I opened my Facebook account in 2007. At the time, I was deemed a bit of a late-comer to the system and for a long time I resisted. I had Twitter for friends far away, I saw my local friends every few days back then. I think I even still had a MySpace page. But Facebook was where everything was happening so I joined.
Since then, I've been slowly giving them data. 12 years of thoughts, photos, locations, likes. Facebook probably knows me better than most of my friends.
The whole Cambridge Analytica scandal sparked a desire to move away from Facebook last year. It's not the first time some report of Facebook doing something shady has got me thinking about leaving, but until now I've never really attacked it with much resolve.
Back to last year, I removed the app from my phone and tried to limit myself to logging in every couple of days to check notifications. As time went by, I was getting drawn in once again. A weird sense of missing out would come over me and then after scrolling for a couple of minutes, I'd realise I'm just scrolling through as a form of habit rather than finding any use or joy from it.
This happened a couple of times over the last year. I'd leave for a while and get pulled back in. I noticed myself falling back into this pattern again recently and decided enough was enough. I thought about what useful features Facebook offers me that other services don't and only a couple of things came to mind: Messenger and Birthdays.
I spent an hour going through the birthdays calendar and marking them down in my personal calendar on my phone so now there should be nothing to draw me back in.
Disabled... for now
I've held off deleting until I'm 100% I've not missed anything and also, whether I like it or not, I still need Messenger to stay in touch with certain people. I'm still locked in the Facebook grip with Instagram and WhatsApp but those two services don't suck up all my time and I get a lot more out of them.
In the past, I've tried to get friends to move from WhatsApp to something like Telegram but it's a mammoth challenge. If you can manage to convince your friends, they then have to convince all their friends and on it goes. It's practically impossible when people are so locked in.
Maybe one day I'll break totally free of Zuck but this'll have to do for now...