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How to delete Facebook and not lose your friends and photos (ronaldlangeveld.com)
352 points by ronaldl93 on Oct 8, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 174 comments

I just wanted to say that I walked away from Facebook about a year and a half ago now. I didn’t delete it, I just logged out and uninstalled the mobile app. It’s all been totally fine. The most social social media I use now is reddit, where I’m more just talking to people. I don’t post status updates anywhere, and often amazing things happen to me that I never tell anyone about. I eat great meals and don’t share. I became vegetarian and am going vegan and almost all of the people I would have told before have no idea, but it doesn’t matter at all. I’m just living my life, and when cool things happen I share them with the people I’m around.

With the continued leaks and breaches on Facebook, I’d like to do what the author does here. I do want to download the information, but then I’d like to delete my account.

I still wish there was some kind of social media platform like Facebook from 2008, but it’s not that big of a deal. I’m glad I don’t get stressed by some app on my phone all the time. People who want to talk to me email or text now.

I think social media could work. But until then, consider letting go of the existing platforms are stressing you out. We do just fine without sharing our day with the internet, as long as we have good people in our lives.

>when cool things happen I share them with the people I’m around

I really expect the next generation (I guess, kids born in the last 8 years) to launch a major backlash against over-sharing and pretty go back to the roots of relationships: exactly how you said it.

That that would also be a generation who had their baby and childhood pictures unwittingly shared and now owned by social media companies. This is something I find really strange and unsettling.

I really admire what a family friend did after she had a baby. She isn't posting any photos of him on social media, and says it's because he can't consent to have his photos shared publicly. Lots of her friends keep pestering her saying "I want to see the baby!" and she says they're welcome to come over, and suddenly they don't want to see him that much. They just want something they can click like on.

This logic is bizarre to me. He can’t consent to being fed, clothed or having his diaper changed either. I imagine she likely still does all three.

For a parent, making choices on your child’s behalf is kinda part of the deal.

Not feeding, clothing, or changing your baby's diaper is objectively bad for their health; not sharing their pictures on Facebook is not anywhere close to that. I don't see how it's bizarre to want to keep your baby healthy but otherwise let them decide things for themselves once they're old enough.

>"For a parent, making choices on your child’s behalf is kinda part of the deal"

And this person has made the decision for their child that whatever social media company is not going to own their child's image. What is is "bizarre" about that.

I hardly think caring for a child and letting a corporation own their image are even remotely the same thing.

I don’t disagree with anything you’ve said, it’s perfectly fair, but what you’ve said is not the logic she is using.

If she had said this I see no logical discrepancy, but to couch your logic in terms of a child’s lack of consent is the point that makes little sense.

I don't know why you've been downvoted, when you make a good point.

I do think that for young people, "the people who is around" will not be necessarily people near in the physical world. Teenagers mainly communicate through chat groups, and work trends don't seem to go towards encouraging more physical presence.

Thus a reaction against current social networks would take the form of using more private, ephemeral channels (think Snapchat), and reduced, more controlled usage of public-facing ones (Tweeter, Facebook, Instagram).

Yes it's so unsettling that their parents privately shared photos and videos of then with family members and friends. They will be horrified of this, I'm sure.

I've seen how some of my family members share photos of their kids and grandkids. It ain't private - most of them are set to "Public", and are going to stay that way.

Even if it's just shared with "Friends", most people will Facebook-friend a much wider range of people than who they would consider friends in real life. It's not just the close friends and family members who, a couple decades back, might have got a chance to thumb through the family photo album. It's also often your co-workers, friends-of-friends, and that person you got drunk with in a hotel bar 6 years ago and sporadically chatted up on Facebook Messenger for a few months after that.

Even if nothing practical comes of it, I wouldn't at all blame kids who grew up in the Facebook era for being pissed about it. The harm isn't in what people who are seeing it are doing, the harm is the over-sharing itself.

When you post something to the Internet, you should assume it is or eventually will be public. You’re sending it to a for-profit company, not privately to someone you know, and hoping they do the right thing with it forever. What are the chances? It doesn’t really matter whether you asked the company to pretty please make it private.

I think best case is there will be a generation whose only “online presence” are the stuff about them from ages 0-10 that their social media obsessed parents posted before the kid could acquire any agency in their own online life.

it's happening for millenials already. Everyone I talk to feels that emptiness of blindly sharing status posts and photos.

And pretty much everyone I talk to about this mentions that they do those status updates and photos for family members more than friends, and that they keep up with friends differently.

In fact, I keep up with all of my friends through direct messages on one platform or another or IRL.

The only exception is Twitter because I feel like you can get into interesting conversations on there...I just wouldn't get on there to share stuff with friends from IRL.

A closed and self hosted family social network without the marketing momentum would be great. Self hosting removes the need for marketing and data sharing shenanigans that most companies require for growth.

My family accomplishes this with a good old-fashioned email distribution list. For the purpose, it works really well, much better than anything else I've seen.

It's also not something most people are going to find out about, because, yeah, probably more-or-less impossible to monetize, and therefore ain't gonna be advertised.

I've also been involved in some experimentation with private Slack groups, but I can't say it's a great option. For people who don't want to be checking their smartphone constantly, it feels like this wild uncontrollable deluge of communication. And people who don't want to install an app on their smartphone quickly stop bothering to go to the website, either.

We use telegram group chats for that. I guess it would work with WhatsApp too, but sharing pictures and videos on telegram is so quick.

I have 3 separate group chats I share stuff with: 1. Family 2. friends from uni and 3. colleagues from old work.

This is basically what Path was....though they had some mis-steps along the way.

My family does that with a Whatsapp group.

Interesting. I've experimented with deleting or going cold turkey from various social platforms over the past year or so to see how it affected my life.

After a fair bit of experimentation it seems that deleting Twitter, and blocking Reddit, have been the two things that have most improved my mental state.

Just a guess but I feel like the combination of endlessness (you can literally just scroll/browse forever) and that sort of trademark internet sarcasm, cliche, meme, pithy style of communication, just left me in a perpetually bad mood.

> that sort of trademark internet sarcasm, cliche, meme, pithy style of communication, just left me in a perpetually bad mood.

Interesting observation. I hadn't really thought of it before, but, now that you mention it, I do feel like Twitter is somewhat set up to be a game of seeing who can be the most misanthropic. Sardonic and sarcastic humor are the kinds that are best suited to such a short form.

I suppose it's theoretically only a performance people are doing for fun. But, if you're doing it all the time. . . well, practice makes perfect.

i generally don't have social on my iPhone, but i left it on my iPad. even that distance has been helpful.. i can move around in the world with a phone in my pocket without being triggered/tempted all the time. then when i'm home and feel like being social-media-ish, i do. but the ipad is big enough that it's a more deliberate action to grab it and open the social apps. and since i'm not feeding social from my iPhone -- my engagement potential is quite a bit lower. i'm less invested in it, so i can open, scan and close in ways that were less likely just a while ago.

to the point of younger generations not wanting it: my 14 year old son refuses a phone, and has declared he'll never have a social media account. not sure if that's likely to last forever, but whatever social is these days .. he's highly averse.

I wrote up my own quitting FB approach here https://gaius.tech/2017/12/29/less-facebook-more-faces-and-b...

I still use Insta and WhatsApp tho’ so I am not entirely free but FB is the biggest time sink for sure.

Likewise. I'm still on Instagram and Whatsapp... But in terms of controlling the content you see, Instagram and Whatsapp are a lot more manageable compared to Facebook - especially considering the state my FB was in.

I'm trying to win my friends over to use Telegram instead. It's miles ahead of Whatsapp in my opinion.

What is the long-term expectation of Telegram, once the current funding promise runs out?


Probably this. It makes sense considering all the other stuff they have done.

Please don't take this the wrong way but writing a blog explaining to people how to quit Facebook is surely much like teaching your grandmother to suck eggs?

Surely it is nothing more than "Delete facebook account"?

That's what I did two years ago. No fanfare, just "Delete facebook account". A number of friends have since asked "Have you quit facebook?" "Yes" but that's been about the only repercussion.

I too, about 1.5 years agi, realised that facebook & orkut is consuming too much time of mine, kind of addictive. I coldly uninstalled app, logged out everywhere. Felt so free. Then found reddit & hackernews, & now again whenever I feel i am spending too much time, I just delete the shortcuts of these from my most-recent-tabs.

This is the first time I’ve ever heard someone say Orkut was a time monopolizer. Can you share a bit about your background and use for this network?

Oh boy, not OP, but Orkut was the thing in my network those days (I was in high school), a majority of part was in "communities" which were sort of like subreddits and the ability to read your friends' scraps (essentially messages) was dope (and time consuming)

Orkut was a massive hit in my college from about 2002 (? I think), till facebook arrived in 2008. Everything was in communities, similar to facebook groups, & personal profile pages were great too. You could even see who visited your profile page, so people used to control themselves from visiting their crush's profile too often. Obviously no smartphones then, so most of the time it was on computers only.

Communities were for favorite quotes, singers, feelings, persons, subjects etc.

Outside of the US a number of social networks that aren’t Facebook found huge success in some countries at one time or another, especially in the mid to late 2000s before Facebook fully established its dominance, it’s not all that surprising.

It’s still the case in a handful of markets (China etc).

Wasn't Orkut massively popular in India and Brazil?

> I just wanted to say that I walked away from Facebook about a year and a half ago now. I didn’t delete it, I just logged out and uninstalled the mobile app. It’s all been totally fine.

If you do this, change your profile pic/cover photo to a text-image saying something like "No longer using Facebook" in letters big enough to be read in the thumbnail views. It'll help build social momentum around disconnecting from Facebook, and it will let your Facebook connections know it's not a good medium to communicate with you.

If you're new to vegetarianism and veganism I can recommend the Facebook group "Friendly and pragmatic vegans and vegetarians" which is a group where you can find support without the judgemental and elitist attitudes being tolerated. I'm not aware of any such group outside of Facebook.

Hah. Odd comment since I specifically explained how I don’t use Facebook, but thanks for the recommendation! I’ve found reddit’s /r/vegan to be good. They have a regular discussion post and I’ve had some nice conversations there.

I did exactly the same about a year and a half ago, except I deactivated my account (kind of a step between just logging off and completely deleting it), and I still feel the positive impact of that decision on my life until today. I encourage more people to do the same.

I successfully tricked my mind to not use Facebook by destroying / making my feed non-personal.


I became member of all sorts of group: Buy-N-Sell in my local area, technology groups, 10+ DevOps groups and so on. The quality of posts on these is poor and is irrelevant for me for the most part. So every time I used to open the app out of habit, I would see all non-personal crappy posts and I would close the app in under 10 seconds. Over time my mind hated using FB and clicking on that app went away from my muscle memory without me trying to force any habit changes.

Why not just delete the account? FB is still great to find old friends, ex-colleagues who I might have lost contact with. I also use it as my public mic to post stuff that I want to share as widely as I can.

It's fun to take on the PMs who design addictive products that influence us at psychological level and beat them at their own game. Bring it on!

I can attest that this would be an effective technique, because recently I accidentally did the opposite.

A while back, I did a big clean up of all my groups, likes and (most of my) friends, which greatly improved the signal to noise. Before that, I hardly ever checked FB because there just wasn't anything I really cared about, and if there was it was too well buried.

Now, though I find myself checking it, just in case there is something worth seeing. I particularly started doing this after happening on two big surprise stories on there from small businesses that made me think "Lucky I was scrolling through FB, otherwise I wouldn't have known about that".

The signal to noise is better, but the problem remains the signal isn't worth receiving most of the time.

FOMO is the only reason I haven’t deleted FB. There are some could-be-important-for-work people on there that I would rather not lose contact with. Other than that, I like doing real life things with people 100x more than seeing their polished vacation pics.

If you believe this, you can measure it. Take a year and write down all the truly important things that you see on social media, then cross them out when you hear about them outside of social media.

I would bet that at the end of the experiment you can count your list with one hand or less.

FB has made billions instilling this FOMO into their users’ heads. It’s fake.

Many interesting events in my area are propagated on FB exclusively, including meetups of my friends :-/

Be the change. People are lazy in general and will use whatever is easy and others use not giving too much thought to consequences.

In my circles I always openly say "I'd love to, but I don't use Facebook" - so if someone wants to have me included, they need to think about a more democratic way to include others. It's not egoistic - many other people don't use FB either. Excluding them just because a group of people is too blind to notice is a very negative approach.

> Be the change. [...] > I always openly say "I'd love to, but I don't use Facebook"

It's called network effect and works by majority.

If most of your peers keeps using $foo you can only choose between using it or being left out - both are options that one dislikes.

Intolerant minorities have a lot of power to effect change.


> many other people don't use FB either

This is the problem, I'd be literally the only one. I tried it once - of course they didn't exclude me, but a lot of info got to me too late (when I had other plans already) and smaller events not at all.

The way I see it is: if friends won’t stay in contact with me without me being on Facebook... then they are not really friends. Leaving FB actually improved my social life because it became clear who were the real friends.

They do stay in contact! This is about small-ish events like a friend posting "hey guys, I'm hosting a dinner tomorrow". I can't blame them for forgetting about me (our group is rather large), some of them don't even have my phone number.

That's an interesting strategy and I can't doubt that it works 100%, because, although I used to spend a lot of time on facebook, I find my feed more and more irrelevant now while not liking much irrelevant things.

What has been told in Snapchat's leaked memo really resonates to me despite me not using Snapchat - Facebook has become to impersonal to me. I have too many friends, most of them I don't want to loose, because they are family, old friend, (former) coworkers, etc. but that also mean that I use facebook as an address book more than anything else. I don't browse it and I don't post on it.

I found just deleting the app on my phone was a great way to cut the habit of opening it every time I looked at my phone. I thought I was about ready to delete it after a few days but then suddenly realised that without it I would lose touch with a heap of businesses around town, food trucks, nice takeaways etc, that I wouldn't otherwise know about. Deleting the app has easily cut 90% of the time I was spending on facebook, but my hungry belly still has there :D

I made myself only use FB via mbasic.facebook.com, it's an awkward enough interface that it helps me minimize using it.

they broke my main use of Facebook for it, which also helps a lot

That is a fantastic idea

Why don't you learn to cook? I've heard of a nice cooking enthusiasts group on FB... oh, wait...

I do enjoy cooking but when someone wants to deliver a delicious breakfast to my door on a Sunday morning then I want to know about it :D

Well you can create just a fake account with all fake information and no friends, so you use it just for getting out some information from FB.

I could do, my big issue though was the time I was wasting on there rather than concerns over personal info.

> I successfully tricked my mind to not use Facebook by destroying my feed.

I did the same thing, but using a different technique.


1) Taper off - Unfollow everyone who isn't a close friend or family

2) Destroy feed - Unfollow everyone

x) Optional step - Delete all your posts and untag all photos. It took me an hour or two but I deleted everything, one by one. A greasemonkey script managed to clear some of it, but the rest I did by hand.

I still keep my account, just with nothing on it.

I did all those steps and quickly realized how useless the platform is. The final step for me was replacing my password with a random string of characters and logging out for good.

This is an amazing mind hack. Truly out of the box :D :)

I did something similar but for different reasons with several of my puppet FB accounts and man, was it terrible. The amount of gibberish that's out there is enormous. You know something is very wrong if ads become the signal in the noise...

Isn't that done sufficiently by just adding all your acquaintances as friends? There are probably a dozen or so people on Facebook whose posts I actually care about. Everything else I could hardly give a shit about.

I didn't need to do that - the updates from my friends are boring/annoying enough that I avoid FB and mute virtually everyone.

I just have a single strike policy for most of my friends. I unfollow anyone as soon as they post something I don't want to see. I don't tell them, obviously. It works quite well.

Scrolled down just now and saw one post of someone running a 10k, a complaint about not having a holiday on Monday (haha), an ad from Triplebyte, a photo of the SpaceX rocket launch visible from the city, pictures from Yosemite, a birthday, an ad for Fairy, and a friend cosplaying.

Not so bad. I'm fine with that.

FB has become way more enjoyable for me after adopting a similar strategy. Now it's down to my close friends, family, and old HS friends who are up to cool things I'm interested in.

The hardest part for me was unfollowing close friends who post a lot of garbage and videos. Before I complained about FB being shit content, but it was really some friends posting shit content.

I think in combination unfriending and unfollowing lots of people, and facebook's algorithm updates, it has become more useful and fun to use again.


Personal attacks will get you banned here. Please don't do this again.


I do the same thing. It's nothing personal. In fact, I find that there's very little correlation between people I get on with well in real life and people whose Facebook posts I don't hate.

Perhaps he means 'FB friends' (he did say /most/ friends). In my FB friends list, the vast majority are more like acquaintances and when they post mostly things I don't care about I unfollow them.

> I'm interested in bioinformatics and medicine.


"Anything from Upworthy"

Good for a laugh, but it's pretty easy to get rid of that stuff in particular. Anytime anyone reshares something, I go to the 3-dot menu and select "Hide all from xxxxx".

It makes most of the crap go away... except for the one "friend" who somehow manages to reshare everything under the sun. Somehow that guy keeps finding new sources for me to "Hide all" from. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It is by no means a solution, but the signal-to-noise ratio is increased.

That reminds me of the old joke that Facebook helps you deal with the problems you wouldn‘t have without it...

Just like beer.

So it's like curating your own spam email blocklist?

Just unfollow 'em all.

You have to spend half an hour clicking through your list of "friends" (or fans or whatever these relationships are called these days) or write fifteen lines of javascript to click on the dom elements, but then that's it. Clean wall. Silence.

Before I deactivated I tried this.

Unfortunately this didn't always solve the problem. For one thing, it would still show those pages when someone interacted with those posts on say, someone else's profile who shared it.

Even then, there are thousands of new junk pages created for that garbage every day. It's nearly impossible to keep up with it. Though I unfollowed or unfriended those who were the worst offenders, there would be others who took their place.

You can unfollow someone if you "show more".

Accepting 1500 friends and then complaining they’re too many. Who’s to blame here?

Facebook is what you make of it. It offers relatively granular control over who you want to see so if even you must be friends with someone, you can still unfollow them.

Surely the default is a bit annoying, especially when joining groups, but those can be unfollowed too.

The only thing I can complain about is “your friend reacted to or commented on some post” I don’t care about. That’s Facebook’s fault but your friends are your fault. Most of the time I add friends and promptly unfollow them because they share memes.

> Facebook is what you make of it. It offers relatively granular control over who you want to see so if even you must be friends with someone, you can still unfollow them.

Recent events have demonstrated that the privacy controls are not what people think they are. Cambridge Analytica was able to access data belonging to the friends of people who granted certain permissions, and there was a recent data breach caused by a bug in an impersonation feature. Advertisers are able to see quite a lot of information too.

I don't think this is related to what bfred_it is saying.

To me, he's saying "if you have 1500 friends, use Facebook's follow/unfollow feature to improve your S/N ratio while still being friends with those people." That is, rather than privacy (controlling outgoing information), he's discussing the ability to filter incoming information.

That’s correct. I’m not talking about what happens to your data but about what you see on your feed.

I started getting friend suggestions from facebook very regularly about 6 months ago. They show up as notifications and there are typically more suggestions then actual direct communication notifications. I used to see things like: you were tagged in photo, friend commented on your post, etc. Now all I see is: you might know John Johnson. I don't even see a setting to disable these suggestions. So it's not surprising to me how people end up with 1500 friends.

I wrote about this a while ago: http://heinrichhartmann.com/blog/2017/12/31/Quitting-Faceboo...

""" Problem with the facebook exporter are:

- All comments are missing. Even the ones you wrote yourself!

- There are no images in the timeline.

- The number of likes and shares is missing on the posts.

Before I delete my account, I wanted to have a more decent backup of my timeline. I looked into printing out the timeline, exporting it as pdf, full-page screenshots, massaging the DOM/HTML. I could get none of this working, with acceptable effort.

Eventually I went throught the whole timeline (100s of posts!) and screenshotted each one individually. To make this process a little less tedious I changed the OSX keyboard shortcut for full page scrrenshot to F1, so I could use the following combo:

[...] """

Screenshotting is one method that is surprisingly popular in the wild - It makes me a bit sad that so much state/metadata is lost when screenshotting, but it may prove the most efficient method going forward. I wonder if it'll be easier with DOM screenshot tools now available in major browers, so you can easily screenshot "just a post"

If you lose contact with someone after deleting Facebook, they were not your friend in the first place. My conclusion after deleting my account four years ago. Getting rid of Facebook was one of the best decisions of my life.

I don't think I agree with that idea. People have different ways of communicating, not to mention I don't think people who do use Facebook as a main communication method should be punished because you think you're above it.

People choosing to use a walled garden are being punished by those who would rather not? You may have that reversed - this isn't about thinking you're "above" a communication method, but it is worth noting that Facebook requires using their specific service while many other methods (phone, email, etc.) can be used from a variety of providers.

So, saying "I only use Facebook to communicate" and expecting others to conform is a bit more naturally presumptuous than choosing to leave Facebook - and it's a fair point that if a relationship can't survive not using a specific proprietary tool, then maybe it wasn't that strong of a relationship.

I quit Facebook for about 2 years back in 2015. It was a good time to self reflect and focus on myself. However I realised I was missing out on birthday/wedding/social invites.

I reactivated it and have a policy of only checking it 2-3 times a week. I dont have either apps on my phone.

My profile is tidied up and has contact information that my friends can use to reach out to me (hardly anyone has).

Reddit is the next thing I am contemplating my usage. It sucks up way too much time for the reward of fake internet points.

The "problem" with Reddit is that (depending on your selections) most information there is actually relevant.

After Google killed Reader, i found myself using Reddit and HN far more than i had previously, as these are good aggregators of stuff i find interesting.

Reddit has the problem of highly relevant information with terrible search. Google is the preferred way to search for content on Reddit, but there's no advanced filtering by time, popularity, or any of the other metrics that Reddit useful.

> Reddit is the next thing I am contemplating my usage. It sucks up way too much time for the reward of fake internet points.

I would agree if Reddit were only the inane collection of memes and squabbles that many people assume it is from a cursory glance. The problem is that Reddit subreddits are replacing many independent forums for various hobbies and interests. Message board websites are often dying, they might only have a handful of posts each month or year while the relevant subreddit has informative or useful content several times a week. Reddit is often criticized as a toxic environment, but a dying forum website where only a few cantankerous old grouches are left can feel even more toxic.

This thread seems a good place to re-pimp my Facebook profile cleaner (for those that missed it first time):


Going through the mbasic interface of facebook for this is brilliant. Good job !


Maybe I'm just not very social, I have 834 "friends" on facebook but I don't feel any need to delete it nor do I feel any fear of being left out or stuff like that nor do I spend too much time on or any of the myriad of other things so many HNers report with their experience on FB.

I don't really want to delete it as it's how I stay in touch with friends and family. It's how most of my friends organize events. Messenger (not the FB app) is the #1 way friends communicate with me and each other as well.

I did do a few things though. I aggressively unfollowed people. Anyone I only met a few times. Friends I haven't seen in years or don't expect to see. Anyone who posts too much (except my sister who I feel I can't unfollow). Friends who post too much political stuff. I click "this ad offends me on every ad". I use FB Purity on the desktop web site with about 10 filters to filter out a bunch of crap like "was mentioned in a post" or "replied to a comment", "shared her post", "shared his post", "is with" and other attention spam.

Not that much shows up but I'm still able to keep up with a few really close friends and family and still participate in event organizing etc and not feel I'm being spammed too much. I don;'t have FB Purity on my phone but I guess I don't use the app all that much on the phone. I mostly use Messenger for messages and the FB app to look at profiles (linked from Messenger) and to read/post in shared event pages.

Of course maybe you want to delete FB because of leaks or you just don't want to be tracked which are really good reasons to get off. All I'm trying to say is I don't recognize many of the other complaints in my own experiences with FB so maybe others might find those solutions useful?

FB is really great about making you feel guilty if you delete the app, don't use the app. You miss your friends, they miss you, you don't get all the news, you feel out of the loop, you are lonely again.

Deactivated (not deleted) my account a couple weeks ago. Guess what? Life goes on. Nothing happened. I am still in the loop and I spare a couple minutes per day. Gained a bit more freedom, at least it does feel like it.

I got kinda lucky and can now avoid all this. When I first signed up, I used an email address I had in 2007. I now no longer have that one, so can't check it there. The only other email address I ever used with it was my university one, which I needed to join their network. Never added any of the other ones I have, and that one is now deleted. So I never see their endless emails or anything of the such; it's great.

Ah yes exactly. For a while I just never logged in, and then suddenly FB started spamming me with emails. "John misses you." "Susan posted something recently, see what she posted." etc etc.

I’d love to make a dumb social network which could import friends/photos/videos from a Facebook export.

Which just shows photos videos and comments/posts.

Ditched the shares, likes, and all the other crap. And was just a place where we can keep in touch with people. And leave it at that.

Serious question: How would such a platform be significantly better than email? I'm genuinely curious as to what features of social networks people think can't be fulfilled by email. The only issue I have with email is convincing other people to use it for sharing their life, rather than/as well as on Facebook, but I would have exactly the same problem with a brand new social network.

Just that you can post something and then your circle of friends / family can view your post. At their own leisure. You don't have to write an email and send it to people and such, and try figure out which friends want to see it and which don't.

IMO 'Facebook' should be a /dumb/ social network, dumb in the sense that it's features are basic, once built it doesn't need a billion features added to it.

What if it was easy to manage mailing lists? So my email provider allowed my friends to subscribe to my mailing list if they want to hear from me, and unsubscribe when they don't.

The good thing about email is: * Everybody has it, * It's decentralized, we don't need to all agree on one company, * There's a lot of clients for reading it already, and everybody can choose their favourite, * If I own my domain, I can change providers transparently, * etc.

I can't imagine any of that working for my inlaws and such.

But thinking about this, what if (assuming this was an open source social network) there was a data source hook. For example:

When I create my account, I could say "Get my data from X, and send my data to Y". Where I can expose an API on... AWS Api Gateway. Then when you visit my feed/wall, it pulls the data from that source. The only thing the social network stores is the API, and any Auth criteria. Then (Say I owned "Dumb Social Network") I don't own your data, you do, I just provide a place to display it.

If you don't want to use your own source for data then I can store it for you, but I may limit what I store to protect myself as a company (like GDPR)

I agree my family couldn't handle it currently, but I think that's a UX problem rather thana protocol problem. I've often fantasized about creating a social network that just creates an inbox for each user and then sends emails for each post, and then later "opening it up" by revealing it's really just email.

This project will likely be of interest to you - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_(web_decentralization_pr...

> The good thing about email is: * Everybody has it, *

This is not necessarily the case. For a considerable portion of humanity getting online these days, social networks are the internet for them and they might not use email at all. Even in places where email is a thing, many young people these days don’t have email unless and until they go to university.

I applaud this idea, but once you've joined how do you get your friends to follow you? Every so often I get emails like: "Bob invites you to join AwesomeSocialNetwork, click here to join!" and I totally ignore them.

I also wonder if the age of The Social Network is over. If a new better Facebook did come along, people wouldn't join it because deep down they all know that social networking is massive waste of time and will always end up being an endless stream of garbage. The only reason they've not all left Facebook yet, is fear of missing out.

Social networking was never a waste of time. The fact that both of us don't know each other still exchanging ideas is a proof of that. Online social networking gave us the power to find people we might not find otherwise in an all offline world. It all got screwed up when the business models came into play and we became 'products' instead of 'users'. We made https://pden.xyz because we felt a stripped down version of a social network with no like, share counts would work better for us.

I saw your link elsewhere in this thread.

Pden is a decentralized microblogging app

What does that mean exactly? Without any screen-shots or detailed information I'm none the wiser as to why I should try your service. I'm certainly not handing over my email address without more information. Just a bit of UI feedback there.

I understand your point. Decentralized in the sense that we don't own your data or identity. It is owned and controlled by the user. Identities are verified by blockchain and all your data is stored in the cloud storage of your choice. As far as more information is concerned we have listed all the important points in the landing page which we felt was necessary. If you have any specific questions you can ask and we'll try best to answer that.

We even have likes (with the thumbs up image to click on) on our company wiki. It's all so stupid.

Wasn't that MySpace? Facebook superseded that model because the general public prefers Facebook.

A lot of people like this idea, but it seems that no one really wants to implement it.

I would love to build it. Open source. But I suck at design so I donno.

That's what I felt while leaving facebook. Then we built this because we were frustrated. Just check if this suits you https://pden.xyz

Or something like binky [1] but with your friends data, and no notification of interaction


Exactly.. Kinda go back to the basics of what facebook was back in the day.

When I downloaded my Facebook data few years ago, my notes were missing. I had to reactivate my account, save them as HTML pages, and queue account for deletion again. One should not think of profiles on these sites as reliable archive of ones data. There is no alternative to local backup for this. With deletion one loses so many little memorable things, for example comments.

can I ask how did you save your notes ? Just view source and save the html as files ?

Why do people care about the photos? There's a Lewis Black joke where he opines on this exact same thing: "I didn't even like looking at my family photo album". Why not close the account and never look back without regard to the photos?

There seems to be a belief that holding someone in your list of contacts is equivalent to being their friend. You're not. You're an entry in a really small Rolodex. If you haven't actually personally spoken with them in a few months, you are dusty card in that Rolodex. Burn the pile and let those relationships that matter emerge from the ash.

I quit Facebook before GDPR came into effect, so it's heartening to see FB now has better export tools. At the beginning of the year I had to write my own: https://github.com/danburzo/fb-export

Facebook had this a year ago as well. I quit and exported my data at the beginning of 2017. I actually only just looked at the export after reading this hn post. Up until now I just kept it zipped as a backup "just in case". Looking back at all the things I used to share and participate in on social media just reconfirms my decision to ditch it.

I may be wrong, but I think up to GDPR compliance, you'd only get a meager HTML file that was not machine-readable, and some (but not all) of the images?

I un-fallowed everyone, including pages/groups. No feed, no ads. When I open fb, i see blank screen after few seconds of load. Now I'm now too lazy to fallow them again.

I've only deactivated Facebook, not deleted. I'm worried that if I completely delete I have no way left to access the data Facebook has on me. Is anyone aware of how their shadow profiles work? If I deactivate, are they still able to attribute things like someone uploading my number from their contacts back to my profile?

It's this reason that I haven't nuked it entirely yet. I also use Messenger on occasion to communicate with those I haven't spoken to in a long time. I'm ready to make that leap soon. And no, not all of those folks whose numbers or email addresses I lack are not 'friends' necessarily - I have a few former colleagues and bosses on there as well I like to chat with on occasion.

Chiming in to say I'm similarly semi-disconnected from Facebook at this point. My account is still active and I still post occasional updates from a third-party platform (mostly articles I've read), but I rarely browse the site anymore.

The only thing I find useful on Facebook that I can't find reliably anywhere else is a comprehensive listing of local events and concerts (as well as invites to things my friends host). If there were a separate site that could aggregate and organize events content as nicely and completely as FB does I would have deleted my account outright a while ago.

Sadly deleting Facebook isn't an option for me, as it has become _the_ place to get notified about social events around here. Twitter/Reddit/whatever doesn't have as strong a presence here, and the traditional websites have all be replaced by facebook pages.

I've cut out all the services from my life that siphons my "metadata", and while my daily Facebook usage was around 15 minutes/day, i still can't completely delete it. Instead i've banned the Facebook app from my phone/tablet and only check facebook when i'm at home during the evenings, and even then i use Firefox with Facebook Container.

As for (Facebook) messenger, i'm trying hard to teach people that i don't use it, or telegram, and instead they can reach me on Signal, or just plain old iMessages/SMS. It takes a few weeks, but usually people "get it" when i don't reply to their messages.

Is deleting your account and creating an anonymous one to just check local events a viable option?

Not really. Facebook will put your account in a cycle of verification hell. They really don't seem to like accounts of users trying to be anonymous. Granted, maybe someone else will have better luck with that than I did. For me, they essentially disabled my account and re-enabled it on a weekly basis. I got too annoyed and stopped using it as a result.

I left my Facebook account idle for about 6 years now, and didn't miss it at all.

Now I'm trying to delete it and I can't find the link to "Your Facebook Information" no matter where I look. This is where the delete option is according to Facebook's help section.

Anyone having the same problem or is Facebook deliberately burying that link?

Very timely post. Full disclosure : my current project [1] deals with archiving content from social network, and we're considering adding more things to import from facebook. The friends list example from the article is a good one :

  As for my friend list.. well.. It's all in Json format..
  So now you can essentially use the power of your brain to think how your friend looked.
  If you can't, well then you probably weren't friends anyway. Sorry.
I'd be interested in your experiences either in leaving facebook, or about things you'd which you could have saved


This doesn't actually answer the issue posed in the title, "How not to lose your friends". I was expecting at least a little discussion on how to replace Facebook friends, how to stay connected, alternatives etc.

Text message. Just text them. You can send funny pictures. You can have group chats. You get all of this as part of your unlimited texting plan that's probably laying fallow.

Email, call, text them. I've started sending birthday cards to my close friends (whose birthdays I actually know) rather than simply writing a message on their profile or shooting a quick text. I've found most really appreciate the card - it's interesting how birthday cards used to seem the 'easy' way to wish someone a happy birthday but now they appear to have more meaning.

>how to replace Facebook friends

Join another social network, add a bunch of people that you barely know, wah lah facebook friends replaced

>how to stay connected

Letters, phone calls, texts, meet in person, etc. How many friends do you have that you don't ever see or interact with besides on facebook, and what percentage of that group are actual friends that you would hangout with in person?

Walking away from social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram was one best things I could do to reduce the negativity in my life.

I want to delete my account but a lot of my friends use fb messenger (groups ect.). Is there a way to delete profile and keep only messenger ?

If I could keep Messenger + Events and get rid of the rest, I'd do so immediately.

You can use Messenger with just a phone number, like whatsapp

There is/was a Facebook Group app, where its just the groups

The former, yes. But afaik the Facebook Groups or Local (Events) apps require a full account.

I've been using the chrome plugin "Kill News Feed" for several years and took the app off my phone. I feel like a have a healthy relationship with FB now. If someone wants to send me a message, I'm still there. If I need/want to look someone up or tag my family/friends in a photos I can. But the feed is gone, and I won't get sucked in.

Facebook fixer https://socialfixer.com/

Good for him. Although I don't really understand his stance: did he want to be on a social platform because it was `cool`? It might be only me, but I never wanted to be there because it's cool. I joined it because I wanted to keep contact with some of my friends be it cool or not.

I first joined it in 2007, meaning I was 13 or 14 years old :). Being South African, the adoption rate for internet here was quite slow compared to first world countries. So back then it literally was like the cool thing to be on, just like being the kid on the block with latest and greatest Playstation or motorbike.

From a socio economic point of view. It's actually terribly when I think of it today. But that's just how it were growing up.

In 2013 I left Facebook. I decided who I wanted to stay in contact with and sent a message to each one explaining that I was leaving. I asked them to email me if they wanted to stay in contact. I am still in contact with every person I wanted to stay in contact with.

We posted this a while back, just a simple tool to make the photo exports a bit better, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16682940

No one lost friends from deleting Facebook. I haven't.

Unfortunately, deleting facebook means losing captions on your photos. Most of my college memories are captioned, so I can't just delete my account :(

I have a account just for some niche buy and sell groups. No Pic no posts, nothing. I can even use it as a SSO. The only info fb has is when and where.

So, he downloaded his data from Facebook... and uploaded it to Google. I don't know -- doesn't seem like anything has changed.

Put on google to keep photos secure??

I stopped using Facebook by deleting the app and only using the messenger app and messenger.com

There a GDPR notification pending every time I login to Facebook. I don’t really care to deal with it, so now I can’t use Facebook or Messenger.

Problem is if you leave Facebook you're not going to be invited for school reunions.

I disagree, to me that sounds like another reason to leave Facebook.

If you're so far removed from former classmates that you don't hear about the reunion from any of them that do have Facebook, are you really missing out?

Deleted mine about 5 years ago, don't have any social media and I survived.

as a side note, keep in mind that with the option of downloading your entire messaging history, it will be sent as an unencrypted zip file to your email address. a surveillance dragnet dream come true.


GDPR subject access request (and deletion request for the "locked" accounts) to Facebook, and if that doesn't work complain to your country's privacy regulator (the ICO if you're in the UK).

Realistically, what are the odds that deleting a Facebook profile actually removes one's data from Facebook's servers? It's far too easy to secretly retain such data, and Zuckerberg has repeatedly demonstrated the requisite malciousness.

Technically, if you're EU based, you could ask for proof of deletion and/or sue - not sure it's worth the effort though, especially since FB is keeping shadow profiles of you anyway (so you may have deleted your profile, but because your friends have your phone number, email, etc facebook doesn't actually need you to have a profile to track you now...)

Plenty of people have reported deleting their account, creating a new one later, and seeing all their old friends recommended to them. It’s obvious that nothing is ever deleted, just hidden.

The GDPR enforces that. Not saying FB cares.

They have data on people that never had a Facebook account in the first place, if that can give a clue.


Want to see someone getting killed by police and watch your friends quickly get baited by Russians to form to actual American protests related to their preconceived notions?

No? Well its already playing enjoy! but be careful where you tap because IF YOU LIKE ANYTHING you'll lose half of your friends in real life but thats okay because we were only going to show you more of this exact thing regardless"

> watch your friends quickly get baited

Yeah, that's a good sign that you need smarter friends.

Autoplay is cancer, though.

I've always felt that if deleting facebook caused me to loose contact with someone entirely, we probably weren't really friends in the first place

Acquaintances who happened to have made great point-in-time connections should be viewed as potential "real" friends. I've met amazing people around the world who I would hate to sever connections with, but, by realities of living busy lives on opposite sides of the world, we don't communicate regularly.

We've reconnected through work/vacation travels and been ecstatic about having local tour guides. For these connections, facebook has been my only lifeline as the commonality between us.

There is a IPCC report out today about climate change and how it would destroy the world as we know it.

Yet, people are more worried about Facebook! Amazing!!!

Facebook is a great place to get that message out, but it's only an echo chamber for ideologies. I guarantee those who don't believe in climate change are only seeing articles about why the IPCC report is wrong (note: this is an example, NOT my personal feeling).

I would argue Facebook is making the problem worse by making it very easy spread misinformation.

Can’t we be worried about both?

Well, considering that the IPCC story is nowhere to be seen on the front page and this being at the top, shows how much general HN crowd worries about Climate change as compared to Facebook. Such Myopia is what has landed us in this crisis in the first place.

But you should not bother. Go worry about the useless photos that you first upload to facebook and then wonder what a for profit company is going to do with all that data.

The IPCC report is currently # 29.

There was an IPCC story in the top 5 about an hour ago which I can only assume was moderator filtered as it had disappeared entirely a minute or two later when I clicked back to homepage. It wasn't flagged, or further down the pages. Didn't even have chance to attract much in the way of controversy or deniers.

So it may not be that reflective of user sentiment. Very disappointing to see though.

So only climate change articles on HN, anything else is deckchairs?

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