_boring.

I respect him for what he has achieved, but too much celebrity worship is something we should all be watchful of.

I believe that future cities shouldn’t require roads. The amount of space wasted on roads and parking can be used for better things.

And if anyone hasn’t noticed (this gets brought up all the time), Musk is commercializing everything needed for colonization of the moon/Mars. Electric motors, solar energy, underground infrastructure, and space travel.

Considering his big picture goal is "humans on more than one world", this makes perfect sense. And isn't 100% obvious.

He's been talking about Mars since day one. It's just some people refuse to listen / believe that he really means it.

As entertaining as I think this is, come on.

He took a dare to prove he is "the man", give me a break. It's an amazing PR move (and a pretty funny one too), but this isn't about "personal values"; it's about the same as the flamethrower and the Roadster launch, Elon being Elon, and showing everyone he is Elon. What's better than being a playful billionaire who is in full control of his companies? Everyone knowing he is a playful billionaire who is in full control of his companies lol.

If it were about "personal values" he would've released a statement condemning the events and deleted his and his companies instagram accounts too. Instagram is the hot place to build "cool" brand value right now though, so I doubt he will. Facebook pages are useful for a number of reasons, but not essential to the way Tesla and SpaceX make money.

I don't find it overly cynical. I distrust Elon Musk and other public figures and their motives at all times, just as a matter of policy.

Also having values that extend beyond money is, ironically, a lot easier when you have plenty of money.

In today's society having tons of money is the best possible approximation of not needing money at all, which makes having values beyond it (and following them) a lot easier.

Not that I'm criticizing Musk as I respect him as much as I have low consideration for Zuckerberg, but if Tesla was a startup struggling to stay afloat it probably would have changed something.

"Also having values that extend beyond money is, ironically, a lot easier when you have plenty of money."

In general, yes. But I believe that neither Musk, nor Zuck have "plenty of money". Not when one of them ones to go to mars and the other one control the worlds communication. As you need really much money for both.

> Stop being so damn cynical [...] people to have personal values and beliefs that extend beyond the ceaseless desire for money.

They do, but a great deal of stuff out there, if not determined wholly by profit, is at least heavily influenced or constrained by it or similar considerations. Social media is full of self-promoters and curated personas with spurious motives. What curated personas like these publish is in the best case constrained by profit, but in practice done to enhance the brand. Elon Musk is a brand. The deletion of his Facebook pages is at best irrelevant, but most likely just a cheap and easy way to enhance his celebrity or dissociate himself from Facebook. Why else delete them, and delete them now? The recent media brouhaha is largely a nothingburger in the greater context. You think Elon didn't know what many people have known about the use of data extracted from social media?

He is defining the SpaceX brand. He may or may not have strong opinions about Facebook.

> It is possible, believe it or not, for people to have personal values and beliefs that extend beyond the ceaseless desire for money.

The best trick is to make people believe this when the opposite is more true.

My comment is accurate and object, and it is particularly appropriate in response to "respect".

And this is why Elon is so successful, he cares deeply and he has integrity.

Many people care deeply and have integrity. Why aren't they successful?

My comment doesn't say others won't be successful, I perhaps should have said it's a reason why he's so successful - albeit not the only reason.

Uh... I'm pretty sure SpaceX and Tesla marketing teams are kinda sad right now.

Quite honestly, both companies have enough exposure through the media that losing their Facebook pages is unlikely to make much of a difference. (Especially for a company like SpaceX, which was mostly reaching individuals who weren't in any position to do business with them.)

I would assume a company that size could potentially have at least one person who's full time job (or sizable portion of their job if social was a low priority) was to maintain those pages.

I'm not quite sure how this action will increase the number of Teslas or rocketships sold...?

Google News notes 21,000+ news stories. A few minutes' work, huge talk about Tesla & SpaceX. Very cost-effective marketing.

> That’s a quick turnaround, since Musk seems only to have found out these pages existed about 20 minutes prior to his taking them all offline.

From the article. Guess you missed that part. I don't think our boy hatched an evil master marketing plan in 20 minutes. Sounds more like a reaction based on principles.

That makes sense if Tesla & SpaceX was an indie hacker startup nobody has heard of. Do you really think Governments will start ordering SpaceX rockets because of this news? Why will someone buy a Tesla because the company deleted their FB page? For what is worth they will lose some Tesla customers they would have reached through Facebook. There is a reason why all the major companies in the world spend tons of money on their FB page. FB page helps companies land more customers.

Please mention the reason as well why this comment is getting downvoted. Downvoting without reason will never help me to figure out why my logic is flawed.

> New level of respect for Elon.

Also for me. Though in the opposite direction than I assume for you. Unless he also trows away his iPhone and changes his start page from Google to Duck Duck Go, it's a pretty irrational move that I'm surprised to see from Musk.

What's irrational is to expect people to share your principles of extricating themselves from all logging.

I don't have principles of extricating my self from all logging.

I'm pointing out the hypocritical in seeing a big problem on sharing data with Facebook while having no issue with sharing data with Apple, Google, Twitter etc.

Apple isn't packaging and selling your data. They don't even look at it. iCloud is about the same as Amazon S3 -- it's just a storage system. They aren't doing analytics on your data to sell you things.


Facebook does also not sell your data. Facebook sell your eyeballs. They do however give away your data for free to 3rd party developers as does Apple, Google and many other.

On what basis do you see hypocrisy? Could it be merely that they see Facebook as the threat they want to deal with now?

Facebook has been shown to be completely careless with securing your data - this wasn't even a data breach, the functionality to get all the data was a part of their API. Apple on the other hand has been very publically proactive about protecting your data.

I feel like this is more a reaction to the complete lack of responsibility Facebook had for keeping your data secure rather than the collection of data in the first place.

1) It has been like this for 10 years and it has been documented in plain sight. Also in this time frame user data has been progressively better protected. Data is better protected on Facebook now than it has even been. So why this outcry in 2018?

2) How does Apple protect 3rd party apps from collecting data? iOS apps even has the option of tracking your location - something that FB apps never had as far as I recall.

1) The perspective of "I have nothing to hide, I have no issue sharing all my data with FaceBook" has been very prevalent for a long time, as the consequences of that happening on a large scale are not obvious at a glance. It's a nuanced topic with too many variables. It takes a large enough event that can be (correctly or not) attributed to this in order to gain peoples attention. Foreign adversary potentially using this information and tooling to influence domestic elections is a large enough event to result in that coming to the public eye.

2) Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp all have "Always" permissions options for Location Services on iOS. Instagram has "While using" or "Never" only. Wouldn't expect this to be substantially different on Android.

1) It's irrational. Facebook as an advertising platform is likely much more effective than what you will gain by crunching the limited data collected through apps. Googles advertising platform has other data points than Facebook but is equally potent in targeted marketing. However the biggest irrational hypocrisy in this shitstorm is that TV ads has always been known to be very effective in influencing elections yet no one has tweeted #deletetv.

2) Since Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp are all 3rd party apps on Apple's platform, you just proved my point. Though I'm not sure you intented to?

You have to explicitly grant location permissions for every app individually, plus the iPhone warns you if an app is using your location in the background, plus gives you the option to only give the app your location while it's open.

So exactly like with Facebook apps, where you also grant permission for every app individually and have granular control over which data if any at all can be shared?

The feature where your iPhone is notifying which app is using your location is a recent feature in iOS. Remember than the current criticism of Facebook is related to how Facebook was doing things years ago. So we should also compare with early versions of iOS to be fair.

I don't think #deletefacebook is a backlash against the results of the 2016 elections. To me it seems that it's more about it now being socially acceptable to dislike Facebook and social media in general. Some may have always innately disliked it, but never had the follow through with any desire to get rid of it, or had to keep it for business/appearances.

> socially acceptable to dislike Facebook and social media in general.

I then find it ironic that it is using #hashtag in the movements name then.

Hashtags has been popular before Facebook and in a number of other media.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it dates back to C? And # is used as includes / other first compiler steps? And the hashtag on twitter is a reference to this.

An early Twitter user suggested using hashtags, think he's generally credited with it:


I was under the impression that it was popularized by IRC #channels

Twitter hashtags has obvious similarities and differences to IRC channels.

However I have a strong feeling that I modified/used hashtags (as tagging, not as a channel) back in 2005/6.

I think I got the idea from another system (probably some early wiki) but I'm unable to recall now.

I thought it was to make keyword searches work on twitter

Sure but that notation looks obviously inspired by IRC to me.

when i started using twitter back in 2008, that's how it felt to me -- that # tags were basically irc rooms and twitter itself was just a big async irc

I doubt that. The meaning of # in C does my resemble hashtags at all.

I would guess it was inspired by IRC, the first popular chat system, dating back to the 70s or 80s, which uses channels named with the hashmark and which are often named after the conversation topic

Edit: the meaning of # in C does not resemble hashtags at all. Typo.

Don’t forget HTML fragment identifier:



I tend to agree with you there. It's difficult for me to believe that the single Cambridge Analytics thing is it personally. And it sounds like as far back as 2012, an Obama campaign person mentioned they were getting similar information. The reality, for me, is I don't/didn't care -- I left Facebook a few years ago[0].

Up until this point, I was pretty sure Facebook wouldn't end up going the direction of MySpace -- partly because there's not a perfect/better alternative (as Facebook was to MySpace) and partly because Facebook has subscribers that I never saw with MySpace[1], and there are increasing numbers non-Facebook things of things tightly coupled with Facebook[2]. At this point, however, the needle has moved quite a bit. There's clearly a massive market for this; and unfortunately, Facebook has everyone on it, which is the product to most people. Starting up a similar social network -- even with amazing features that Facebook lacks (I can't think of any) won't bring people in if the rest of their family, friends, the HS crush they want to stalk, etc aren't there.

Personally speaking, since leaving Facebook, I don't feel like I lost anything. Of the large friend list that I had, there were a small handful that I knew in real life; the rest were acquaintances or people from my past that were it not for Facebook I wouldn't have been terribly interested in having conversations with. Of the small handful, they were there before Facebook and are there after Facebook. It wasn't lost on me that of that friends list, nobody on the "I used to know you/barely know you" ever became a good friend and outside of my volunteer team, very few of the "people I knew in HS/previous jobs/otherwise used to associate with" ended up being people I saw in person.

I did feel like I gained a lot by leaving, though. No more inane posts from people thinking their 40 word status update is going to make me say "Oh, my goodness! All of my political beliefs are wrong. Thank GOD I read your incredible rant about (some dumb politician)" (and other forms of political masturbation), or stupidity like "dial 46 instead of 911 on your cell phone" and other urban legends posted by elderly friends along with their immediate replies linking to Snopes. All sorts of wasted time was reclaimed.

Unfortunately, this would probably have been the perfect* time for Google to launch Google+ and aggressively mine gmail users to create a friends list. I don't think dusting that off at this point would help, especially since a lot of the folks I know who are sour on Facebook feel the same way about Google these days, but it's a tough spot for anyone outside of them to fill adequately.

[0] I was never terribly happy about the privacy thing, but if you value privacy there's a whole lot of the internet you won't use. I left after receiving an angry phone call from a family member because I failed to "like" a picture ... once I became socially obligated to use Facebook in a specific manner, I decided it wasn't worth it. Between that and a somewhat recent announcement -- at the time -- that they'd begin linking stories you read around the web to your account despite you being logged out, I'd had it.

[1] My parents, aunts and uncles had barely heard of MySpace outside of scare-pieces that landed on the local news, let alone considered getting accounts. They're all on Facebook. The volunteer team I led for 5 years which consisted mostly of retired individuals all had Facebook accounts. Ask them about Twitter, Instagram, etc and it feels like I'm talking about MySpace again.

[2] There are services I can't sign up for and groups which have nothing to do with the Internet that I will not show up on their members list and have to rely on my wife to get updates from because that's the only place they provide information.

I always had respect for the fact that Apple just never used Facebook...except for claiming the profile it seems.


  > Typically replies within an hour

Most companies have that... it's often just a bot.

They have a facebook messenger bot so thats more than likely why.

They use Instagram and Facebook to advertise iPhone's alot.

Wow, I never knew that.

Why would they use it? Nothing to gain.

Probably for ads. Since ads can be rendered as regular post a profile is needed but they won't be rendered in the profile's feed.

Apple also has an account with no posts on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apple

Apple's Twitter account is used exclusively for ads and special functionality like reminding you about events.


I wonder if Facebook lets them do something similar.

Boycotts are one of the most effective methods consumers have to enact change.

Sadly, I can't agree with you.

While occasionally boycotts have encouraged changes, it typically only happens when other companies get involved.

Consumers "voting with their wallet" very seldom accomplishes much, except giving people a sense of having "done something".

That said, if companies and advertisers start publicly pulling support (like we see here, and the Mozilla story), it can start to raise internal flags, and (occasionally) lead to change.

While I get somewhat nervous about bureaucrats that don't understand technology writing overly broad laws, I do have to agree that legislation is often the most effective driver of change.

> While occasionally boycotts have encouraged changes, it typically only happens when other companies get involved.

The other companies getting involved are a result of the boycott and the attention driven by it, so that's just a mechanism of the effect of boycott's, not an indication that they lack effect.

And even if they are weak, that doesn't mean they aren't one of the most effective mechanisms consumers, as such, have to effect change: that would only be rebutted by the presence of demonstrably more effective methods available to consumers.

> While I get somewhat nervous about bureaucrats that don't understand technology writing overly broad laws, I do have to agree that legislation is often the most effective driver of change.

Outside of direct democracy systems (including limited direct democracies, like representative systems where citizens retain the power of initiative), legislation isn't a power of the people generally, but a power that the people can indirectly influence by other means. And citizen influence campaigns against government (especially when there are entrenched interests opposed) are not notably more efficacious than boycotts against businesses. (Indeed, boycotts against businesses are often resorted to -- and sometimes successful in producing legislative changes -- after conventional citizen activism directed at legislative change without boycotts fails.)

I have to disagree.

Target/Sears vanished in Canada because enough of us did vote with the wallets.

Facebook is just another company, with the difference that a lot of powerfull people now wants them gone.

> Target/Sears vanished in Canada

Pretty sure target didn't shut down in Canada over boycotts.


Well, the shops were lacklusting so everyone decided "let's not go there". Most of those were in locations that would be convenient too, you didn't even need to go out of your way to go to a Target. People still decided not to shop there. That's pretty much voting with your wallet.

What other word would you use if a chunk of the population intentionally goes out of their way to walk to a store further away, just to not enter Target?

In the case of Facebook, users are the product. If they lose 20% of their users, the usefulness of their product diminishes.

Social media companies would literally vanish if all the users stopped using them. What would actual users stand to lose? Event scheduling seems to be the main reason I read on here why people stay. There are soo many ways to do that - it would not be a hardship on users if they view the social gain of #deletefacebook.

> Consumers "voting with their wallet" very seldom accomplishes much,

Boycotts might not acheive much, but there is a much broader class of consuemers voting with their wallet and we usually just call it market forces.

And they have less to do with what consumers want, and more to do with what companies offer as available options to choose from.

The point still stands. Voting with your wallet doesn't work for any meaningful interpretation of the word "voting".

I can't think of a successful boycott. I believe the largest attempt I witnessed was against BP when they just sank an old oil platform, including all sorts of toxins and petrochemicals.

I think that made a single-digit dent in their revenue.

Politics and law enforcement are far better tools to get corporations to behave. They solve the coordination problem, they can far easier track changing and long chains of ownership, and they allow you to delegate the research work to someone you trust.

What do you mean by successful? Usually the point is not to dent revenue, it's to cause behaviour change. And there is a long list of boycotts that have achieved that. http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/boycotts/successfulboycotts.a...

Looking at that list, I see two main categories.

One are outcomes dubiously tied to boycotts - did Sea World change their orca problem to protect revenues, or because they feared legal intervention?

The second is indirect outcomes, where the bad actor and the boycott-ee are different. If you threaten a purchaser over a supplier, or a supplier over a purchaser, they can hope to change behavior with no major loss of revenue. It's a very different situation than changing the actual bad behavior. (And in many of these cases the bad behavior was unchanged, some external company just dissociated from it.)

There do seem to be some solid successes there, for instance with product safety, food source sustainability, or sweatshop labor. But even there, I'm curious whether the threat of boycott was a primary influence compared to the other activist campaigns around it.

> One are outcomes dubiously tied to boycotts - did Sea World change their orca problem to protect revenues, or because they feared legal intervention?

They feared legal intervention due to the public attention drawn by the boycott.

Affecting revenue of a targeted actor directly is not the only mechanism by which boycotts are intended to have an effect.

I agree that revenue hits are not the only (and usually not the primary) effect of boycotts.

But what I'm questioning is "due to the public attention drawn by the boycott." Was the consumer boycott actually a major reason SeaWorld feared legal action?

When Blackfish came out, a lot of musicians cancelled planned SeaWorld concerts, which had a visible and immediate revenue impact. Share prices dropped 33%, even though revenue only dropped ~1%; presumably shareholders feared the possibility of legal action. And a range of state and federal Congressmen introduced bills on regarding orca captivity, explicitly citing Blackfish as a motivator.

Boycotts are certainly correlated with major corporate and legal changes, but I'm skeptical that they're a significant cause. Examples like SeaWorld make me think that boycotts and policy changes have common causes (e.g. Blackfish), but the boycotts aren't themselves very impactful.

The Chicago Tribune had a clever bit about the gun-seller boycotts, arguing that boycotts only matter as a way to keep the topic in the news, and it basically doesn't matter whether people actually participate. That's basically my guess, also.


There has been research into the effectiveness of consumer boycotts. They can be really effective especially against brands.

Nike boycott in the 1990s was really effective. The company’s sales fell in short them, but the damage to the brand was even more significant. Nike had to work a decade to repair the 'child labor' reputation and adopt the global sustainable idea.

On the other hand consumer boycotts against products without brand or network externalities have less effect. They suffer from free rider effect. Boycot is essentially subsidizing the consumption of those who use the boycotted product.

Indiana - NCAA, GenCon etc threatening to leave over the religious freedom law. It worked. Pence was forced to amend it - weakening it.

The bus boycott in Alabama by MLK and others.

Boycotts can be an effective tool.

The biggest influence was Salesforce's threat to leave after just acquiring Indianapolis based ExactTarget. Benioff was very persuasive along with NCAA, GenCon and most of the Indiana business community.

Moving the NCAA Tournament out of North Carolina changed the bathroom law within a year if memory serves.

Outrage over Indiana's "religious freedom" act led to several threatened pullouts and changes in the law.

Recent successful boycotts include UFW's "no uvas" and the boycotts related to apartheid.

Wikipedia also has a longer list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_boycotts

Boycotts aren't going to be effective against companies that make basic commodities, because those companies don't interact directly with their consumers. Facebook deals directly with its users and advertising clients. I think consumer-facing companies are a lot more careful to maintain good PR and avoid boycotts in the first place.

> Boycotts aren't going to be effective against companies that make basic commodities, because those companies don't interact directly with their consumers.

The grape boycott would suggest otherwise.

They took down gawker by targeting their advertisers. Before the hulk thing their ad revenue was decimated.

It's hard to identify cause and effect, but the large UK/European consumer boycott of South Africa in the 1980s may have had some effect, and there are US Federal laws against boycotting Israel (BDS), so i guess someone fears it is effective in some way.

The #DeleteUber campaign was remarkably successful.

one week ago there was a link here on HN with data that it wasn't successful.

The NFL got Arizona to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by refusing to hold a Super Bowl there until they did.

Only in cases where the benefits gained and the detriments caused by the consumption are more or less in proportion. In many (most) cases, the benefits are internalized by the consumer and the burdens externalized. In all those cases 'vote with your wallet' has no effect beyond personal handicapping and feel good. Actively pursuing/supporting regulation to curb the behavior is (nearly) always the better option.

Why are the two things opposed or incompatible?

99% of people don't care. This changes absolutely nothing.

This is precisely the opposite of true. Boycotts almost never have any effect; the impossible coordination problem they impose is why we need governments and regulation instead.

Boycotts, kind of like protests, show to the government that people care. Specifically, it shows the people care enough to actually take action that takes effort. That is a rather high level of caring.

So, it seems to me that boycots (and protests) are important for convincing regulators something is an issue.

I would write that as "Boycotts are one of the least effective methods consumers have to enact change."

I agree with you. Let's see if anything change in a few days and these pages are back. I believe Facebook will not delete them forever.

Strongly disagree. Boycotts are almost never effective. What is effective is legislative changes, marching in the streets, and the occasional turned over car.

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