Avoiding facebook As an advertiser for my games, I like facebook. Its targeting is very easy to use, and very effective. That might sound sinister, in a ‘cambridge analytica‘ way, but I’m not harvesting anything dodgy or being cynical, just showing ads for my PC strategy games to… people who have tagged pc strategy games as interest, and who speak a language my games are translated into, and who live in a country where people tend to buy online games. That works quite well. In theory, I like facebook. What a great way to stay in touch with people! and because I try not to fly much, staying in touch with friends I have in different countries is especially nice. Its cool to see people celebrating cool stuff they are doing, its great to get a different viewpoint on the things happening around the world. So easy to share holiday snaps, or opinions on the latest movie etc. But facebook have fucked it up. I’d happily pay $80 a year to be a ‘member’ or ‘subscriber’ to facebook, but this is not an option. If you can’t see the product, YOU are the product, and we all know that facebook is VERY into collecting data on us, and storing it, and monetizing it. This goes on to an incredibly invasive and sinister degree. TBH I have the same feelings about youtube. Its like I find myself having to think ‘do I REALLY want to watch this video, and have similar videos spammed at me for the next six months?’ every time I click on a youtube thumbnail. I’m all for curating the experience to match my tastes but jeez… back off a little and don’t seem to obsessive and creepy ffs. I’m not a full-on tinfoil hat wearing 9-11 was an inside job conspiracy theorist kind of dude, but I do find it really sinister how much information these tech companies have on me, and their casual approach to letting us know what they are up to. A recent example is avast. Who would have though you couldn’t trust an antivirus company eh?. /sarcasm Oh and the irony… that avast link is a new website with 21 (yes TWENTY ONE) tracking cookies on it…ffs. So I decided recently I had enough of facebook, after being dragged into an argument with a swarm of likely fossil-fuel-company hired shills trying to argue that people were ‘demonizing carbon dioxide’ and that there was a CO2 shortage, and we would kill plants if we stopped emitting it from cars… FFS. (another exciting facebook post everyone needed to see!) I still use facebook for business, and have pages for each of my games, and a bunch of local friends contact me through it (basically people in my village my age or older), so I’m not deleting my profile, but I ditched half my friends, deleted every ‘like’ I could, left every group, and started systematically deleting all my posts. (Facebook makes that close to impossible BTW…and I’m not kidding myself they are really deleted either). BTW one thing that I think is worth mentioning which isn’t conspiracy or liberty-related, but is another good reason to quit facebook, is that it essentially kills conversation. When you meet up, in real-life with your friends, you are drained of any real ‘news’ or opinions. Everybody knows what you have done, where you went, what you did, and how you feel. Why bother? “Hey I went to Boston recently on holiday” “Yes we know. we saw all the videos, and pictures, and check-ins, and status updates…” “…*silence*…” Quitting facebook means I’m *more* keen to see my friends, not less, because we can ‘catch up’. Thats great. I’m as nerdy an introvert-programmer as the next sheldon cooper, but we are still apes, and underneath it all, we still want to physically meet up for our own mental health.