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.
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.
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.
This! I can resonate with all of your points. But this one is one of their major weaknesses.
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.)
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
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'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.
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
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?
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.
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
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
>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.
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.
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.
"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?
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.
Wow. Is this still common these days? I rarely check FB. Honestly, I end up checking Twitter and HN way more.
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.
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.
"Incorrect email/password combination"
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.
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
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.
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.
> You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave!"
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.
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.
Also, using Messenger Lite (Android only) is a vastly better experience than the main Messenger app.
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.
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".
Also it is quite old fashioned and painfully limited wrt/attachments.
And expensive for thise with families/friends abroad.
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.
(I bet that's a stupid question)
I also don't know if turning off location services actually disables the ability of apps to get your location.
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.
Until recently I thought Lyft made Facebook login mandatory, I'm not sure if that's still the case.
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.
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.
But yeah, there's a sneaking dark side to how they use that feature.
Instead, we should first model what the future of social networking should look like:
Then I am curious to hear people's thoughts on:
- Secure Scuttlebutt
It's safe to do it now. I got you covered:
Is it not "safe" to do something until the guy people worship does something? Have respect for yourself.
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.
-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
None of them are very good...?
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.)
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.
> This holiday season, don't ask for everything all at once (especially during installation). Signal now supports dynamic permissions.
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.
They both audit their crypto:
Threema audit: https://threema.ch/es/faq/code_audit
I used to like WhatsApp, another app with an old-fashioned business model ...
Must feel pretty good for Elon considering how much press this is getting.
I don't see anything nasty about that. It was SpaceX's failure.
Substantially easier to throw shade (passive aggressively even) from the moral high ground.
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.
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.
Sometimes there are - in fact its a running joke that he calls them "rapid unscheduled disassemblies" (or something like that).
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.
Not when you have enough wealth to replace it. Shit happens, and getting furniture into space is an intrinsic risky affair.
In an extremely high-risk endeavor where all parties knew all possible outcomes
He's just asking. Strikes me that he somehow recognizes you from there. "OT" = Off Topic, so the question wasn't about "the man".
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.
In mass media, there's a spectrum between fast and accurate. The internet age prioritizes fast over accurate.
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.
Several days ago, Musk posted about his brand new "media empire" called Thud!  — "That’s the name of my new intergalactic media empire, exclamation point optional" .
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  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,”
But admittedly it would only give service to a portion of that.
I really can't tell anymore, but I'm certainly entertained.
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.
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.
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.
Also having values that extend beyond money is, ironically, a lot easier when you have plenty of money.
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.
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.
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?
The best trick is to make people believe this when the opposite is more true.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 then find it ironic that it is using #hashtag in the movements name then.
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 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
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, and there are increasing numbers non-Facebook things of things tightly coupled with Facebook. 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
> Typically replies within an hour
Apple also has an account with no posts on Twitter: https://twitter.com/apple
I wonder if Facebook lets them do something similar.
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.
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.)
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.
Pretty sure target didn't shut down in Canada over boycotts.
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.
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.
The point still stands. Voting with your wallet doesn't work for any meaningful interpretation of the word "voting".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The bus boycott in Alabama by MLK and others.
Boycotts can be an effective tool.
Wikipedia also has a longer list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_boycotts
The grape boycott would suggest otherwise.
So, it seems to me that boycots (and protests) are important for convincing regulators something is an issue.