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I deleted my Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram accounts, and felt great since (shogan.co.uk)
420 points by shog_hn 12 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 234 comments

I lived in Spain for 5 years and then I returned to my country 13 years ago.

Some 8 years ago, Facebook was something that I really enjoyed using. I left way too many friends, close friends, and well, lovers behind. Facebook allowed me to have a healthy relationship with them, even if at a distance.

I went back to Spain on 2010 for the wedding of a close friend, and it was like I've been out of the country for 2 months instead of 2 years, and that was mostly thanks to Facebook.

I can't point exactly at the moment when all that went to shit (May be 5, 6 years ago?) but nowadays FB is a constant string of shitty videos from companies trying to stay afloat, shitty videos made by shitty people, fake news by the thousand - and people adhering to the fake news narrative! - and stupid motivational shit of the kind that really demotivates you, people viciously attacking other people for the stupidest reasons...

I disabled my account some 3 months ago, and I feel much better without it.

Instagram, on the other side, is a different beast. Even with the strong push by FB in order to monetize the network, I think that fact that people can't easily share other people's post, and are kind of forced to post their own material still makes it an interesting place.

As long as instagram does not allow reposting, I think it'll maintain a certain degree of quality.

I also have disabled my insta account, but I do miss the information from the people I was following there (Mostly, artists and crafstmen of all kinds).

> Instagram, on the other side, is a different beast. Even with the strong push by FB in order to monetize the network, I think that fact that people can't easily share other people's post, and are kind of forced to post their own material still makes it an interesting place.

>As long as instagram does not allow reposting, I think it'll maintain a certain degree of quality.

This is a fascinating insight I never considered. Disabling reposting results in higher quality, higher-effort discourse. Trashy memes and fake news can’t spread as rapidly or at all without the ability to easily, mindlessly repost them millions of times. It’s like a circuit breaker to our lizard brain, forcing us to actually think about what we’re doing instead of thoughtlessly queuing up another dopamine hit with a quick repost.

I think reposting with a comment is the worst. Mastodon has "boosting" which allows you to repost, but you can't add your own commentary to it.

This seems to work pretty well in preventing the spread of bad messages, as a boost of such message will imply that you agree with it. That way you're not getting the typical "look at what this horrible person said" messages.

Also, if you try to follow any type of discussion in the comments its surprisingly difficult. Hard to find the parents of a comment, hard to scroll up to the original comments. And to be honest... I think this is for the best of the platform.

I agree with you.

Even if there might be some people willing to make the effort of re-sharing certain posts, the chain is incredible weaker.

I haven't used FB regularly in about 3 years now (after being an early adopter and heavy user), and honestly the times I logged in to see all the "happy birthday!" notifications, I couldn't believe how far the platform had devolved since I last logged in. It's one of the biggest disappointments of modern technology for me. Such amazing unity of entire communities and families, worldwide, being turned into such an exploitative and IMO harmful platform. There's a bit of signal in the noise (in the form of actual worthwhile friend/family/community posts), but unfortunately for me it's simply not worth the effort of wading through an endless supply of ragebait, propaganda and straight-up misinformation.

A measure that could significantly improve your Facebook experience (as it did mine) is to curate the content that you want to see.

A few years ago I started actively clicking "not interested" on every type of content that I didn't want to see, and slowly but surely I managed to get rid of all memes, news, and uninteresting bits.

Now I'm left with discussions about AI papers, local events that friends are attending, and updates from friends in other countries. And even then, my feed is so uninteresting that I'm not tempted to scroll through it every day. Of course, this doesn't remove the million other issues with Facebook but at least it doesn't mess with my happiness

I have to do a “not interested” purge on my Instagram about once every 4 weeks. That’s how long it takes the Instagram Explore algorithm to devolve into degenerate memes and echo chambers regardless of my interests.

The best feature that improved my use of Facebook is the "snooze" button.

Whenever someone posts something annoying, like a string of recycled memes or bad political arguments, I hit that snooze button and they disappear from my feed for 30 days.

In 30 days they've usually calmed down.

I went a step further and used a script to unfollow everything - all friends, pages, and groups. Once you do that the news feed is completely gone and Facebook becomes a much better experience. I left it this way for about six months and then re-followed my family and ten or so close friends.

Yeah, I manually unfollow all my “friends” that I don’t really know that well/care about the first time they post something annoying. Done!

The way the social media hivemind works these days, it seems halfway to China's "social credit" system, where people can be fired for liking the "wrong" kind of tweet. For now it's safe to just ignore the noise, but I wonder how long before people will be fired for not liking the "right" kind of tweet.

Already happening, received two angry messages from people I know for not reposting BLM/SJW posts on my instagram story, even though I had already donated to ACLU & signed petitions I agree with in private.

What worries me is this is just the start. Wonder how social interactions will be in 50 years...

I don't think that people will be leaving their houses much in 50 years, assuming we still have "people" and "houses". The singularity is on the horizon and we are running full-speed toward it.

Yes, I think this is the sad thing with a lot of modern tech. They aim to make 0.5% more ad revenue quarter after quarter and by the time they realise it, it's a big mess.

Your experience mirrors my own. I was never a big Facebook user, but it was a nice service to have and then, as you say maybe 5 or 6 years ago, it all went to hell.

People basically stopped posting to Facebook and it became an endless stream of mindless videos, cutesy images with quotes and supermarkets trying to push offers directly to users (successfully though).

Facebook lost the thing that made it interesting, news about long lost friends and insights into the everyday of the people you know. I'm not sure if it's something Facebook did, or if people just stopped posting.

> "I think that fact that people can't easily share other people's post, and are kind of forced to post their own material still makes it an interesting place."

That's an interesting observation, this is one of the reasons I don't enjoy Twitter, everything is retweeted (maybe I just don't get it).

I find Instagram to be a bit too addictive though. It feels like an endless magazine of glossy images, which learns what you want to see, to keep you engaged... forever

I used a tool (Blindfold) to disable retweets on all accounts, and it has made Twitter infinitely more enjoyable to use. Link: https://blindfold.social/

The code is opensource as well: https://github.com/matthewmorek/blindfold

I think you hit the nail on the head with both how Facebook and Instagram has an effect in my mind. If I may add to that, WhatsApp is going strong due to a similar pattern. It strictly controls your circles. Your experience is only affected by the people and groups you're in. They did not go crazy with feature creep and even more importantly, the design and ux has largely been the same without needless rewrites to justify a paycheck. This consistency is how they managed to get both the younger demographic and the elderly in a single app.

Your mileage might vary, but where I live WhatsApp is the de-facto messaging medium. Nobody does not use it. That made it somewhat possible that eventually the whole population got to use it - because there were a lot of people available to help elder people learn to use it. I agree with you 100% as to what has happened to it. Except a few changes (Voice messages back then, groups and broadcast messages closer in time).

The features are kept in place, and that's a good thing.

Insular US and Canada does not get Whatsapp, if they aren't interacting with people outside of those countries.

But the other Americas, Europe and Africa are so heavy on it. It really is becoming the platform that you see in Asian countries for business, which Zuck had hoped he could have. Clout and reputation for business is all on whatsapp for many people. Compared to websites and public pages from decades past, which are still indicators of legitimacy in the US. Luxury watch dealers just post on their whatsapp story when something new comes in, and its sold in minutes. At the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum, people post sneakers they get in stock right onto their story and its a mad dash to obtain it. Professional group chats highly active for private equity deal making and collaboration, organic group chats created on the fly. Location specific group chats existing in perpetuity.

I spend almost all day on it now, out of necessity. And I like how utilitarian it is, it doesn't need to "wow" anyone with UI bells and whistles and they are completely invisible if you are not part of groups that use whatsapp.

I don't like that it forces you to share your phone number, but the etiquette seems self-enforcing. The chat size limit is a blessing and a curse, but they probably shouldn't change it.

Its not about what other chat applications can do, its about what happens.

> But the other Americas, Europe and Africa are so heavy on it.

FWIW at least in my neck of the woods I stopped receiving messages on WhatsApp about 2 or 3 years ago and when I got a new phone in October last year I didn't even install it.

Everyone is on Telegram and while I see people joining Signal all the time, the first time I actually had a conversation with anyone on Signal was a few weeks ago.

Telegram is 100% crypto in my world and its a riot, very entertaining. It serves a purpose because crypto people will SS7 attack you if you they know your phone number, so whatsapp isnt good.

I agree that some years back it (FB) was way more engaging and meaningful. It's certainly changed for the worse over the years.

Regarding Instagram, I never thought about it in this way, and now that you mention it, perhaps that is why out of the 3 x services I talked about, this one was the least worrysome for me. Restricting reposting does seem to be pretty key to keeping content at a higher 'quality'.

> As long as instagram does not allow reposting, I think it'll maintain a certain degree of quality.

I've never been a big Instagram user, but considering one of my big complaints about FB is the prevalence of regurgitated reposted garbage (memes, crap news, chain letter nonsense), I might have to revisit my IG account and see if I can salvage a bit there.

Beware, instagram deletes your account after a few months. I've had this happen to me a twice. Second time around was few weeks ago when i decided to return after taking 2-3 month break.

Oops, that's a bummer. Thanks for the heads up.

I make it a point to check if an upstart is from bay area or not. If they are, my first assumption is that behind all that fancy "awesome" talk there is a sugar-coated sociopath that has been vetted and backed by a popular venture firm.

Bail. Find an alternative from Europe or Canada instead. Or simply let it go.

Whenever this topic comes up, there are always a lot of comments to the effect of "facebook isn't the problem, you are". Maybe it is best to think of facebook like sugary food. Many people have no trouble having one piece of chocolate and then leaving the rest for later. Many other people are unable to stop themselves from downing the whole 200g block.

I think these comments come from people who have no trouble engaging with facebook without any unhealthy habits forming. But there are people who are unable to engage with facebook in a healthy way. I personally struggle with facebook's newsfeed and have to put up some serious barriers to ensure I don't waste an hour of my day looking at it. Presumably many of the negative comments about how terrible facebook is come from people like me.

The first step to helping those who are impacted negatively is to acknowledge that there is a real problem here. The next is to attack the problem with various solutions. Some of them facebook will not like.

One of the most pervasive and lazy ways to think about humans is that we're rational (homo economicus [0]), and any deviation from that is a personal failing. While some people have better impulse control than others, or have different weaknesses than a particular issue at hand, it's mostly a lack of self-awareness that prevents people from seeing that they too are driven by forces other than pure logic.

An ever so brief study of psychology shows this is a bad model to predict human behavior, and an even worse model to use when constructing and shaping our environment. It leads us to construct hostile environments and experiences where we always have to be on edge, and diminishes our humanity.

The usual retort to this is that hostile environments are a good way to teach us to be sharper, but that's just a lazy way of rationalizing the current situation [1], and represents a lack of understanding of how people learn.

If you want to teach people to be more rational you need to create environments where they are set up to succeed and make challenges within reach. In other words, it matters a lot the exact degree to which the environment is hostile or extractive (and to whom), and if you go over that, people are set up for failure.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_economicus

[1] which itself is an irrational bias toward maintaining status quo belief, because it requires less cognitive effort to unwind its knock-on effects

So are you agreeing with the parent? Setting up environments sure sounds like regulating the shit out of facebook which the parent comment hinted at.

Yes they are a drug cartel pushing Dopamine. You pay in Attention which they trade with Advertisers for $$$.

How much Dopamine they can sell to their addicts has to be regulated because as with all addiction, people's ability to control their own behavior degenerates in the face of never ending free dopamine rewards.

I think of so many human problems as the "sugary food" class of problems now. Internet addiction†, pornography, gossip, sensationalist headlines. All sugary food. Our brains are wired to seek out that hit of glucose or dopamine in resource scarce environments and it's maladaptive in the long-term for resource rich ones.

† which is why I'm here on HN, if I'm honest

"Internet addiction" seems like a different thing than the rest of those to me.

Being addicted to discovering new information and sharing with others sounds pretty healthy to me. I think the difference with HN vs FB is that at some level, you are driving your HN interaction, while FB is driving your FB interaction.

I think it only becomes "internet addiction" when you're not the one in control.

I was "addicted" to discovering new information before the internet existed. I biked 20 kilometers to the city to spend hours in the library and dig around in the shelves. When I got got access to the internet in the early 90s I spent hours to search in Usenet news and gopher sources (www hadn't been invented yet). I would not call that always a healthy behavior. It can be pretty inefficient and lacking any direction. Yeah, I sometimes wonder how narrow knowledge my fellow programmers or my early colleague from university who is a professor of computer science today can have.

My interaction on HN could be more focussed to learn something new and not comment something old...

I agree. I think "cheap dopamine" is a good way to describe this.

I fully agree, we should strive for systems that cause it's users to fall into the pit of success[1]. We do this when it comes to driving, road diets[2] or roundabouts[3]. We should have systems to ensure healthy social media use as well.

1. https://blog.codinghorror.com/falling-into-the-pit-of-succes... 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_diet 3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundabout

Wow thanks :) I had not come across this idea before! I've thought about this before, but not directly. I feel it is an excellent way to think about what our internet services could be if they were not the product of a hyper-capitalist culture.

As a side note, and relevant to what I am working on, MakeCode and Scratch are very good at encouraging coders to fall into the pit of success. I find it quite difficult to find a real program breaking bug in MakeCode scripts for the Micro:bit. Which helps make it excellent as a teaching tool because you can focus on things that will engage younger learners in coding and engineering.

Yeah, personally I have no issues with something like Netflix. Netflix is actually quite healthy for me. It's a way for me to relax, it's fast, and there's no addiction at all. Same with TikTok or Twitter.

I have no impulse to watch the kind of things that make me feel bad, but many people do. I hear of people wanting to break Netflix addiction. I think certain types of people tend to indulge in certain types of entertainment, and they get drawn into bad behaviour that they wish they could stop.

I agree with this view, and that Netflix must be quite negatively addictive for some. Following from that, I wonder why we don't see similar articles about Netflix as we do about quitting facebook? It has the same kind of relevance to HN but I can't remember ever engaging in discussion about Netflix addiction here.

It sounds like survivorship bias. Netflix is a passive hobby and Facebook is an active one. The people who discuss on HN are likely to indulge in unproductive discussion. Whereas the people who lurk HN quietly and excessively may be likely to indulge in slothful behaviour.

Well, facebook is designed to exploit addictive behavior so it should be no surprise.

I think you are right, but there is a larger group who merely think they 'have it under control' and are unaware of how unhealthy their use of social media actually is.

Like people who drink too much but will absolutely refuse to acknowledge they have a drinking problem, even if they can't remember when a day has gone by without using a glass or two.

That's a pretty good way to think about the problem. However, do we think food manufacturers are doing a good thing by adding filler like sugar and salt to food that doesn't need it to get people eat more of it?

> Whenever this topic comes up, there are always a lot of comments to the effect of "facebook isn't the problem, you are". Maybe it is best to think of facebook like sugary food. Many people have no trouble having one piece of chocolate and then leaving the rest for later.

I have posted such comments. But they are usually in response to people telling me it’s also the best thing I can do. When people make sweeping statements, they should expect pushback.

Yeah the problem is partly that both sides do not understand each other. I was hoping my analogy would help people understand the problem that facebook presents to some people. That way we can start to think beyond sweeping statements and start doing things to help those who need it.

I understand that. And I understand that some people have a problem with that. I used similar analogies (alcoholism, gambling, etc.) as you did before.

> Many people have no trouble having one piece of chocolate and then leaving the rest for later. Many other people are unable to stop themselves from downing the whole 200g block.

This is me. :(

Can you block the entire newsfeed with Ublock origin and only visit specific people's pages when you want to see their updates?

But then how would you know when a given person has updates to see? Sure you could just check periodically, but say there are a dozen people you care about seeing updates for - it gets a lot less convenient than seeing those all in one place. I'd suggest unfollowing everyone except people who's updates you actually want to see, but you'd still have "sponsored" & "suggested" posts etc from FB

Ah. That all seems like too much work for me (unfollowing everyone etc) but I just don't log into it.

Gamification helps. Unfollow as you scroll through the feed for a different sort of dopamine hit ;)

You can install an extension/add-on in firefox and chrome that will block it. That's how I block my newsfeed.

Even the platform specific issues aside, they're all "A Mark Zuckerberg production" and many people may not wish to use the products of a sociopath

It seems extremely hyperbolic to call someone a sociopath for creating a platform for people to share news about themselves with friends and family. As much as I don't really enjoy using Facebook, it is still the single best way for me to keep up with what's going on in the lives of my extended family.

It might not be strictly psychopatic, idk, not a doctor. However when you call your users dumbfucks, recognizing you are exploiting them and still continue to do it... Why would I use (trust) any of his products?

That was a very long time ago. You never said things that would be "problematic" if publicly known?

I probably said a lot of things that would be problematic in this current climate and it doesn't mean I changed my opinion on any of them in particular :)

Scientifically, it's not a robust conclusion. The kind of person who wants to delete FB etc is the kind of person who will feel better after they do it.

Personally, I just use FB in a pretty restricted way. I unfollow most friends unless they post stuff I like engaging with. I give FB the bare minimum of my own personal data, and block all the ads they serve. I mostly post questions for discussion, rather than highlights of my life.

I don't use Insta, although I'm considering it. Lots of friends have described really fun, healthy little communities they're part of. (I still think of Instagram as a photography community, which is how old I am.)

I don't use WhatsApp by choice, but occasionally it's someone else's preferred way to communicate. I don't have a problem with it.

> I don't use WhatsApp by choice, but occasionally it's someone else's preferred way to communicate. I don't have a problem with it.

I think this is a good point, just like you are expecting people to contact you on telegram there must be some people who would like you to contact them on whataspp.

On the contrary, _refusing_ to honor others' choice walled garden may eventually make it enough of a problem to warrant renewed efforts towards interoperability.

> I still think of Instagram as a photography community, which is how old I am.

Wait what? When did that change? I must be old too...

It still kind of is, though, from what i've seen of people who use it, it's become more of a marketing platform now. Both, personal and professional.

Years ago. I mean, ostensibly, it is still about sharing photos. But originally, it was more about "I took a really nice photo of something in the world, and I'd like you to see it". Now most of the photos are selfies, or otherwise express the personality of the poster, and it isn't about "photography" per se.

It's the biggest ecommerce platform in some social circles.

What specifically makes him “that kind of person”?

For me the biggest thing was: If you feel bad/less when you watch somebodies vacation or achievements, you are using social media wrong/in a hurtful way. Comparing yourself against a polished virtual image of someone just makes you unhappy.

I used Facebook pretty early on and still have my account but login less then once per month now.

> It started with an urge to delete Facebook around 3 years ago.

This. It's the same problem as when participants self-select into a study. They have different motivations than the average person.

I'm just making the point that if you are persuaded by this article to also get off FB (because it made his life better), you might be disappointed, because you weren't already dissatisfied with FB.

Recently I went to Milan and remembered that I had a good friend there. I tried to reach out to him on Facebook and it turns out that he had deleted his account. I couldn't reach out to him again because I never knew his email, or really had much friends in common. It was pretty sad when I think about it.

I'm happy that with Facebook I can still keep in touch with most of my friends that I made around the world traveling. I end up meeting quite some friends that I haven't seen in decades when I travel.

I understand that some people are unhappy about the downsides of social networks, and Facebook in particular, but I wish more people would realize the upsides as well.

Agreed. Platforms like facebook are very easy to find and contact with old friends, but when people delete the account it becomes 10x tougher to find them again. I wish people improve their self control when it comes to using apps like instagram and facebook.

How can you expect people to have self control over a system which does everything in its power to weaken/stop that self control?

Facebook in 2010 was what we all loved. It's garbage now, and we all know it.

You think the IPO in 2012 made things worse?

Why didn't you ask him for his email?

Because he had his facebook.

When you outsource you usually lose in resiliency.

The same reason no one else on these platforms asks for backup contact details...

These platforms make everything so easy, so additively easy, and it's awkward and difficult to ask for methods of contact outside of the platform or even any other kinds of backups.

Almost as difficult as someone who's never used, and refuses to use these platforms.

Because no one uses email anymore? How old are you?

Wechat/Line/Kakaotalk handle this without the damages of Facebook and the like. At least for KakaoTalk, it's not a "social network" in the same way your contacts list isn't one, but since everyone [in Korea] is on Kakaotalk it makes adding and maintaining friends easy. You don't have to worry about people deleting their accounts because there's nothing -to- delete an account over; it's just a chat app that everyone uses.

It would be nice if there were a similar app in the US with that kind of market share, instead of everything being scattered among various apps, etc.

The only real issue I felt with deleting my facebook was losing access to facebook groups. I was very close to making a burner account to participate in some groups, but I never ended up wanting it that -that- badly as meetup sufficed.

> Wechat/Line/Kakaotalk

not really, nobody use these apps outside of their respective countries

Well, yes. But -inside- those countries, everyone uses them. Obviously it only really applies if you live there.

You seem to have a healthy relationship with FB. Issue is...FB is actively optimizing the experience to achieve an unhealthy relationship that is effectively an addiction. That’s the evil part.

As someone who clearly saw the shortcomings of facebook from the get go and as a consequence never bother to register, I wonder what are the upsides you mention.

Facebook is mostly a birthday reminder feature hidden in a glorified walled garden email, its whole point is vacuuming personal data and find ways to make as much profit as possible with it.

IMHO email is vastly superior to facebook as it is open and offers interoperability.

I guess you need friends to understand this

that's, why I ultimately decided to not delete it (as well as Instagram) - they'll keep their shadow profile anyway. Good idea about unfollowing most people though (some other post herr) - makes visiting it stupid unless to check if someone contacted you/contact someone.

I deleted everything I've posted and stopped logging in and just kept my shell profile as I figured they were keeping a shadow profile on me. I log in an check messages every few months or whenever I randomly remember. I have all notifications turned off because I found they were sending me fake sketchy random notifications to get me to log in more when I stopped logging in, so now I only log in when I choose to.

For me, LinkedIn, surprisingly, has been very useful in such situations.

I still use Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. Why?

Facebook: I met lots of elementary/junior high school friends many years ago who have been lost contact with more than 2 decades via this platform. Useful, isn't it? Remember, it was before 2010. And I don't spend much time scrolling on my timeline because I prefer group discussions. Remember that Google had shut down it's consumer version of Google Plus.

WhatsApp: My de facto messenger app. Many years ago, it was BlackBerry Messenger. Now Whatsapp. I like this app because it's essentially just a messenger app without useless stuffs like news, job search etc (yes Line, I'm looking at you). Telegram is also cool. It's open source so you can make your own modified version.

Instagram: Ahh Instagram. I don't want to sound like an grumpy old man. Do you remember that in 2010 till 2012, it was a "privillege" only iOS users can enjoy? And when they announced Android version, we Android users shouted in joy? I'm a photography enthusiast so I purposefully post my photos on it. You won't find my latest dinner photos or selfies on beautiful beaches there, promise. I also follow the accounts of some famous photographers and photographers hashtags to provide me more visual references.

People some also to forget that many many years ago, back in the film era, gaining recognition is harder: you need to build years of reputation, publish your works on magazines, do exhibitions on gallery etc. Now? We have social media. Waaayyy easier. Post your photos and in less than 5 minutes, people in Africa or Alaska can enjoy them. Even any kid can do that.

Despite the useless craps, I'm glad that there are people who still use social medias in a sane way :)

As a photographer, i can guarantee that spending 10 hours on preparing an exhibition will be much more useful than 10 hours “engaging” on Instagram.

A gallery show will bring people to you and your work, let you sell prints, collect emails, potentially meet publishers/other curators/etc. Good luck getting noticed in all the noise on Instagram, or making any money.

> WhatsApp: My de facto messenger app. Many years ago, it was BlackBerry Messenger. Now Whatsapp. I like this app because it's essentially just a messenger app without useless stuffs like news, job search etc (yes Line, I'm looking at you)

Well, it does have some not-so-essential features like "whatsapp status". It should have just been a messenger instead of switching over to the social media hype.

It'd be myopic if we ignore all the persuasive techniques they employ.

WhatsApp is a popular communication interface. Giving up WhatsApp is like giving up email or texting or phone calls. In some countries, it's a more dominate form of communication than any of those.

If you want to give up communicating remotely with humans, OK I guess. Have fun. But giving up one specific interface? That's meaningless. It's like giving up Sauvignon Blanc but drinking Pinot Grigio everyday.

"I use Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, and I feel fine!"

-- most of the planet, but you'd never know it by reading HN

It sure seems like most of the planet doesn't feel fine. I feel social media is only adding to that.

"I'm used by Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram, and I feel down!"

-- most of the planet.


I never personally felt depressed when using these platforms in the past. In my post I suggest that those who may not necessarily understand the unfair comparisons they make of themselves versus other people's 'picture perfect' life could be negatively affected.

For me the issue was more about my data being used to serve ads back to me, and being disgruntled over all the outrageous things they were allowing to happen across the platform.

people said the same thing about smoking 80 years ago and here we are. I'm not sure appealing to the prevailing common sense on long term issues of public health or socio-economics is particularly relevant.

I agree. Reading HN/Reddit it seems that FB is dying any minute now (for past couple of years), in reality they are still growing.

Beside couple of people, everybody else from my social circle seem to be just fine using FB (and others). Though there's definitely more usage of Instagram than FB nowadays (FB Messenger is still super popular)

(not from US)

Facebook intentionally made about 400,000 feel sad/depressed on purpose. They bragged that they had 'informed consent' to perform psychological experiments on all Facebook users simply because you joined the site and agreed to their long legalese T&C.

Maybe the rest of the world feels better on Facebook. But that will only last until Facebook randomly decides one day to throw them into a depression.

> Facebook intentionally made about 400,000 feel sad/depressed on purpose. They bragged that they had 'informed consent' to perform psychological experiments on all Facebook users simply because you joined the site and agreed to their long legalese T&C.

As a certified clinical research professional (CCRP), this is pretty outrageous to hear. Might be an interesting discussion for one of our upcoming glorified journal club roundtables. TY!

It's tough for me to get rid of facebook these days, purely because of FB marketplace. It has almost completely eliminated craigslist in my area for a lot of used items and is significantly nicer to buy/sell things in your area.

I got rid of the timeline by unfollowing _everyone_. Timeline is completely empty. It's bliss

There are other local marketplace platforms, such as OfferUp, that offer the same experience as Facebook Marketplace without tracking users as severely as Facebook does.


But if nobody is using it in the area you live in, those platforms don't help you. The fact that such software exists isn't what brings the value to users, it's the fact that other people use it that you want to interact with. The term for this phenomenon is "network effect", and Facebook just simply buys up tons of platforms that have network effects.

In my area, OfferUp has a significantly larger selection of items than Facebook Marketplace. If you mainly use Facebook Marketplace, it's worth looking at OfferUp, Letgo, or other local marketplaces to see if that's the case for your location.

This is a big issue for lots of people who use the platform for business, or the marketplace. I guess I'm lucky that I was not using FB for any of those purposes and so I had little trouble removing it from my life.

More evidence that Facebook should be broken up. Or, I should be able to create a separate FB Marketplace account.

If people have shifted from other platforms onto FB then doesn't that say the opposite?

Ugh, I am the same way. The search in FB is _terrible_, though.

Why did you delete WhatsApp? Don't you have to text some people occasionally? Or how do you communicate? Do you use Signal, Telegram, E-mail or something instead?

BTW I also had to use Facebook once - because everybody at the uni did so its Messenger was the way we texted each other. Now I use Telegram and WhatsApp.

I mean Instagram is a pure time&attention wasting tool, Facebook is the same + a messenger (which is an essential thing everybody needs nowadays - that's the way we communicate with people who don't stand right in front of us at the moment), WhatsApp is a pure messenger, isn't it?

There's literally a section on how he switched to Telegram.

I see. Thanks. It was deep down there.

By the way, I've just came up with an idea of what's really wrong with messengers like Telegram and WhatsApp: you can't read a message without telling the sender you've read it. And this forces you to answer. This way I often have to avoid viewing a message so they don't get notified. This is a huge annoyance which kind of ruins my life every now and then. Thanks G-d they don't insist to show when you are online. I would even pay some reasonable subscription to have a stealth mode so people would have no means to see whether I am online and if I've read their message.

In whatsapp you can turn this off in privacy settings

Cool! But you can't edit messages in WhatsApp and desktop support is very bad - I need both all the time.

Telegram is a really great app user experience wise, but I'm more preferential to Signal because I've read in-depth about the double-ratchet algorithm. Weren't there some concerns about Telegrams implementation or privacy issues or something with that app?

Ordinary Telegram chats are not secure, secret chats are secure - nobody has ever explained how the latter possibly can be eavesdropped. The problem with Telegram is many people don't know they are to create a secret chat explicitly every time they want a secure conversation.

However, the fact Russia has unbanned Telegram after Durov's claims they have implemented an illegal content busting mechanism seem alarming: we all know some harmless things many good people like (e.g. discussing government's faults, smoking weed or sharing voluntarily-taken nude pictures) are illegal in many countries.

Shit, I didn't know that and I have tested Telegram specifically thinking I was using an E2E encrypted application. Fuck me.

I wish everyone would just use Signal. Because Ratchet!

> Why did you delete WhatsApp? Don't you have to text some people occasionally? Or how do you communicate? Do you use Signal, Telegram, E-mail or something instead?

I've never had WhatsApp. E-mail works fine. Phone call for people who don't E-mail.

These questions always puzzle me: "How do you do X without Y?" The answer is always easy: the same way I did X before Y even existed.

Is there some aspect of WhatsApp that I'm missing? The way I use it, it is purely a messaging app. No different than text messages really. How does this get lumped in with Facebook and Instagram? (other than being owned by the same company).

I think OP is deleting WhatsApp because Facebook is the parent company. But I agree, WhatsApp is not a social network site but a messaging tool.

That's it. The clincher for me was when they announced that they would be starting to share user data from WhatsApp with parent company Facebook for ad targeting purposes.

A messaging tool is by definition a social network.

Yes. you are missing the part where it's used for surveillance, for collecting personal data and exploiting it, for giving a false sense of security, and so on.

Basically facebook being facebook and doing facebook things to the people that were escaping its grasp.

Citation needed.

I think it's mostly that it's easier and more common to make larger groups, which then inevitably end up being a lot noisier.

Very insightful blogpost and good for the author. It shows its possible to get away from Facebook's social network drug store which they purposefully make it hard for you to quit or delete your profile(s). With Facebook, there's no such thing as 'privacy' and 'account deletion'.

I hope that everyone else isn't addicted to another drug that is called 'Twitter' which one of its side-effects is 'getting the worst out of everyone' and all sorts of nasty media stories spreading over there.

This may sound overly-dramatic, but I think Twitter is to blame for many of the problems in the world. The "cancel culture" and lack of real debate that stems from Twitter is all due to a race-to-the-bottom environment with people competing to get the most blunt/sarcastic/outlandish statement distilled into a tiny soundbite to try increase their engagement.

So many important topics are "discussed" on Twitter with the outcomes of these discussions often leading to financial, political or mental ruin. Complex topics such as politics, inequality, racial issues, or gender diversity should never be discussed on Twitter. It's impossible to adequately to condense these complex issues into 240 characters.

I’ve been saying this for years. You’re right about the format, but to make matters worse unlike other forums, a lot of people believe that twitter is both real and reflective of mainstream opinion.

> It's impossible to adequately to condense these complex issues into 240 characters.

it is possible. it's even more so when you there is a picture or a video with a caption.

While you are technically correct, that isn't the spirit of what was being said.

Only 240 letters for a words alone that offer a nuanced, carefully crafted, fully informative message? Sounds unlikely to me.

A link to some other richer media; maybe.

I have never joined any social media, and seeing some of these stories, glad I stuck with that decision.

what do ya call HN, @manawyddan?

I've always considered it a forum more than social media.

A forum is an online place or media where you have social interaction, hence a social media.

You control idea by controling the language. It turns the internet is actually the social media and each and every thing online is de facto also a social media.

Email is a social media, a blog is a social media, bbs is a social media, usenet is a social media, a forum is a social media, a wiki is a social media, and so on.

The name social media is a marketing ploy akin to the "cloud" to manipulate opinion and mind into thinking a certain way about large companies whose business is massively collecting user personal data without providing any meaningful service other than sitting in between the people wanting to interact.

It's a good old switcheroo. When you hear "social media" you could actually revert it back to "the internet" as it used be. But when you hear social media you actually think facebook / twitter, which means the marketing ploy succeeded in its attempt of replacing the internet by facebook/twitter.

And it's not only the word, facebook has actually tried to replace the internet in several countries, notably with the facebook basics program outrageously disrespecting net neutrality. But a few companies are also quite literally replacing the internet infrastructure by their own and the decentralized distributed design by a centralized one.

What's the distinction? They both have a community and social features. Commenting, upvotes/liking, posting links, user profiles. HN mainly lacks private messaging and groups.

(IMHO) It's a forum when the "destination" is certain topics, but a social network when the destination is certain people.

>What's the distinction?

persistent identity and status, that is to say the 'social' part. A lot of damage of social networks arguably is rooted in the competition for status and attention that you get when you get twitter likes and people complementing you, and the horror when you end up in a shitstorm and your reputation is suddenly ruined. It's also what makes it addictive.

Most people on HN just seem to post more or less anonymously. The upvote or downvote mechanisms aren't even particularly visible.

The worst thing you get here is 4 downvotes and a heated discussion. This is not like twitter where your career and face is on the line.

Anonymity is a major key why older forums were much, much better than our social media of today.

Most forums were based around a hobby or a particular subject, and communities formed around that. Sure, you'd have arguments, or someone stepping out of line, easily solved by a moderator. Sometimes moderators got to powerful and people left and joined another or did something else.

Most of my forum days were based on PC building or video games. Most of them had a bunch of boards with varying topics - and possibly a politics one. You could always separate it out easily because it wasn't visible by default.

Social media today everything is visible by default without anonymity. There is no effective way to filter content - only people, or profiles.

> Anonymity is a major key why older forums were much, much better than our social media of today.

I really doubt this. The mask of anonymity completely removes accountability on forums. Pseudonomity is a better approach, along with moderation, and ultimately, a community committed to civil discourse. But the quality of commentary on any forum is a fragile balance, as the evolution of HN has demonstrated.

> The mask of anonymity completely removes accountability on forums.

Accountable to whom? What accountability? Why was this necessary? Accountability wasn't necessary, as most forums were never big enough to really matter. Facebook, Reddit, Twitter are now forces of nature, especially in politics and matters of public opinion.

> Pseudonomity

This has varying degrees of anonymity - you need to further express what you mean by this, because on its own you could support anonymity through pseudonyms.

> and ultimately, a community committed to civil discourse. But the quality of commentary on any forum is a fragile balance, as the evolution of HN has demonstrated.

Yep, something much easier to do on the old forums of yesteryear - they were much smaller, much easier to moderate, and much easier to remediate if they were unfairly moderated.

> Accountable to whom? What accountability? Why was this necessary?

Accountable to the community represented by the forum itself. Participants in a forum need to have some kind of skin in the game, even if it's based on their pseudonymous identity, which brings us to ...

> Pseudonomity > This has varying degrees of anonymity

By this I mean a consistent identity that has a history, credibility deriving from a track record of adhering to the community standards. It doesn't have to reference your legal identity, but things like the HN "throwaway" drive-by accounts are a problem, IMO, except in rare cases where the individual would take a great personal risk by speaking out even as their pseudonymous identity. But in that case, the bar of evidence for assertions should be very high.

This existed just fine with anonymity - even if you were anonymous, after time and following the rules, others would "know" who you were based on your interactions - thus having skin in the game.

> others would "know" who you were based on your interactions - thus having skin in the game

That's pseudonymity, is it not? Otherwise why the quotes around "know"?

The term "social media" seems to have arrived a good time after forums did on the internet. I remember standing up websites and paying for a vBulletin license in order to add forum functionality a decade before I first heard the term "social media." I could entertain the idea that those old forums were "social media" the whole time, but they sure didn't feel like the cesspool of anger that twitter and facebook seem to represent.

The explanation is simple, twitter and facebook rely on ads to make profit. to maximize their profit they need to have people spend as much time as possible on their websites.

The most efficient way is to infuriate people. Hence the business model of these companies is to have people outraged and infuriated.

This is a similar strategy to using the media spread fear so people consume more. Simply said someone who's happy, live a fulfilling life free of worry does not feel the urge to buy and consume.

> but they sure didn't feel like the cesspool of anger that twitter and facebook seem to represent

Not that that's a defining feature of social media (at least it shouldn't be).

But I would say that traditional forums and ones like this and Slashdot fall within this (somewhat arbitrary) definition:

> Websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.

I would say the difference is that forums are about topics/discussion while social media is about people.

There is a difference if you use it to discuss your interests with like minded individuals or if you broadcast to an audience. I think this is why social media mostly works in small groups or why many people on facebook still find groups with limited topics useful even if they hate the rest.

It is also my main gripe with things like SSB or the fediverse. They work much better than other social media, because they encourage smaller, more tight knight communities, but they are often still people focused, not discussion focused.

Deleting Twitter was easy for me because the platform is so antagonistic on mobile if you don't use their app. I don't even click on links people send me anymore.

Same with reddit. I don't want to use your damn app!! Guess I won't use it at all. Reddit just infuriated me anyway so that was just the nail in the coffin

The day they get rid of old.reddit.com is the day I quit for good.

And I'll be honest, although the writing is on the wall, I really don't want that to happen. I like BBS-style forums! But I refuse to subject myself to the dark-pattern morass that is modern social media design.

I assume the plan is to add enough b̶l̶o̶a̶t̶ features to New Reddit that they "have to" kill the old one to "provide a consistent experience" or something along those lines. I dread that day, but it wouldn't be called "old" if it wasn't coming.

I feel so much faster using the old reddit site. Yes it doesn't look as pretty but it's faster in multiple ways. The site loads much quicker due to less bloat, but UI wise it's also a lot more efficient.

Moderating some subreddits I feel like I often have to stick with the new reddit design just to use everything properly and it gets annoying having to flip flop back and forth.

I assume when they kill off old reddit there will be some cloak/shell RES style baconreader chrome add on for us diehards to convert it old reddit style, hopefully! I cannot stand the cartoony style of the new layout.

My kingdom for more simple text-only craigslist style websites.

I found reddit a bit refreshing in comparison to Facebook and Twitter, easy to get rid of content I don’t want and easy to start conversations with like minded people. Twitter is really not a place to have conversations, if you’re not somehow famous no one would talk to you unless you jump in a bandwagon of sensationalist content, Facebook on the other hand is limited to your family and old friends, not new people, unless you join groups but then Facebook would go tell your family behind your back about your activity, this “gossip” feature that you can’t control put me off from Facebook groups. Reddit work for me, no followers/friends just topics, no gossip feature, sure there are some heated discussions but you can always chose to silence them.

From time to time I use reddit on the mobile. The links for accessing the comments are so tiny, that I'm marveled at the fact that I hardly miss them (Guess the touch screen on my phone is really good).

why would you need to use their app? there are much superior third party apps like Boost for Reddit or Sync for Reddit

I am afraid the drug is called society. It is a "folie à deux" except with two replaced with N. It is also absolutely great in bringing out the worst in people and rewarding them for it and the worst part is that attempts to replace it manage to wind up even worse!

Folie à plusieurs.

I go to Twitter for my daily Two Minutes Hate


Comparing your inside with others' outsides will make you unhappy. It's important to learn not to do that, because it can happen in offline situations too.

Deleting Facebook etc. is not the solution; it seems like the author threw out the baby with the bathwater here.

Facebook is entirely designed around this, being used by facebook without falling to this would mean an incredible mental load and fatigue that would take a toll on your ability to properly function through the day.

getting rid of facebook is the right move here.

I too have felt the benefit of complete social isolation.

I'm getting quite sick of reading these blanket templated "I stopped using X and I feel great!" blog posts.

Don't get me wrong, having more freedoms is an extraordinary thing. But everything has a valid use-case, including Facebook. Blanket deleting social media at this point just feels like a cheap-shot to get clicks and overshadows the more realistic benefits such as reconnecting with old friends, talking to tech illiterate family members, etc.

I treat my FB and other accounts just like any other inbox.

And that's the rub: all of these things can be replaced with email.

Email - plain old text - can carry just as much info as all the web things, to my eyes - and, doesn't allow for much emerald-king manipulation behind the mirrors and smoke, either.

If only my friends and family all understood how to use email properly, in the first place.

Because this writing skill has been supplanted by software-usage skills. Why learn to top/quote/bottom, or properly cite text, or contract a useful file-archive and include URL's .. when this 'is what the computer is for' ..

Seriously though, I could radically reduce my social sphere down to the people I know can handle email etiquette and methodology well enough, and I won't need any other third-party service. Even my pizza guy can handle an email.

However, literacy being what it is, people don't have time or motivation to become proficient in email, as a tool. Its far easier just to swipe and touch things to share information, apparently .. perhaps the time has come for me to finally write an email client, hmm ..

I got off Facebook 1.5 years ago as well. Removed my special Facebook browser I used (removed the app long ago) and at first it was weird as I was used to hitting it, whenever I had a few minutes of nothing. But after a week or so it felt great. Less screen time, less mental burden from seeing "stupid" posts, less useless discussions, ...

Couldn't get of WhatsApp, yet, as it's too often the default for friends and family.

I lived in a foreign country recently and Facebook groups were far and away the most important tool I had for meeting people and establishing myself. WhatsApp was the dominate form of communicating with people who lived there. And Instagram was the primary way I kept in touch with my closest friends on other continents.

These things are useful, and just because they can be misused does not make them any less useful.

No doubts that there are uses. Travelling Indonesia WhatsApp was a must (due to free basics / internet.org they were most reliable communication with local Services) and now in Corona lockdowns many shops here in Germany don't update their website, but Facebook with current opening times and offers.

However I spent way too much time on it and Facebook is way to hungry for personal data.

Removing Facebook from my life was the best thing I’ve ever done and I don’t feel I miss anything. Also, will never use any app or service that requires a social account.

Facebook was very easy to get reed of in fact. IG I was hesitant, since I like photography. It was obvious though quickly after it was bought that it had quickly become a narcissistic sewage and nothing to do with photography.

I'm in a similar boat to the author and have also recently deleted my Facebook and Instagram account - although I'll note that the sneaky "to be deleted" state is now 30 days instead of just 7.

But, similar to the author, I'm having more difficulty getting rid of WhatsApp. This is my primary means of communicating with friends and family all over the world. And for some of them I know it's just not an option to try get them to switch to another platform, especially since I'm not sure which is the better platform. In my opinion, WhatsApp strikes the perfect balance of security and usability. Telegram makes me nervous due to the Russian roots and the numerous security concerns I've read online. Signal is overly secure to the point that usability for regular folk suffers (I've personally had terrible experience with their support after losing a bunch of SMS messages.) Matrix, Riot, MatterMost, and many other opensource apps all look good but not overly user-friendly for novices.

What else is there?

The fun part is that whatsapp is actually preventing people like from communicating with friends and family.

My phone happens to a smartphone that's not running windows/apple/google so whatsapp never bother to release for this phone. Whatsapp being a walled garden it prevents everyone from the outside from reaching people jailed inside.

As you do not have a data plan, I have no internet access with this pocket computer we use as telephone.

Whatsapp is utterly pointless and useless to me, and coherent with facebook way of doing things it actively prevents me from contacting other people, which is shocking to me who grew accustomed to thing like email, jabber or sms .

The amount of people without a "Microsoft/Apple/Google smartphone" (ie. not running iOS, Android, or Windows Phone [sic]) is very low in absolute and relative numbers. You might run say Sailfish OS, they have an Android emulator. Backwards compatibility is extremely important in the software ecosystem.

Durov (Telegram) had a fallout with Russian government elite who raided his business and now lives in exile in UK (last time I checked). He has no direct links to KGB. Indirect - who knows.

Why would anyone want to get rid of Whastapp.

Because facebook.

Also security issues, lack of privacy, lack of proper encryption, censorship, etc. among a long trail of reasons.

Also whatsapp founder quitting and leaving 850millions dollars on the table doing so over the way facebook makes money out of whatsapp and for th way facebook made him mislead the european commission to have them green light the sale of whatsapp to facebook. He also called repeatedly for people to get rid of Facebook services.

for exemple this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WhatsApp_snooping_scandal and this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reception_and_criticism_of_Wha...

whatsApp is end-to-end encrypted and has better encryption than most secure messaging (cough telegram). So stop spreading FUD.

It's also not related to the Facebook app so it makes no sense.

Only because Facebook owns WhatsApp and people who dislike Facebook as a company do not want to use any of their products.

I deleted them, but eventually I made new accounts. Sometimes I just really need to get in touch with someone via Facebook or Instagram, though not many WhatsApp users in my sphere.

I hardly ever use them, but sometimes it comes in handy.

For example, at least twice I found someone's wallet or ID and was able to contact them quickly using Facebook, because their name was the same.

I've been off Facebook for many years now. I deleted my account when I found myself typing "f" into my browser. Facebook dropdown, select and lose time scrolling feeds.

I never got into instagram. As an american expat I find whatsapp convenient to contact my family overseas using their day-to-day telephone.

I never made a Facebook account. These problems seemed quite apparent to me from the get go. Fundamentally, handing over control to your data and connections just seemed like a bad idea with tons of potential for misuse, even if it was well intentioned.

Anybody else never really joined social media?

Could you explain how does having FB account hand over control to your connections?

1. What's the source of truth for your contact list now?

2. Do you have backups? Can you make them?

3. What guarantees for consistency have you?

4. How do you know handing over such private info will never be abused? Did you hand out your contact list before to third parties?

5. How do you control the spread of your contact info?


I understand the motivations behind deleting Facebook and Instagram, but switching messaging platforms is really not as easy as how the article made it look like.

When most people in your circle are on WhatsApp, you're tied to it as well. Sometimes even your bosses and colleagues need to reach you with that. Also if you just delete the account for Telegram there's less motivation for friends to reach you to just catch up because they don't use Telegram. Sure your best friends and family will reach you through whatever platform but that's about it. You lose friends. Some are ok with that but others should be aware of what switching messaging platforms costs.

Good for OP - I hope more people will do that. There used to be a saying on the Internet, "Don't feed the trolls", but FB is breathing life into the very worst edges of the human experience imaginable. I hope that enough people leave the service that this activity will end (or at least diminish). I tried to delete FB a while ago. However, I still need an account for professional reasons, so had to open a new one. This time, I blocked all requests from people to avoid the negativity in my stream. Instead it's only groups and page traffic that I need to see and that's worked out pretty well.

Great summary of Facebook newsfeed, loved it! I've also deleted facebook and instagram over a year ago and don't miss them at all. I do keep use WhatsApp though as there aren't that many people using Signal yet. I'm wondering, how many people contacted you on Telegram once you messaged them you're deleting WhatsApp. Did anyone make the switch? Or did they find any other means of communication with you - text messaged, emails, etc. I'm wondering how many people I'll stop interacting with if I delete whatsapp.

I only have Facebook (Messenger) because my larger family use it for instant messaging but we are willing to move on.

What's a good alternative that has a web client at least when you are on desktop + you can video call too?

Signal and Matrix/Riot are the best replacement options.

You can pay $10/month for your own Modular.im Matrix server host and use that with your family (it also funds the devs).

They have Jitsi support for video (you can also just use Jitsi stand alone).

I think signal also has video calling, but not sure about group call support.

Both have mobile and desktop apps. Both are encrypted and ad free. Matrix is federated, but modular.im makes setup easy.

I deleted my Facebook account several months ago, I did not merely deactivate it, I did a full deletion. Then about one month ago I got a notification for a Facebook group. I wonder how that works? Either Facebook groups can somehow contact you based on an email address rather than an existing profile, or some other weird shenanigans are going on that reflect the account was never actually deleted and some bug somewhere managed to still get a notification to me.

One evening, I deleted my Reddit account when I realized I was angry responding to some insignificant comment.

I also realized that the hundred thousands points I had mean exactly nothing.

It was a relief beyond what I expected.

I created a new account for the only sake to ask questions on the tech subreds which are of interest. I do not read r/all and other similar trash subreds

Also stop (or reduce) following the news and online aggregators of news (like reddit, HN, etc.). You'll feel even better and freer.

Deleting an account is giving up control over that. Keep the account just never log in. Better yet, add a few GBs of noise.

I did the same thing a couple of weeks ago. Social media platforms have turned into a disease.


> Social media platforms have turned into a disease

To be honest, OP deleted only Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram accounts (all Facebook family), but NOT Twitter[0]

[0] https://twitter.com/shogan85/status/1275924633678684161

I only use facebook these days by systemically unfollowing all my friends. And I mean all, I don't follow anyone. The experience is much better this way, I can sometimes check what my friends have posted, and I am not forced to see all the crap.

I unfollow most pages also. Can recommend testing this method out.

I still have a FB account strictly to do messaging with a certain group of friends. I would feel great about browsing FB too if it didn't feel so much like I was contributing to the downfall of modern society.

Try using Signal side by side with telegram. Telegram has more features but it works the same way as whatsapp. On the other hand signal is trying its best to provide privacy which whatsapp and telegram never do

I think you're being a little harsh on WhatsApp. Although I use Signal personally, I consider WhatsApp to be a good middle. It has more users and features than Signal but also much better privacy than Telegram.

My routine includes what I call Facebookless Friday. That is, no FB from Thur pm to Sat am. It's liberating.

I'm in the process of adding a day on each end. Or perhaps going *less Mon, Wed and Fri.

Unfollowing all news sources on Facebook has improved the experience for me. I would see an article, and before long be reading comments from white supremacists and/or SJWs.

Yep, Facebook in my day (I deleted it in 2014), was a lot better. It was just people saying what they did, sharing photos. It seemed a lot less political. And companies weren't fully onboard yet in using their ad campaigns, and politicians weren't either.

And perhaps too bad actors weren't involved.

Facebook has not changed a bit, it was a glorified birthday reminder capturing as much personal data as possible and it still is. Well except maybe that at some point it started to aim at replacing the internet on order to keep the investor storytime running, which had the interesting side effect of facebook putting a dictator in power[1].

[1]: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-12-07/how-rodri...

Obviously I meant from an end user perspective.

Behind the scenes FB was nefarious then and now.

The logic for deleting WhatsApp pretty weak and undermines the argument here, especially given the fairly strong encryption WhatsApp uses.

Just remember that while WhatsApp encryption seems really good, they still upload backups of all your conversations unencrypted to Googles servers.

If you trust Google to protect them that is fine. Personally I don't expect Google to fail me in that particular way.

But it also means any E2E-encryption argument from WhatsApp goes out the window.

it all depends on how do you maintain relations.

Living abroad, having a few friends and contact locally but a lot of connections non easily reachable physically makes the shutdown of FB, WA or IG hard, especially when most of your contacts uses ONLY the aforementioned platforms and nothing else.

That means killing your connections and cut bridges with people.

I have accounts on many platforms, including those 3. If you feel like you can't give something up, that's a good reason to spend a few weeks breaking the addiction.

When I did that for BBC News and 9gag, I decided that I didn't want to go back to reading those sites (although I do click through sometimes from HN).

I still use Facebook messages through mbasic.facebook.com on an old phone. I don't use 3G (or 4G or 5G), but read books on my phone or offline Wikipedia when on the bus. The news feed never interested me; it was all about having contact Lists, organising Events, and discussing topics in common-interest Groups.

WhatsApp won't work on my old iOS 6, so I use it on Bluestacks and check it only when needed. The group chats on there would drive me crazy if they actually made notifications on my phone. Instagram seems to be full of pretty girls and memes, which I guess isn't that different to 9gag in some ways.

Instead of complaining about data being sold, why don't we try to build a better social network? CouchSurfing put up a paywall. The community is moving en-masse to BeWelcome, a donation-funded, volunteer-driven, open-source, ad-free platform.

The BeWelcome site is managed under a French non-profit, BeVolunteer: the same structure as Wikipedia and Wikimedia. I think that other projects could be part of the same organisation. Why stop at hospitality exchange? I think that if BeWelcome can get critical mass, a related site could then break into mainstream social networking.

Felt great, yet still needs to post publicly on 3rd party sites to attract attention: Sure thing.

I did the same and have never felt better. I just replaced the addiction with twitter. Oh well

WhatsApp is indeed a sticky one, but I manage to replace it with Signal.

I never had WhatsApp or Instagram. I have Facebook for historical reasons that I searched a job more than a decode ago when Facebook was a thing. I have not logged in since January, so for some 5 months now. I think my record is 9 months without logging in.

Forgot to mention: occasionally I spend too much time writing trivial HN comments, which don't make me a better programmer.

Enjoy your honeymoon

I never had any of them and feel great! No LinkedIn either!



False equivalence. Images and written text have different effects on the brain and emotions. You follow famous people on social media, who have 1,000x your wealth, travel all the time, get adequate sleep, meals, and exercise -- and it can chip away at your self-worth in a way books just can't.

If someone else's good fortune makes you feel bad, this is a problem with you that you need to remedy in yourself, not a problem with the fact that other people have good fortune.

Sorry, editing to clarify because this sounds unnecessarily combative. What I mean is your self-worth should not be externally determined by where you stand in some (mostly imaginary) ranking system compared to random strangers or celebrities, thus it should not be chipped away at by seeing anyone doing better than you in some aspect. This is a crucial skill to learn. You don't have to let your mood and self-worth to be subject to random vagaries of whatever you happen to be looking at at the moment.

Sure, if you are a self-sufficient adult with health and your life more or less in order. But these apps dont prey on that kind of people.They prey on naive teenagers who still are maturing, they prey on technologically clueless senior (and not so senior) citizens who believe everything that is on the Internet, they prey on people disenfranchised, the losers in the dating game in the job market. The mental health damage to those kind of populations is huge.

No, you don't have to wait for everything else in your life to be perfectly arranged in order to take charge of your own feeling of self worth. In fact doing so makes it far less likely that it will ever happen.

This trend of telling people that they are helpless victims of their circumstances comes from a place of compassion, but it is ultimately causing more harm than good. Yes, some things that happen to you, beyond your control, may put you at a disadvantage compared to others. This is not usually insurmountable, and it does not mean that you aren't capable of overcoming it.

Yes pal, let's stop giving preferential treatment to senior citizens, pregnant women, people with disabilities, let all those bastards learn to fend for themselves. The damagce caused by ADA must be estimated in the billions. Lets remove also sex education, those pesky pre-teenagers should learn about how the world works just by their own. Were you fired, lost your insurance and now have cancer? Tough luck. Are you a bipolar person? Just be happy. Were you raped? Bad things happen, just forget it.

You're awfully quick to jump to living in an every-person-for-themself Mad-Max style dystopia. That is a ridiculous straw man.

You can offer sex ed classes, it is up to the kids to pay attention and apply what they teach. Nobody else can learn something for you. You can offer cancer treatments, but people have to show up and stick with them. You can offer therapy and medication, but people still have to go to the therapy and take the meds.

If every time something goes wrong for you, everyone tells you that hey, "there's nothing you could have done", "of course it doesn't work out for you because of X circumstance in your life". Maybe it feels like you're being kind, but you're just robbing them of agency and telling them that they are doomed no matter what. Is your goal to actually make people's lives better, or to make yourself feel better by adhering to some "good person" script?

This is incredibly callous and ignorant. Anyone who isn't a sociopath is subject to their emotions being manipulated by the content they view. Puppies make them happy. Dead people make them sad. Same with basically anything in between (but harder to measure small effects). The reason to stop browsing curated feeds designed to deliver advertisements is because these will effect you, and they are likely doing so in a way that is not in your best interest.

aka How I become hermit

good luck deleting Whatsapp (and Messenger) in Europe, you essentialy cut yourself from most of the communication

also replacing Whatsapp with E2E Signal encryption by default with unsafe Telegram with no encryption by default and even optional with questionable quality doesn't seem like very clever choice, I would have expected switch to Signal, Riot etc. instead notgoriously unsafe service, which doesn't even provide videocalls

> Telegram is by far a superior product to WhatsApp.

For one simple reason: bots.

One of my Raspberry Pi projects is a bot to delete from the family group any post containing the name of politicians. This wiped out political flame-wars and fake news.

It is very easy to make Telegram bots. You basically create a website, register it in a dynamic dns, add an ssh certificate (letsencrypt or your own) and add it to your group.

Genius. How large and active is that group chat?

Not too big, about 50 people.

It is not a perfect solution, sometimes people send images with political memes. For these I made another bot that temporarily puts the offender under quarantine.

Also, remember to use regular expressions to filter out common letter substituions. So, in Brazil, to filter out our very stupid president (Bolsonaro) I use: b[0o][1l][5s][0o]n[a4]r[0o]

>>family group

>Not too big, about 50 people.

Your country has a different definition of "big family" than mine :)

My family WhatsApp is 5 people.

I don't understand these naive do gooders who want everyone to delete their social media. "I did it and I feel better!" Really, how much more self-centered can you get?

I'm a retiree. My kids and family are scattered. Social media is an important part of maintaining family cohesion and my role in the family. I've reconnected with old friends that I otherwise would have lost forever. Deleting social media would impoverish my life and drastically increase my loneliness and isolation.

Do gooders: give it a rest.

So everyone in your family should be beholden to a for-profit data scraping company and advertising platform? How about use old fashioned ways to keep in touch with your family like phone calls and letters. Text pictures via a group text.

Facebook can decrease family cohesion and alienate family members as well. I stopped posting on there and stopped logging into my accounts after too many Fox news brainwashed great aunts and uncles ranted about how minorities should get out of the country or the NFL should ban black players who kneeled.

If you're lonely and isolated, consider moving closer to family and interacting with them in real life instead of expecting your family to sacrifice their data privacy to make Mark Zuckerberg more rich.

Facebook is free. It is understood that we provide clues about ourselves for advertisers as a way to keep it free. Facebook is convenient. You're seriously suggesting in 2020 that my nieces and nephews correspond with me by letter? That's pretty hilarious actually. I can't move closer because I can't be in 10 locations at once. My family gets along. We agree not to talk about politics. It works for us. I'm sorry about your family.

Our family gets along too, I don't know why you're trying to imply we don't? We're all far flung and have an annual cousins party at the lake. My 13 nieces and nephews aren't on facebook because it's for "the olds." Some of them have instagrams but they have multiple accounts and different "finstas" - candid fake accounts they only share with certain friends etc and delete and remake new accounts with friends etc constantly. They're also on TikTok lately but generally will text the funny ones not through the ap. We have a family group text and send photos. I send them snail mail bday cards with cash in them, sometimes they write back and sometimes they'll call and say thank you or text etc.

Group text is free too in case any of your family members have ethical reasons why they don't want to be on facebook or want to get off it to improve their mental health.

I'm sorry about your loneliness and isolation. I agree that Facebook is convenient and free but imo not worth the time sink. Cheers.

> Our family gets along too, I don't know why you're trying to imply we don't?

> Facebook can decrease family cohesion and alienate family members as well. I stopped posting on there and stopped logging into my accounts after too many Fox news brainwashed great aunts and uncles ranted about how minorities should get out of the country or the NFL should ban black players who kneeled.

I still have no explanation as to why people hate Facebook, the advertising system (do they also hate TV and magazines?) and in particular the idea that Zuckerberg is making money

One word of warning about this approach: it becomes one in a set of red flags about you if you are ever being investigated by any entity at the national level. Not having a facebook is viewed as an outlier, and hence will contribute to some unknown weight of your other red flags that once triggered will put you into national security letter, warrant-less wiretap type areas. Beyond that, facebook retains shadow profiles on people even if they don't have accounts, or have deleted their accounts...

...so my suggestion is to keep the account but start clearing the data out and poisoning it. Be especially careful about the IP's you log into it from (and randomize that MAC!).

> One word of warning about this approach: it becomes one in a set of red flags about you if you are ever being investigated by any entity at the national level. Not having a facebook is viewed as an outlier...

Isn't that all the more reason to do it, though? The more people who delete it or don't have accounts, the more normalized it will become to not have social media profiles.

Thats quite a good point I hadn't thought of, to be frank. You may be on to something there.

If you ever warrant an investigation by a nation-state, then having or not having a Facebook will be a tiny piece of your OpSec.

Security is about layers, and these days you don't know private entities aren't abusing nation-state capabilities and databases... beyond that, I disagree. Especially in this current state of things with things like protests going on, it's naive to think the same cointelpro tactics aren't being applied to protestors and even those just associated with them in the social graph (like they were to occupy). Fus1on centers for one do this sort of thing unconstitutionally and have access to most of the same databases besides being regional.

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