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Facebook exodus: Nearly half of young users have deleted the app (cnbc.com)
1213 points by octosphere on Oct 29, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 567 comments

Note I wrote my father in law when he had gone too far down the rabbit hole and legitimately worried about the poison it spreads around his demographic:

I left Facebook when I read some press release about it being designed from the outset to make you feel bad because it keeps you engaged; hoping someone agrees with something you liked or shared and the dopamine hit it releases. I don’t like feeling manipulated and manipulation is facebooks modus operandi. All to track everything I do around the internet to sell me ads for $12/person/year in revenue.

I left Twitter for basically the same reason and when I’d stick on the site refreshing it all day hoping someone noticed the well thought out point I spent 3 hours putting together only to realize no one cares. Leaving both after about a week feels like when I have taken breaks from caffeine. It sucks at first but after a week, you feel refreshed and clean. I’m sure drug abstinence feels similar.

My father went down the rabbit hole of Facebook and shares political crap constantly, flooding peoples news feeds. There’s a feature on Facebook that lets you silently unfollow people so they’re on mute. Everyone of my family members who are Facebook friends with my dad have done this to him and don’t see anything he posts. He’s shouting into a black hole thinking the whole world is paying attention while in reality no one is.

He has said things that the man I grew up with would never have said and Facebook/ talk radio is to blame. We’re all vulnerable to it, which is why I try and stay away from it.


I don't even know what Twitter is for except mutual high fives over the most superficial "look at me" memeish stuff.

It's worse than facebook as far as the "get attention" vibe.

Granted all social media is about getting attention, and I don't think there is anything wrong with it necessarily. Attention is nice, there is good reason for it, but when the message is so tailored to just that and there isn't anything else, I don't know what the point is.

I recently switched careers from a long networking career to web development and thought I'd take another spin on Twitter, but rather I just get sites that paste a link to their website, and hordes of people posting programming truisms or career / resume / coding lifestyle fodder .... so little feels like that person wrote it, so much feels like what those people thing "a commercial about me" should be.


As for your other notes about the impact on people. It is horrifying. I see some relatives posting terrible things and I wish saying "but you've never met any of those people" had the impact that it should... but it doesn't.

It took me about 10 years to finally "get Twitter". I used to use it for professional reasons, posting what I considered relevant content. For the most part no one really cared. The engagement was almost always nil. Sort of like saying something intelligent, out of the blue, to a crowded stadium of people doing the same thing.

Then, 2 years ago I created a new account that ONLY focused on a personal hobby of mine: retro-computing. I posted photos, links to cool articles, experiences from my workbench, etc. To my surprise, I began to get a lot of engagement. Like, 25-50X more than what I used to ever get on my professional persona's account.

I made a point to only follow back people who posted similarly to my own laser-beam focus. This takes a lot of time, but I have cultivated a stream of content I very much enjoy reading and scanning in my off-hours or lunch breaks. If you post about politics, or food, or cats, or simply whine or are acidic by nature, I don't follow those accounts back. I'm looking for good vibrations for a pastime hobby - that's it. And to my surprise (and those that know me personally and professionally that I've explained this to) it has worked beautifully for that. No one is a jerk and no one is trolling, none of that.

I've actually made several online friends around the country and the world as a result of the past 2+ years on Twitter.

Now, is my experience normal? No. If I were to guess it's probably in the top 2% in terms of the joy it brings me (vs. the rest of the user population who just hates to even look at Twitter anymore). And I totally get that.

I hope the service keeps going for my own greedy self-interests. But I also recognize that Mastadon may be the future, too. Or something else.

It's sort of how I changed my usage with Facebook. I deleted my personal account and created an anonymous account on FB that only is used for FB Groups (in, yes, the same hobby). These are closed groups that are moderated.

And holy smokes. It works.

Go figure.

Remove the YOU from social media, and use it to have fun about whatever it is you do to have fun, and it can actually be ... fun.

I think you're really on to something here. The details are different, but it reminds me of how I use social media.

Most of my engagement consists of a private Slack groups with groups of friends who enjoy discussing various topics. (And within these groups I tend to subscribe to only the channels that I find more interesting.) Similarly, on Instagram I have one account where I follow a group of close friends I've mostly had since high school, and another where I mostly follow a bunch of car related channels I like. Having that separation and ability to go and seek out a specific kind of content is fantastic. (As opposed to just being subjected to a fire hose "feed" of whatever an algorithm thinks will be engaging.)

Actually, I resisted RSS in the past for much the same reason. Even though you curate the feed, I vastly preferred having a bookmarks folder of blogs and other sites I followed, which I could then pick and choose from to suit my mood, than to have it all served up in a reader.

It would be nice to see things move more in this direction. For example, the default Facebook view, rather than a general news feed, could be a set of groups you belong to, along with ad-hoc groups of interconnected contacts, encouraging you to pick what genre of updates or conversations suits your current mood. Even then I don't know if it would be siloed enough to capture the same benefits, but it would be a step in the right direction I think.

I emailed slack about a year ago suggesting that they were totally missing the boat on slack as a social network. I am in 4 slacks and only one of them is professional. They were not interested.

IMO Discord already is what Slack as a social network could be.

Agreed. Discord is also what got me off of Facebook entirely.

Discord today feels like how Facebook used to feel when it started: I'm actually friends with everyone on there, and we're having real conversations.

There's also 100% less politics, moral panic, virtue-signaling, outrage, ads, "fake news", Farmville invitations, and similar garbage.

It's nice.

They've got a lot on their plates already; probably best not to try and dive full into social network for now. Plus you'd have to be really careful not to lose the separation that makes it good in the process.

They can't be seen as a consumer product while marketing for enterprise dollars.

Sounds a lot like going back to the anonymous/pseudonymous usenet groups and forums that we had before 'social networking' became a buzzword.

Why use Twitter for such things, given its limitations? Why not use a blog, personal site, or forum where instead of just posting a link you can also write your thoughts about it, etc.? I get not wanting to bother with running a personal site or maintain a blog, but there are tons of hobby forums.

Personally, I never got the appeal of Twitter, and while I did enjoy early Facebook, since it jumped the shark I use it primarily as a long-term contact list for people that I don't talk to very often so that we'll still have a way to connect if one of us changes email addresses/phone numbers before the next time we talk.

> Why use Twitter for such things, given its limitations?

It has limitations, but it also has a lot of reach. A blog might not reach the people you are trying to share things with.

> Why use Twitter for such things, given its limitations? Why not use a blog, personal site, or forum where instead of just posting a link you can also write your thoughts about it, etc.?

I actually do. I run a forum that I treat like a blog and link to my posts (and other members' posts) of interest.

I think a lot of the appeal of twitter and fb is a matter of perspective, that it's more appealing to people who barely were on the internet before these apps. A lot of these users never even knew web forums existed, and I hear them now after seeing those and they complaint because it's "too complicated" and "too much to read"

Extrapolate that and compare it to these same kids going to apps like instagram or tiktok which are even more visually-heavy (and less text) with content that it's even simpler and more optimized for user reach than user participation.

I use Facebook in the same way you do - for participating in local motorsports. All the clubs organize via Facebook groups, so it's the only practical way to stay active in the sport. I'm using the personal account that I've had since 2005 but I don't post anything publicly anymore.

I use Twitter in an almost identical fashion, and I experience absolutely no toxicity, trolling, or other bad behaviour.

Twitter is, like many things, what you make of it.

“Twitter is, like many things, what you make of it.“

With a default mode of garbage.

It's just hard to ... make it there.

What makes Facebook stand out here to me is just how difficult they've made for people to do create isolated social networks on a personal level, at least in my experience. It is possible to limit your Facebook feed to friends and family and filter out people spewing garbage memes and obnoxious political points. However, I have not yet found a way to turn off Facebook's annoying habit of trying to "prioritize" posts in your news feed even if you do not want to. There seems to be no way to say "I want to see all of the posts in chronological order from a select group of friends". Even the "most recent" news feed order does not seem to work as advertised, often skewing stuff posted a couple of days ago towards the top.

I do have some family members on Facebook and in the past I would use Facebook to do things like share vacation photos, intended mainly for family members and close friends and the like. This now seems like an impossible task to do reliably -- there's no way I know that someone who hasn't seen my photos and want to will see it, from my perspective. So for me it's back to the ol' Smugmug and email. (I imagine there are other social networks that are able to work like I want, but most of my family isn't on it, and all of my family has email. This just works for me.)

Facebook does have "groups" which do work quite well as you mentioned, and Facebook works well from my perspective as an announcement / engagement platform for businesses and hobbies. Much of their core social network however seems broken to me personally.

(Regarding the parent linked article, I'm kind of curious where they are going to though and a better understanding of the reasons behind the shift. Most articles I've Googled don't seem to dive very deeply into these things beyond vague demographic musings like "Facebook isn't cool for teenagers" and mentioning Instagram and Snapchat as the replacement. The analysis level isn't even standard media depth to me, even more so than usual. If I look for articles on other things in relative decline where I do have a fair bit of insight -- like say NASCAR racing -- the general media articles actually seemed to (sometimes) make an effort to explain the often seem to make more efforts at explaining the declines, because the reasons are often multi-faceted. I have to believe that any Facebook decline is driven by a lot more details than "my parents are on Facebook".)

I did the same thing with trying to avoiding politics and entertainment, and just following programmers and development thought leaders. Yeah... They almost all wind up being political too. I simply cannot find a way to find interesting accounts that don't wind up talking about politics and current events. I don't care. I don't want to use Twitter for that, but apparently, Twitter doesn't want me to use the service for anything ELSE. (And, before someone suggests it, yes, my list of muted words is already long.)

A few years ago I remember trying out twitter and following John Gruber. Back then I was interested in what he had to say about Apple, but instead I got a mix of Apple stuff and, IIRC, inane baseball updates. I remember thinking that it felt like a real step back to have such a mixed feed, compared to just subscribing to his daringfireball.net RSS feed.

^this is how I use twitter as well. Thriving community in this tiny corner of the web, focusing on neat electronics projects and interesting tech or creative hobbies.

^^This is how I use twitter too. Mostly small selection of communities on the web that we all share our experience's and help each other out.

>Remove the YOU from social media, and use it to have fun about whatever it is you do to have fun, and it can actually be ... fun.

This doesn't change the fact that 99% of things people give credit for to social media can be easily done without mediation through a multi-billion dollar corporation.

Neither does it change the fact that Twitter and Facebook have a whole slew of horrible social effects. Centralization of the web, political polarization, emergent mobs trying to ruin people's lives, rise in depression and suicide rates, normalization of global surveillance, normalization of censorship, etc, etc.

Jaron Lanier has some interesting thoughts on the economy behind some of this:


Thing is the overwhelming majority of social network users just couldn't be bothered to use other solutions before this, and can't be bothered to do so now. How many were on online forums for example?.

>Thing is the overwhelming majority of social network users just couldn't be bothered to use other solutions before this

Did you ever stop to think why? It's not like the barrier of entry was high. People simply did not find it worth their time. Chances are, big social media isn't worth their time either, but people are kept there by social pressure and purpose-built addiction mechanisms. And you're spinning it as if this is some kind of positive thing.

Connectivity is like food. The benefits to the person don's scale linearly. Forums and IM were already above the bare minimum. They were like a hearty meal. Social media today is like having a binge eating disorder.

I sort of do the same thing. Mostly hobby/interest stuff.

I have a hard and fast rule of not friending anyone I see regularly or have a real private or personal relationship with (No family, no neighbors, no current coworkers). Avoids so much drama.

It's the same for me on reddit. After following only the subreddits that interest me, the engagement upped my knowledge and enthusiasm. Prior to that I didn't get reddit at all - now it supplements my HN addiction.

That's kinda what I want it to be. Topic focused or such.

It's just finding those folks is hard.

I don't post personal stuff, I'm also not really intrested in that.

I use Twitter to see the thoughts of influential people and even interact with them which I could have never done otherwise.

Out of curiosity, what do you get from that?

An expanded mind. Learning from smarter people.

Twitter is about following tiny businesses, imho. Youtubers, independent journalists, local shops, local media, local politicians. It's RSS for z-list internet famous people.

Although it pretends that replies are equivalent to top-level tweets, they're not really. It's just that there's a reply thread attach to everything.

Basically, CNN will tell you what your head of state did. Your regional media will tell you what your legislative representative did if it was newsworthy.

Twitter lets you keep tabs on your city councilman.

If the only way to watch local businesses is to join a global centralized network that snagged 335 million international users, something somewhere is really broken.

Not necessarily. It's not outrageous for a large system to incorporate different scopes, even simultaneously. The architecture of the internet itself is a good example of that.

Not the only way, but the best way.

Medical twitter is fairly positive and a great way to learn about new papers and interact with educators and researchers. Check out the #foamed (Free Open Access Medicine) hashtag. I usually try to avoid following political people and keep my feed science-focused.

I've noticed more people in tech posting mostly political stuff nowadays, when I followed them because of their tech posts. I had to go back and prune my feed to get away from all the bile. Angry political screeds are hard to filter out nowadays.

> Angry political screeds are hard to filter out nowadays.

A sign of the times. A lot of people are just really pissed off right now. I also think a lot of people that used to ignore politics realized that it matters...

Things are so weird now. We should feel good that everyone is engaged in dialogue about our grand civic project, right? But when you actually stare out onto the landscape of discussion, there isn't a valuable exchange of ideas to observe.

While political opinions are more numerous, they're divorced from evidence and calcified. As useful as no opinion, and possibly worse. (Then again, that's my opinion, right?)

Maybe that suggests we aren't engaging in dialogue? I think ubiquitous social media access is destroying the cultural "melting pot".

The cost of communication, price and latency, has always defined the structure of our communities. Letters, cars, phones, internet, every invention expanded the reach of individual "community" while cost acted as friction to prevent bad ideas from gaining too much momentum - individuals still had to engage with their local community too.

Social media finally brought the cost to essentially zero. We can talk to anyone or about anything at any time. Great for early adopters and their critical/creative tendencies, but mass adoption by consumers has enabled mass tribalist tendencies to fully decouple from proximity constraints. This might be the "boiling point" for historical conflicts, but "supercritical" seems more appropriate here.

Media consolidation has been synonymous with consolidation of broadcasting viewer opinions and their political parties - many unhappy with both choices but faced with the false dichotomy of "their guy" and "the enemy". Meanwhile grass-roots are numerous but now diffuse and ineffective, cut off from broadcasting influence and digitally disconnected.

Hopefully society starts correcting back to offline engagement. Anecdotes suggest we are, but undoing the damage will still take a while.

Good description.

>The cost of communication, price and latency, has always defined the structure of our communities. [..] Social media finally brought the cost to essentially zero.

Worse. It brought it in the negative, at least perceptually.

> We should feel good that everyone is engaged in dialogue about our grand civic project, right?

It is people trapped in their echo chambers. Some chambers are better than others (some, much better, but alas). I personally don't hold much hope for things to ever get de-calcified without some kind of large-scale real-world incident to force it. It is almost like two entirely different species of humans at this point who are almost incapable of empathising with each other.

(and note, in many cases, refusing to empathise.... I refuse to empathize with alt-right supporters for example.)

> they're divorced from evidence and calcified

Democracies have never been about evidence, they are about making sure the "rulers" enjoy the support of the people and are strongly incentivised to listen to the concerns of said people. Democracies have a long and storied history of being arbitrary and unfair in defiance of evidence.

In light of that, I'd suggest interpreting political opinions as "I think this person understands what my problems are". When I mentally add that to the end of a political rant usually the rant moves from incomprehensible railing against reality to something rational, but disagreeable.

It's really not "now", it's just that the tables have turned. For the previous two terms, the other party was in power, and the out-of-power people could only whinge about it. And that's the same thing that's happening now.

It isn't even the same thing and you damn well know it.

Your observation is only true in the ephemeral surface. there is no moral equivalence. there is no legal equivalence. What is your purpose in this deflection?

Muting lots of words helps with this. Here is a great starter to keep your feed sane:


I'd love to hear more about how you use it. Surfacing links? Discussing research?

Any recommendations here?

Twitter is really useful for sharing content at conferences or other events with a clear hashtag.

Other than that, and perhaps sharing more substantive articles/blog posts/etc to a wider audience, it's at best silly, and at worse, well...much worse.

I have found that Twitter has been pretty muted for the last couple of years at conferences. Seems like more of the conversation goes on in a slack (that you have to be invited too, or know about).

Kinda sad.

That does sound like a useful use.

I have found that the machine learning research community uses twitter pretty effectively. I don't tweet myself, but I do follow a good number of other researchers and often find interesting papers and results through the venue. It's much more effective than scouring the arXiv.

Yeah it's hard to curate a feed, I'm sure there are good groups out there (there has to be). I just struggle to find them.

I get a lot of value from Twitter's AI and computer graphics communities, but I used to see a lot of retweeted political garbage too. I found that Twitter's "mute words" feature works wonders. After muting about 100 words ("trump", "obama", "republican", "democrat", "evil", "lied", "nazi", that obnoxious hand clap emoji, etc) it's like a whole different place. Much less rage-inducing.

You can also disable Twitter's annoying engagement-boosting features by muting special undocumented tokens like "suggest_recycled_tweet_inline" and "suggest_who_to_follow". https://www.androidpolice.com/2018/09/19/twitters-annoying-f...

Maybe the machine mearning community is particularly good at curating feeds, heh

You should write a bot in Scikit / Python to scrape Arxiv for interesting articles!

Im in the AR/VR space and the whole community is pretty much on twitter. New projects, new research, etc. get shared on twitter before anywhere else.

I dont post anything on Twitter. I follow a bunch of journalists, local activists and local politicians. Using it like this, I mostly get links to articles, or local news events. So for me, I’ve found it’s a great way to follow the news. And I follow a couple funny people so that as I scroll through depressing news stories to read, I get an occasional laugh too. And i only follow a couple dozen people, most who tweet infrequently.

So that’s all to say that there are less common uses of these platforms than you might know. Also, because of how I use it, Twitter doesn’t bother showing me any ads. I get about one ad a week. Go figure.

Infosec Twitter does share valuable information and job opportunities. It also has its share of drama and memes though.

I recently muted every Twitter account that wasn’t either individual people tweeting about their lives (predominantly in the “hilarious quotes from small children” genre) or NBA news. Man was that a relief. Twitter can be absolutely toxic but if you never read replies or follow randoms and you curate carefully, it’s fine.

I think a huge feature for that is “mute”. Being publicly observed to follow a Twitter without actually seeing its content is, shamefully enough, important and useful a lot more than you’d think.

I basically use Twitter for what I would use Facebook. I follow people I consider friends online and see their updates. I don't look at my timeline even, I just look at the stuff my friends post and share, the only time I see something from an account I don't follow is when a friend shares it. As a platform for keeping touch with a few dozen people you like, it's pretty good.

I don't think Twitter was made for something, other than to broadcast sms, which it can't even be used for since they doubled their limit.

I will tell you what I use it for: follow interesting people, and pictures of cute animals. My goto rule of thumb for the first is, are they saying something where you go "hu?" in a positive way?

Don't disagree with your views on Twitter but if you think of Twitter as only mutual high-fives then I'd be interested in your point of view on Instagram. :)

As a small business owner, I find Twitter useful for sharing news on product updates, articles/tutorials and new features. Ironically, this has cost me $0.0 so far.

Twitter is a publishing platform.

My sister has gone down the same rabbit hole. She really thinks she's "fighting the good fight" by posting a fresh outrage every day. She's glued to a changing handful of posts, replying rapid-fire to anyone who disagrees. I used to post (4-5 times per year) photos of my vacations, but I don't want to feed the whole lifestyle porn/envy cycle.

> She really thinks she's "fighting the good fight" by posting a fresh outrage every day.

I have a few people in my feed who do this, from both sides. It almost feels like they've turned into nothing but meme/share-bots. It gets so annoying that I should probably block them already.

If you try to call out the content, you either get childishly shouted down because you're on "the other side", or called out as "the problem" because you don't agree with their group-think.

> or called out as "the problem" because you don't agree with their group-think.

It feels good to have someone verbalize this.

I can't enjoy much social media anymore because there's an expectation that discussing anything opinionated requires a preface about what side you're on.

Making a politically neutral statement means you're with the enemy (where the enemy is on the side opposite whoever reads your neutral statement).

I'm not even referring to politics or discussion of world events: even more futurist/what-if thoughts about how society works/could work.

HN is the calmest place to have a discussion with someone, because no one's looking for clues about your personal beliefs and what side you're ostensibly warring for.

9 times out of 10, only the content of your comment seems to matter. As it should be.

> HN is the calmest place to have a discussion with someone, because no one's looking for clues about your personal beliefs and what side you're ostensibly warring for.

just scroll to the bottom where everything is downvote-collapsed already, anything that isn't Silicon Valley political echo chamber isn't really discussed holistically and garners the same "you're the enemy" or "you're not in the middle if you don't already agree with me" response as other networks

need a patch for this

My thoughts are that Americans need a credible external threat for unity, and currently we don't have one. The Cold War thing jumped the shark decades ago and just doesn't have unifying consensus as being a problem for America, the religious extremist story has fallen apart with everyone knowing its all part of our cozy relationship with the House of Saud. So here we are

It's hard to argue with people who think that a debate is won by finding the best ad-hominem put-down. It's probably not even worth trying, unless you enjoy a kind of rational trolling where you state your case and ignore the responses.

I used to waste time doing this and would argue with right-winger family who was brainwashed by Fox news. I finally realized no matter how good your points are, and no matter how eloquently said or rationally stated you will just flat out never convince someone or change their opinion on policy based on a facebook discussion. Literally the only thing arguing politics on there does is polarize people, and further entrench everyone onto their already premade opinions. I started putting myself in their shoes and realized how futile their arguments were because I'd never consider a right wing perspective. Then I realized what a waste of time it was to even engage at all. I unfollowed everyone, stopped logging in and have been a lot happier. If I want to check up on someone specifically I search them and go straight to their page. Otherwise I don't even bother reading the timeline anymore. I went from daily checking facebook to about 2x a month. It's awesome.

This may not be received well, but I’ll try anyway. Yeah debate can definitely be polarizing, but I appreciate people that bring a reasoned argument to the table without being conflicting. When that happens I have a little more faith in humanity even when their opinions are different than my own. It’s a give and take and it sounds like in your situation you felt like you were the only one trying to have a civil discussion. That is exhausting.

Honestly if I talk/debate with someone long enough I can tell if they won’t be convinced, but sometimes it’s not the person you are debating that you are going to convince, but someone on the sidelines. Honestly the people that are most vocal are likely the ones that are already polarized and irrational, but that doesn’t mean the world is full of irrational people. Sometimes I believe not participating in an online debate is the right thing to do, but on the other hand the only way the tone will change about politics is if people change it.

I think you make a good point and I'd be open to having rational discussions about it, but these are people posting "O'Bummer" Obama memes... imo just not even worth wading into. They're not looking for my input, as the poster below mentioned they just post as a rallying cry to get likes from their other right wing family members.

Makes sense, not every battle should be fought.

Most people who constantly post political posts don't do it to convince anyone. They're shouting tribal affiliation to each other.


Wow. Thanks for the way you put this out. This is exactly how I was feeling / what I was experiencing. So I went ahead, and installed my own MatterMost instance with friends.

What I realized recently is that Facebook is built in a way that makes it really hard to have a real conversation. People only share links and shout their opinions with no real place for exchange.

Turns out people don't always wan't their conversations shared with [ramifications of current privacy settings unknown, assumed to be everyone]

I understand that. My Facebook profile is mostly empty to an outsider, and even to many of my so-called friends. Hehe!

I said that because the more I think about it, the more I find social media platforms don't really help me stay in touch with anyone. I mean, yeah, I can see they got a third kid or that hunting season was great this year, but nothing near a real conversation around a coffee or a beer.

That's why I started using MatterMost ,an open source Slack clone, or like I tell my less tech-savvy friends: IRC on steroids. (IRC was the go to choice when we were teens)

That's why I personally like Twitter.

1. There is no private (there is, but ignore that)

2. Choose a topic to post about. Further that and none else.

3. Post topical discussions only.

4. Don't involve yourself in screeds. There will be a sentence that is taken out of context.

Doing these creates a really cool group over $thing. And that positive attraction pulls more in :)

This is the good side of social media: connecting people with similar interests from around the world.

I experienced the same with Google+ and D&D over the past years... But they're closing now. :-p

This is actually why I don't visit facebook often, I had to spend so much time curating all of the echo chamber effects and political posts. My entire feed got flooded with crazy stuff and none of it was anything I actually wanted to hear about. I wanted to hear about people in my life but those who posted popular shares got all the exposure. It has become a platform to yell at people and to echo chamber each other. Having real conversations is impossible.

It became work to make Facebook worthwhile.

It would be uniquely refreshing if Facebook would apply an overlay to every post that gave it a true/false and hate/love rating. This makes an interesting 2 x 2 box score and for a while I was looking at some NLP to pull out common themes and rate them, but I realized that if you just used a bi-variable version of the "like" widget you could have people moderate.

Such a signal, combined with actual research on the veracity and tone of the post could be combined to highlight places where people need help and where bad actors might be plying their wares.

But I don't honestly expect anyone in management at Facebook to advocate such a system.

> It would be uniquely refreshing if Facebook would apply an overlay to every post that gave it a true/false and hate/love rating.

It would instantly be weaponized. Already, right-wing groups specialize in taking down antifa and LGBT pages on Facebook or Twitter by abusing the report feature. To make it worse, Facebook apparently automatically locks pages upon getting a high number of reports in a short timeframe.

You can bet that anything not from Fox News or Infowars would be flag-abused as "fake news" in an instant.

IMO talk radio is far worse than Facebook. It’s just a constant stream of vitriol and nastiness with no end.

What stations / networks / personalities, specifically?

Pretty much anything AM.

The one my in-laws have on all day is Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, Levin. It's a constant stream of angry/crazy white guy. Even the late night isn't a refuge. Whatever the show is that used to be Art Bell is quasi-political now.

Thanks. About what I'd expected, though it's handy to put some names on it.

I've ... accidentally ... tuned in to Hannity on occasion. I thought I'd tuned in to the local lunatic asylum.

It astounds me that Facebook still has as many users as it has but that there isn't also an exodus of employees from Facebook. You have to be really drunk on the koolaid to think that your company is doing anything good in the world. Twitter the same.

How is it with all our technology, the cutting edge are these digital septic tanks (or sewers if you live in the city)?

>You have to be really drunk on the koolaid to think that your company is doing anything good in the world.

Or just willing to take the paycheck while pushing everything else to the back of your mind.

This is basically how I felt back in 2014 after I pretty much stopped using all social media.

I have my facebook only to announce big events and let immigration officers know that I love my wife very much by having a detailed photo album of all our interactions over many years.

It's incredibly annoying that at this juncture I have to keep it because of what other people / entities want rather than myself. This is why I refuse to use LinkdIn instead of job boards or the career sites for the company.

The aggressive commercialization of Social Media has been the greatest failure to be borne out of the internet and our society will be suffering its effects for many years. At least the stockholders (who are probably too darn old to use the site) are very happy.

Edit: I also very much appreciate the irony of spending so much time and energy on posting on Hacker News!

Exactly. The manipulative and unproductive nature go hand in hand and were the two things that made me quit all social networks except for LinkedIn (where I see the value that I get is higher than the time that I invest there).

I think some people unconsciously know this, but they fail to act on it due to the addictive nature of the product, creating false excuses to justify their account (it doesn't matter how important you think you are, no one cares really).

Others are completely oblivious to what Facebook is doing to them. I don't think there is any hope for them. Facebook will continue to use them to squeeze every bit of free time they have into pointless egocentric activity.

So you're saying that Internet radicalization happens across all age demographics?

Yep. I've heard of this movie but haven't watched it yet - though my sibling assures me it is a copy of our experience with our parents. They were conservative/moderate at one point, but now regurgitate radical right-wing talking points without defending them, and say that "everyone just reads what they want to believe" but applies it only to me and my New York Times, moreso than them and their literal fake news peddling outlets.

The Brainwashing Of My Dad


FWIW I now have my own blog (not associated with HN, yet) that I use to type out my thoughts on things. I've shared it with a few people in my life that I think might care. The act of it being a blog instead of posts on Facebook is very intentional, and I don't care that not many see it. It is more of a journal.

That movie reminds me of my own family and it is so sad. I think they got radicalized when they retired and had nothing to do other than sit around watching Fox and listening to Rush Limbaugh. They used to be normal, reasonable people and now they're absolute nutters.

But what's the point of traveling to places if you can't tell all your friends about all the places you are traveling to? Or books you're reading? Etc.

Although I suspect this is sarcasm you do raise a good point. Even as someone who has traveled a lot including pre-Internet, now that I have gotten used to the idea of essentially live bragging about where I am, its hard to turn that reflex off.

Not sure if you are being sarcastic.

But if that is the reason why you are reading or traveling, you might as well not.

Travel or read book to get new perspectives, experiences and learn new things. Not to tell others to make yourself feel superior over others.

I was trying to be sarcastic. :) Some of my friends keep posting pics and status updates and sometimes I realize that all they think while traveling is... Letting their friends know where they are and what they are doing.

I'd be really interested to know how you got to "$12/person/year".

I would be interested in the values for other platforms. I think it builds a more tangible argument when explaining the hidden costs of using various "free" products.

Have a look here [0]. It's a personal essay, but there are a lot of resources, in the links especially, which go into detail about how your worries around manipulation etc. are in fact true.


It sounds like he is infected with something very similar to a religion. Religious ideas are very hard to change. For every rational argument, there's a doctrine-based reply.

It is stark how the older demographic is hit as hard as the younger demographic.

Do you have a source for that extraordinary claim that Facebook was designed from the outset to make people unhappy, and that people use Facebook more when they are made unhappy?

Nothing extraordinary about it. I don't know whether Facebook was deliberately designed to make people unhappy, but it does:


"Social Media Use Associated With Depression Among U.S. Young Adults"


"There is increasing evidence that the Internet and social media can influence suicide-related behavior. "

"He has said things that the man I grew up with would never have said"

It's an uncomfortable topic to broach, but you can't blame everyone else but your father for the opinions he holds.

No, of course not; my upbringing, the people surrounding me, the cards life dealt me have no impact on me in way whatsoever.

Poster should call him out. Say you find it unpleasant. If the online echo chamber extends into real life as well he's got no hope.

I realized I was checking facebook a lot each day whenever I had a spare moment, but didn't have anything really interesting happening, and I wanted to engage more with those around me and have more time for down-time thinking. So I deleted the app, knowing that making the threshold higher for checking it would reduce my usage, now I might check facebook once a month on my desktop, and still nothing happening, so it is super brief. My life is better, I feel better, my relationships are better, and I don't miss it at all.

Slightly different scenario on my side -- I want to use it, but the timeline has gotten so limited it doesn't draw me in as much. (No, i'm not on blocked lists. But strange things happen, e.g., Facebook has decided that despite my brother and I being friends and being marked "close" and not blocking each other, we dont see many of each others' posts.)

I'll confess I actually like using Facebook because it allows me to keep engaged and in touch with family with much less effort than before -- but whatever timeline changes they keep doing, I now see the same stories on my scroll. If I log in five times during the day, i see the same set of stories each of the five times.

Result: I don't check it as much, dont want to check it as much. So much for ranking functions.

I want to check FB once a week or two to catch up on how my friends are doing, but the FB ranking also fails me. All I get is viral click-bait and none of the meaningful news of friends. One friend was sick, another launched an app... i found out about all this after. No reason to log in anymore.

While I'm sure FB's algos are somewhat to blame for this, it's hard to estimate just how much content has been driven away by the site since the halcyon days of 2007-2012. Most of the reason I left was because none of my friends posted photos or thoughts any more -- folks just started sharing links and regurgitating talking points without generating any original content, so I left because I have HN/Reddit for that (with better curation tools, at that). Facebook was a good place when all of my friends used it for messaging and sharing their lives, but at some point everyone I knew started to use instagram and snapchat for those things.

Snapchat has mostly been killed by monetization, but instagram is still on life support for now. Losing the chronological timeline was quite the blow, though. Is it really that hard to balance "pleasant place to share my life" and "shove ads into my face"?

I've actually been seeing "No more posts" a lot recently. I scroll through two pageloads of content and then it tells me there's nothing more to display.

Facebook, I've been signed up since you first opened up to non-edu accounts.. you're telling me there's nothing at all more to display?

Honestly, I feel the same a bit. Like the company itself is cancerous - their complete lack of regard with the way they let hate spread on their platform is shameful. But...I've been on since the old days. I remember when it was actually a community platform and all your friends were there. That was pretty cool.

Not sure where that's going to pop up next.

I've never been a huge Facebook app user but the company definitely has me hooked on Whatsapp. All my friends, family, business partners, seem to have gravitated to Whatsapp and WhatsApp groups. It feels like Facebook.app is dead, Long live Facebook (Inc)...

I've given up on my Facebook-curated timeline. Now I just have a "friend list" with all of my friends on it, and I read that list's feed instead.

FB will prioritize timeline posts of your contacts that you have the most messages exchanged with over Messenger.

I believe that is how Facebook dies. Not people deleting their account, they’ll just stop checking their feed, because it’s spam and stuff friends likes or share and no longer posts about their life.

I stopped posting because of the whole thing about social media written in ink. I'm not posting something which may be held against me, or have me randomly shamed in the future because the nuance of my joke was lost in text. When I last posted in 2007, the internet seemed to be a much different, friendlier place.

Facebook in 2007 was also mostly about friends, and not selling me stuff that it couldn't possibly know I was interested in unless my movements over the entire internet were being tracked.

I barely log in any longer. Maybe once a month.

I honestly do like seeing pics of my friends and their many animals. I like knowing what events people are going to. Other than that, I don't care.

I can't post without feeling like an attention seeker; because that's how I see most people who do post. It's to the point where I stopped sharing things I think my friends might actually find interesting... I'm out here all by myself in the end.

I'm just done with it.

It is frightening how the internet outrage culture is getting people fired and destroying their lives over some stupid tweet.

The risk/reward of posting humor on the internet nowadays is terrible. Reward is maybe a few of your friends find it funny, maybe it gets ignored. Risk is someone is offended, you lose your livelihood and become an internet pariah because someone organized an angry mob against you on some Discord. Maybe someone doxes you, finds your address and starts harassing you at your home. The internet in 2018 is kind of a terrible place.

Or society is just showing how barbaric it's ever been. See the elections in Brazil yesterday.

> The risk/reward of posting humor on the internet nowadays is terrible.

Doing so under your own name, yes. That's why I think places like Reddit are better suited to these kinds of silly things, assuming you don't get doxxed, which can happen.

Unless they sit in the Oval Office; then they can tweet whatever they want.

I am careful about what I let get out on the Internet. I’m more concerned about being embarrassed about some of the juvenile arguments I got in using my real name on Usenet back in the day than what I post on FaceBook.

Any company that wouldn’t want to hire me because they find my bleeding heart libertarian pro-capitalist views offensive is not a company I would want to work for. Hell they would probably be confused about where I stand on most things.

> When I last posted in 2007, the internet seemed to be a much different, friendlier place.

But then something happened...

I'd love to know what happened, because I'm honestly not sure what it was. I just remember posting fearlessly about all sorts of random stuff I'd ashamed to think I put on the internet nowadays.

>"I stopped posting because of the whole thing about social media written in ink."

What are you referring to here? Could you elaborate? Newspaper coverage of social media?

I think he means "written in ink" in the sense that something you post cannot be erased, much like how if you write something with a pen, vs with a pencil.

Same thing as HN btw. Ive known a few European citizens asking for their posts and account deleted, and was refused point blank.

Remember that. We're being used here just as much as on the FAANG platforms.

HN have a stated (though difficult to find) policy of removing content on request:

We don't delete comments outright except when the author requests it.


They're referring to social media being permanent, no take backsies. Everything you share is going to be on the internet for all time

S/he's updating the phrase "written in stone" for the internet age.

I used to use it daily, but now basically do not interact with it at all. I left because a year ago I spent a week away from it, and when I logged back in it was insanely spammy and clingy with irrelevant "your friend liked this post" notifications that I literally couldn't turn off.

The unmutable spam in my inbox forced me to turn off all Facebook mail notifications, and the user-hostile behavior made me hate the platform and not want to come back to it, almost out of spite.

I'll bet these underhanded tactics performed great in A/B testing. But big picture, they should not be surprised that people are leaving in droves after deliberately degrading user experience.

Perhaps you are not the product that they prefer to cultivate. You are not useful to them, so driving you off is actually a benefit to them. Win-win!

That pretty much exactly describes me - I never did delete the app on my phone but I can't remember when I last opened it. I just have no interest in checking it anymore.

you should probably delete it. in case it's sending your juicy phone data back to the mother ship in the background. (it probably is).

Or even just for the battery savings

Does it matter if FB (super)cookie and http beacons are still reporting back what they're browsing?

FB can always promote Instagram or Whatsapp into their main money cow.

Yes, that's how I see and use Facebook as well. It's there if someone not close enough to have my phone number wants to reach me, but other than that I simply don't open and use the app, let alone post content. It's just not worthwhile to me.

So like Yahoo email then.

This is exactly how my leaving facebook started. After a few months without the app I logged out on desktop, and then it wasn't long until I deactivated my account.

I'd like to delete it entirely but at the moment too many people still use messenger to contact me.

Anytime I speak with someone on Messenger, I mention my cellphone # and email. Gotta prime that OOB comms pump, otherwise you'll never break free.

If only there was a Messenger API to setup an autoresponder with alternate contact info...

It's nice that phone numbers are so stable these days.

I wonder how long that will continue. I get so many spam calls every day (about a dozen now) that I am looking towards a future where I don't have a POTS number.

The spam phone calls and especially texts have dramatically risen over the last two years. Any idea why this is?

So this is just my two-cents based on working for a VOIP company for a couple years, but I noticed a few patterns, specifically the industry-wide pressure to compete with Twilio, that seem to make it easier to spam text/calls.

1.) VOIP providers have low-barriers to sign-up (typically just a credit card fraud check + check to see if IP or address is from certain countries where fraud calls are common). The up-side to this is that it makes the user experience more friendly to real customers b/c they don't have to wait around, but the downside is that any spammer semi-familiar with the checks that get done can sign up and start sending spam calls for a day or two before most places get complaints and shut them down. The fact that many voip providers allow users to set their Display Id to anything too without any approval also is also really convenient for spammers (ie, there aren't usually ways to immediately detect when a user fraudently set their Caller Id to the name of a bank or something)

2.) APIs everywhere. Twilio got big in part b/c it made APIs available, but the smaller providers are catching up and also adding APIs for texting and calling services. Spammers can automate their spam and re-use the scripts between different accounts when they get banned, so it makes sending out spam texts easier too.

3.) VOIP companies actually are ok with some degree of spam, as long as the spammers pay their bills. So they don't have a motivation to actually stop all of it. Instead of blocking all spam-ish calls outright, some places will just make a deal so that some callers (identified by having a high rate of unanswered calls + very short length calls) pay a higher rate to compensate for potential reputation damage. This is meant for legal cold-calling I imagine, but in practice, they don't know what is actually being said on those phone calls.

I imagine a large part of it is the dramatic lower barrier thanks to services like twilio and competitors. They enable a lot of really cool tech but the programatic access to the phone network like that makes all that stuff significantly easier

Yeah used to be it'd be the opposite. We'd try desperately try to migrate everyone to using something like Messenger (eg: AIM or ICQ) because we couldn't count on our number remaining the same.

Are not there some messenger bot which could do this?

Sounds like it's time for Trillian to have a reboot just like Winamp did recently :-)

Oh man that brings back fond memories of creating Trillian 0.73-0.74 skins! I was just thinking the other day that I should make an app for Mac that lets you skin it via XML in the same way. Away with the conformity of Aqua and Aqua Dark, let creativity reign free!

You can't set up a bot or an automated message for personnal accounts, only for pages.

But you could use the Bitlbee FBMQTT Plugin [1] and WeeChat's scripting functionality to implement it for your personal account. Probably an afternoon's worth of work if you have a VPS or t1.micro lying around to run a daemon on for a few months :)

[1]: https://wiki.bitlbee.org/HowtoFacebookMQTT [2]: https://weechat.org/

Wait, you can deactivate your account and still use messenger?

I did this one time and my account ended up in a broken state where friends couldn't send me messages in long-running one-on-one Messenger chats (they got some mystery error like "This user is not accepting messages right now."). Group chats still worked and I could send messages to those same long-running Messenger conversations.

Re-activating the Facebook side of the account resolved the issue. Caveat deactivator.

You can indeed! You can even reactivate your account _only_ for messenger.

I kinda wish you could do that for events...

Better yet I wish Events were integrated into messenger, but part of me thinks Facebook knows it that a substantial portion of users would probably stick to messenger and never visit the news feed ever again because that's the only thing many of us care about.

Yup, i exclusively use FB for group chats and events. Have uninstalled Fb app and messenger app and my phone's battery and ram thank me.

Yep. It currently explicitly states this and does it by default when you get to the final deactivation step. Previously it was an option you had to notice and click.

I deactivated my account over 3 years ago. Would I be able to use messenger?

My guess is if you reactivate and immediately deactivate, it should do what you want. I don't know what else that triggers, though.

Checking Facebook became the digital equivalent of looking in the fridge. You already know what’s in there, but you look anyways. Eventually people get over this. I notice far fewer of my friends seem to be posting and using it.

It’s like checking the fridge when you’re not even hungry. On steroids.

I worry if not Facebook its something else. I deleted fb but now I check this website a hundred times a day...

You and me both. At least HN is educational. That's what I keep telling myself, at least.

The only thing that keeps me on it is that college football season is really entertaining.

Sometimes I feel this way about the Internet in general.

They are just going from FB to Instagram:


FB can shift its model to becoming like priceline. Just try to buy up all the social networks. For example most travel site you probably use are owned by priceline. The same way Facebook could maybe buy up other social networks.

>They are just going from FB to Instagram

It's easy to get cynical about this but what I like about Instagram as opposed to facebook is that it's superficial by design. That makes it way less of a "thing".

It doesn't pretend like it truly "manages your social life" like facebook does, it's just funny pictures your extroverted friend posts. Instagram stories are gone after 24 hours. They're temporal. I know people who post 10 or 20 things a day on stories and maybe a pic here and there every couple of weeks otherwise.

Similarly, WhatsApp is SMS. SMS running through facebook but it's not very organized, either. My friend deleted WhatsApp, now we text via SMS and I see no difference. A group I was part of decided to use Telegram, so I just made a Telegram account, no friction whatsoever, there's no reason to feel like you're leaving something behind. People in Europe use it because mobile internet is way cheaper than paying for SMS since a text message via mobile internet is like a couple of bytes of traffic. Same with images. Group chat is nice. But it's all not very... connected.

It doesn't really make a profile, old messages are basically just an archive that nobody bothers to look through. I'm aware that facebook probably runs every machine learning algorithm ever invented through that data but from a user's perspective, it's way less of a "world", it's just one tool to share messages/pictures. It's not your life. Social networks aren't "just facebook" anymore and they're way less centralized that way.

Honestly I'd imagine this is on purpose. Facebook wouldn't want their platforms to overlap too much anyway-- wouldn't that be putting all eggs in one basket, in terms of vision for the future of social interaction?

There's bets they're clearly taking across companies (like stories), and they definitely are trying to flow traffic between Instagram and Facebook, but to some degree they've kept each app their own and that has only worked in their favour so far.

Does anyone else find it super-strange that, as what is consistently one of the top ten iOS applications in the App Store, and a massive company now purchased by an even more massive company, Instagram can not be bothered to produce a native iPad app?

It's been 8 years (the first iPad was released in 2010) and the platform has certainly proven itself not to be a fad.

Instagram looks like an actual joke on my iPad Pro 12".

They’ve tested it time and time again, most recently last year. There’s less posting of images and stories which they figured would lower engagement across the app in general if there was marginally less content (they see it as their high growth crown jewel). I suspect when growth plateaus we’ll see the iPad app

But that's a lame argument: I don't expect iPad to be the primary device for posting, but you should be able to have a fine consuming experience in it.

It feels like running a 640x480 app on a 4k capable screen.

It's a joke that they would ignore what a crappy experience it is.

If you're not interested in posting why not just use instagram.com?

It feels like running a 640x480 app on a 4k capable screen.

It's a joke that they would ignore what a crappy experience it is.

I believe they have focused on their web app for this. Turning it into a home screen based web application has been far better. Not as great as a native app, but better than the iPhone one scaled up!

Okay, so put a WebKit wrapper around that?

Is there some one-click way to "bottle" web apps like this on demand? I'm thinking of something that does some light crawling, fills its cache up, shims xmlhttprequests for static data, and sandwiches it in a shell. It wouldn't be perfect, but it could always fall back on the real site when its cache falls through..

You don't even need a native bottle. The site just needs to offer a PWA manifest and associated service worker functionality. https://developers.google.com/web/progressive-web-apps/

Yup. Cordova / PhoneGap pretty much more-or-less does the trick for this.

>>> For example most travel site you probably use are owned by priceline.

Actually, most travel sites you use are probably owned by Expedia, then priceline.

Together, they own every single major web sites about travel.

Priceline actually got renamed to Booking Holding earlier this year, to reflect the fact that Booking.com is by far the largest part of their turnover.

Expedia have hotels.com, the main competitor to booking. The plane business and the hotel business are of similar size from what I've seen. Both huge and shadowing everything else.

I just got back from a three week vacation, and the travel-specific site I used most was TripAdvisor. I also used a lot of sites not specific to travel (like google maps and reddit).

Does TripAdivsor not qualify as a "major website about travel"? I don't actually know what share of travel-related web traffic they get, and I realize that Expedia and Priceline both own lots of other sites in the space.

TripAdvisor was owned by Expedia from 2004-2011

It's still part of the Expedia portfolio. There are a few brands whose stocks are listed separately.

What percentage of TripAdvisor does Expedia still own? The stock looks to be mostly held by various mutual funds although I didn't look very closely and may be missing something.

That's just accounting. Doesn't matter. Businesses are not run independently, they share some employees and services.

When you join the company, they will explain you the portfolio of brands and how they link together. A user might leave a site and spend money somewhere else, but it's alright as long as it stays in the family.

They're independently owned. You could argue that it was just accounting if the two businesses had the same or similar ownership while being two separate entities, but they're two different publicly traded companies with substantially different ownership. They also don't share a single board member. Can you provide some sort of substantive indication that they're operating together (today, as compared to prior to the TripAdvisor spinoff)?

For context, here's where you can see the substantial differences in ownership: https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/TRIP/holders/ vs https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/EXPE/holders/ .

And here's where you can see that they share no board members: http://ir.tripadvisor.com/corporate-governance/board-of-dire... vs https://www.expediagroup.com/about/leadership/ .

Join the company and you will see for yourself. I'm not going to explain how a business empire works over a chat message.

I bet the Facebook employees who pushed to buy Instagram are feeling pretty justified right about now. But still, I'm not sure if Instagram can be monetized to the same degree as Facebook was in the last decade, especially as they continue to wreck their brand with privacy abuses (note that I'm not a privacy hawk).

You mean to ruin a secondary platform? I've all but stopped using Instagram for the same reason I've all but stopped using FB... there are just too many ads to scroll past to see what I'm actually there to see (the people I'm friends with/following). Every other post now seems to be an ad/sponsored post. Both platforms have gone overboard to the point that I only visit maybe once/week now instead of daily. I also don't have any FB related apps on my phone since they all share data with FB and want access to every possible damn permission. I just visit the sites in my desktop browser now (and sign out when done). So, they better be charging a LOT more for the ads they show as I don't think I'm in the minority here by visiting a lot less often due to the complete over-saturation of them.

I'm not arguing that they're doing good things with it; I'm not an Instagram user. I was only observing that Instagram's rise is conveniently (for Facebook) occurring during Facebook's fall.

I just flag every ad as spam. After a day or 2 I never saw an ad on Instagram again.

I've been doing the same for months, and I still see ads. The only effect I see is that ads are worse & worse with every day passing. At some point I hope advertisers will understand that Facebook is wasting their money on people like me. They ought to demand to Facebook that users hostile to ads are not targeted anymore...

Me too. I see a huge number of ads on a fairly recent secondary account but none at all on my long-standing personal account.

Well, they are now on their way to also ruin WhatsApp. That could be the third platform they ruin :P

And will then be renamed to WhatWasThatApp as everyone abandons it lol

Thanks Dad.

Instagram is better positioned for monetization because of:

A) Stories and TV like content to compete with Snap B) Ads integrated into their proprietary browser (aka Instagram app) C) Sponsored live events

They’ve essentially made a closed ecosystem without having to rely on a desktop browser and they’re more mobile centric than Facebook. Furthermore, Visual content is the basis for IG and it lends itself better for monetization.

From a biz perspective, yes, but it's different.

If anything, IG works better for facebook and its users because it's more honest. It's a platform for photo and video sharing and loads of people just use it to voluntarily follow brands anyway. In some ways, instagram is facebook's distilled product - rather than a directory which became everything, it's just a feed of content, so the terms and user expectations are different.

I hate Instagram more than FB. Everybody become some sort of "influencer" there, everybody is selling something!!!??!! On top of that 1 out of 3 posts is an AD. I don't have it on my phone anymore.

There are far, far, too many ads. But the ads are at least more tasteful than on most platforms. If you keep your list of follows < 100 or so (and take care to cull any accounts that get too spammy -- limiting yourself to people you know personally is a good strategy for this), Instagram is a pretty pleasant platform to check once a day, especially if your friends use Stories.

That being said, it suffers from Facebook syndrome to the extent that you literally have to fight the platform to make it usable. I'm holding out for some kind of federated hybrid of instagram/facebook in the near future with a chronological timeline and a reasonable volume of ads (to keep the lights on)/subscription option.

> There are far, far, too many ads. But the ads are at least more tasteful than on most platforms.

It’s all shit but this shit is shinier!

Wouldn't that be a case of abusing their market position to anti-competitively protect their market share? The same thing Microsoft was sued for?

It's completely legal to be a monopoly by buying every competitor out fair and square.

This is incorrect.

Facebook already needs a permissions from multiple regulators if it attempts to buy competitor – not just from US regulators.

WhatsApp and Instagram acquisitions needed approvals from EU before they could continue.

> WhatsApp and Instagram acquisitions needed approvals from EU before they could continue.

What would it mean for a US based company if they decided to acquire two other US based companies and US regulators approved it, but EU regulators didn't?

What would happen if the company went forward with the acquisition anyway?

Most likely, the company would be fined and ordered to either sell off the company or agree to some other set of penalties. If they refused to pay the fine or perform their penalties, they could be banned from operating in the EU. They'd be unable to advertise in the EU, make deals with EU companies, employ people and set up datacentres in the EU, etc etc.

Companies like Facebook aren't "US based" in any way that means anything except for where their CEO normally works and which stock exchange their shares are traded on - they have operations that are central to their business all over the world, and many of those can be disrupted.

They will have to satisfy regulators from all major regions where they want to operate. Non-compliance results financial, or criminal penalties or not being allowed to operate in EU.

In theory FB could just agree with EU that they will cease all operations in EU and leave in peace, but that would effectively kill FB over long term. Competitors would crush them. Imagine a mobile carrier who can't make calls to EU or email provider who can't sent or receive calls from EU. FB is in the same situation. It's a social network. Value for the users comes from connections.

Every international company negotiates some kind of deal if they want to stay international.

"Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony"


> It's completely legal to be a monopoly by buying every competitor out fair and square.

Pretty sure it's not in the US, or at least can be halted by the disapproval of antitrust regulators.

For example: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/staples-office-depot-merge...

at least can be halted by the disapproval of antitrust regulators.

That's the key though, they can continue to try until someone sits up and takes notice. Depending on the regulatory climate at any given time a company will have varying degrees of success with this before they are stopped outright before buying any more competition. Either that or they suddenly start abusing their positions such that people/other companies complain enough for regulators to take notice of them.

I think this shouldn't be legal.

But they are running out of potential sites to buy. I wonder if they have offered to buy Reddit?

Of course they have. Why wouldn't they? They probably just didn't offer enough billions.

Not just them. Almost everybody does that. Just a few weeks ago saw a documentary that explained that the same happens in dating apps/websites, for instance.

It's also logical. I mean, what can you do when you are the market leader already.

What was the name of the documentary?

I have teenagers and college-age kids and I'm not surprised in the least. They openly consider Facebook to be a platform for old people.

They seem to have moved to more of a distributed social media system. That is, they don't seem to have a central place where they communicate with friends. They seem to move between texts, facetime, tumblr, instagram, phone calls (!), etc. in a fluid manner. Anything except for Facebook (which has a negative stigma these days). They don't seem to be tied down to any one platform anymore.

I don't think there's any sort of "stigma." There's just the fact that, since "old people" are on Facebook—and that likely includes your parents and other relatives—they all expect you to add them as a Facebook friend. At which point you won't be able to be yourself on Facebook any more, because they can observe any of your "broadcast" activity.

The nice thing about the other platforms isn't that they don't have "old people" on them. It's specifically that your parents and relatives won't even think to add you on, say, Snapchat.

Also note that the apps that teens mostly do interact with parents through now, consist mostly of group-chat apps like Messenger or WeChat, where there is an explicit separation of social contexts (the groups you're chatting with), such that you don't need to worry about your relatives seeing anything as long as you don't put it in your family group.

I think this is the biggest factor. Nobody wants their family to be snooping on their every action, especially if it is a long distance family member that you normally only see a few times a year at best or someone you live with every day. With close friends you have a field of similar interests you can discuss, with total internet strangers you can say or do anything and if people don't like it then nothing happens, but with family members and parents it is a field of potential landmines for tons of kids where everything they say and post needs to be catered to not upset those who have power over their lives.

I don't know. Recently I was at an event where an older teen was giving a speech where he mentioned some social media platform and then explained, "That's like Facebook for you old people". That got quite a laugh, but in my experience there really is a stigma among young people that Facebook is only for old people.

Right, but there is no stigma against Facebook, the stigma is against "old people" and wherever they happen to be.

That isn't what I'm saying. When I hear teens and college students talking bad about Facebook, they aren't mentioning old people (though that probably is the root cause), they are saying Facebook by name. They are saying "Facebook sucks" not "Old people suck, old people use Facebook, ergo I am declining from using Facebook for now until I too am an old person".

It sucks because you can't freely post anything there, without people (family / coworkers) judging you. I don't want to broadcast to that group of people. If I need to talk to them it's personal or in small groups, so that's done in instant messengers.

The only people I would like to broadcast to are close friends or strangers on the internet.

I don't have that many close friends, so a bigger IM group is enough for that. (I guess Instagram might work if you have lots of "close" friends.)

That leaves only my need to anonymously talk to the internet. So Twitter, reddit, personal blogs?

The moment old people hop on Instagram, expect it to die quickly.

Knowing that my 2-year-old son will very likely not even consider participating in Facebook (when he gets to that age) is pretty refreshing. It gives me hope that in the time between now and then, we'll be able to figure out how to communicate effectively in the distributed internet age. In the same vein, it worries me because it's totally plausible to think that the problems of today will be dwarfed by the problems of my son's age.

From my perspective, the very best action that I can take, in order to limit his vulnerability later on in life, is to just start educating him on how to act appropriately online. But I can only base that education on the view that I've built up of these gargantuan and ever-multiplying systems of manipulation, which leads back to my main worry: I know that there will come a time when I can no longer keep my view of these systems up-to-date, and by extension, help to keep my son educated about his and my own vulnerabilities to them. I find myself worrying a lot about his future these days...

He's growing up in a future that will be better than today by almost any measure.

The news just like to report bad events more and it biases our view.

'Enlightenment Now' by Pinker really explains it - we shouldn't be so pessimistic, as Obama said if you could choose any time up until now in which to exist (without being able to pick the conditions of your birth) you would choose today.

He'll probably be plugging into a neural interface that broadcasts his literal stream of consciousness for the world to see.

I’ve noticed that most young people don’t use Facebook until they graduate from college, become an adult and move away from home and want to keep in touch with people. Why use Facebook when your friendship circle is people you see every day?

Maybe, but at least my college-age kids have friends that are all over the country (including back here in their home state) and they don't use Facebook to keep in touch with them.

Being "brand loyal" in this regard doesn't make a lot of sense anyway. It's just a tool. You use whatever gets the job done at the moment.

> They seem to move between texts, facetime, tumblr, instagram, phone calls (!), etc. in a fluid manner.

Aah. Just like how we moved from text, the mall, AIM, Yahoo!, CokeMusic/Habbohotel, MySpace, and phone calls (!), etc. in a fluid manner.

everything changes, and yet nothing changes

People always complain about younger people not getting it, but to me this sounds like a new generation of internet users actively self-regulating their social media use.

Nah, they are just using different apps.

I’m in my twenties and that’s how my close friends and I use them... just fluidly communicate through all of them

There's just no way I could keep myself up to date with local events without Facebook. I live in a post-soviet country so Snapchat and Instagram are considered pretty niche here so every social event is always documented on Facebook.

I also hold a monthly gamedev meetup, which would be utterly impossible without Facebook. The attendance has grown from 5 to 30 people in a few months and is now helping jump start the game development scene in the country (not because of my meetup).

Despite this, I have a deep hatred towards the platform and can't stand how people around me get locked into feedback loops of endless scrolling. I uninstalled the app on my phone a year ago, kept messenger. Also, I haven't seen the news feed in more than 2 years, after installing a plugin that blocks it. The productivity gains were and still are immeasurable.

I see the platform as a versatile and useful tool to help connect with others and I hope that Facebook will try to improve it and remove some of its ethically questionable features, but it's still evil.

It's a necessary evil.

It is evil but it's really not as necessary as you think. I'm known to ALL of my friends and ALL of my family as someone who will not ever be on Facebook. You know what they do? They call me. Or text me. Or email me. And I never miss out on events. Even people I rarely interact with know how to, and do reach me outside of Facebook.

People make such a big deal out of how impossible their social lives would be without Facebook but never actually try it. I honestly don't get it.

Same, however in my experience people like us will be left out of the loop when there are last minute changes to the event. Just last week I nearly missed a weekly public activity: the venue changed last minute and they only posted about that on Facebook. If a friend hadn't told me, I'd have gone to the usual place.

I have an amusing anecdote about being the one friend without Facebook.

Someone told me about a birthday party- they told me where it was and what time to be there. They did not tell me that our group was not actually invited and our arrival would be a surprise.

The rest of the group was half an hour late. I was not. They all wanted to arrive together and were delayed, but no one filled me in on the new time.

And that's the story about how I awkwardly attended a party for 30min where I knew no one but the birthday woman and it was obvious to everyone that I was not actually invited.

All was well once my friends arrived. Still, what a nightmare that was.

I haven't had Facebook in going on seven years. Not once has someone said anything like, "I only sent the invite out on Facebook. I forgot to invite you!"

As a counterpoint, I've made it clear to my friends I don't check facebook, and have missed out on events or only found out about them because they came up in passing conversation, specifically because they sent out a facebook invite and assumed it would reach me. Then when I mention I hadn't heard about it I always hear "Oh right, I forgot you don't check facebook". As the only person in my friend circle who doesn't use the platform, it seems almost unthinkable to the rest that someone would do that. Is it poor behavior on my friends' part? Perhaps, but it's not a hill I'm willing to die on.

I suspect the difference is that they still "see" you there. So my friends can't see me, even if they're looking for me and maybe that triggers a reminder in their minds that they need to call/text/whatever me.

The only way to be informed of public events relevant to my interests is via Facebook, sadly.

So either I can be there and find out about them, or I can hope someone I know notices them and notifies me.

Both are terrible options.

You may be interested in my side project, peapods.com. The beta will launch soon.

It definitely looks interesting.

One challenge I face, though, is that I'm unwilling to let my Facebook account break out of its silo by linking it to anything else (and of course I'd love to kill it entirely) so event discovery becomes more challenging without the private groups I'm currently a member of and family/friends information FB currently holds.

This looks really interesting. From what I gather, the intent is to encourage real physical interaction?

I think groups/meetups/business owners/musicians, et cetera have a very different use case than yourself.

> I'm known to ALL of my friends and ALL of my family as someone who will not ever be on Facebook. You know what they do? They call me. Or text me. Or email me.

That only works if they already know you. If you wanna start something new, it might benefit from having the outreach that facebook has.

I recently joined a gym and have met several people there I now call friends. They also all know I'm not on Facebook so these new friends text me (usually) when they want to get in touch outside of the gym.

Guys, you're proving what everybody is starting to realize; Facebook has become masters at making people addicted to them. Every excuse I see like this one is nothing more than justification for an addiction. I hear it all the time. Me: "I'm not on Facebook." Them: "Oh, I could never do that" and then the proceeds to outline some extenuating circumstance that they claim is unique to them which is in fact unique to NOBODY. Because Facebook is that good at making people addicted to it.

I challenge you to try it. Disable your account for six weeks and see how you feel. If you're miserable, fine. Go back. But at least try it!

I'm guessing you are not interests in local events.

I participate in local events all the time. And I find out about every single one outside of Facebook.

I hear you.

Really all I want is a solid app that's only Facebook's event system and friend lists and nothing else.

But I can't see any growth-motivated company ever making that and just stopping there. I'd even pay for it, if I thought they wouldn't try to make more money after that. Maybe it would have to be a non-profit.

Long time lingerer here.

My co-founder and I are building a groups and events system (like Meetup) that has a friends list and things like instant messaging. Our business model at the moment is freemium with ads and a limited organizer experience (you can create small groups/events) or we are offering a small subscription ~$5/mo. The subscription model removes the ads, unlocks all organizer features, and removes all limits on organizing groups/events such as being able to create a hierarchical organization with the tooling to manage it.

We are currently in YC Startup School as Geddy at geddy.io and we plan to launch soon.

Sounds great.

My main concern is that if you're in startup-crazy VC-funded world, you're eventually going to try to make more money, somehow, off my presence on your site -- through selling data or advertising or whatever.

If I do join it, I'll immediately leave when that happens. But if I think it might happen, I won't join it. The thing that would get me really interested would be a promise (ideally a legally restrictive one, like being a B-corp or a non-profit) that that won't happen.

I think that everyone (at least in my age group?) is slowly becoming enormously skeptical of companies offering services. I _want_ to use a service forever and have it be good and trustworthy. But in practice I feel like I'm getting tricked and manipulated at every turn, which is just slowly turning me into a luddite.


I believe you still need a FB account.

Definitely not interested. I want something that provides a service for money and won't about-face to trying to milk me for growth, ad revenue, and commodified personal data.

(I promise, I am not shilling) Meetup (meetup.com) lets you make a group for I think $20/month (group participants can contribute to help the organizer) and is perfect for organizing events, sending calendar invites, providing a group forum and mailing list. I have been using it for about 10 years to keep up with local tech groups and it works great.

I love meetup and have found it extremely useful in a new city to try and meet people with similar hobbies. But I've also found there are basically two types. The people who are truly passionate about a hobby and are willing to take losses occasionally and the groups that are sponsored for an obvious reason. In Japan, where I discovered the site, there were lots of groups that just wanted to get native English speakers so they members didn't need to pay for English classes. In America most of the tech events are simply put on by companies who are looking to hire. Often times the events are still worth it and enjoyable, but it's definitely disappointing if you go to one and don't realize the underlying reason for the group existing. I've found the ones put on by the passionate people to be the most worthwhile and worth the more expensive dues.

I am worried those days are long gone. Just like there is no turning back for gaming. F2P elements in nearly everything including paid games!

> Just like there is no turning back for gaming. F2P elements in nearly everything including paid games!

There are plenty of paid games that do not include any kind of microtransaction. I'd consider the paid-games ecosystem to be surprisingly healthy these days. But to be fair, it's all console/PC. Mobile games are likely to remain a F2P wasteland.

I'm working on exactly this, stay tuned for the beta. peapods.com

Sounds neat. Any chance you could put something on your site about your, like, philosophy?

Facebook and similar make me wary of getting excited about anything which seems superficially good without first understanding the underlying intentions of the creators.

Meetup (meetup.com) works pretty well for event organizing. I have used it to keep up with local tech groups to attend their events.

I also only still use Facebook mainly for local events. I am building something you will probably find valuable, beta launching soon. peapods.com

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