Steps I used to rid myself of Facebook

by Volker Weber

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This is how I left Facebook. It was not as simple as deleting my account, but it allowed me to exit gradually:

  1. Change settings so that nobody can post on my wall (approximately 8 years ago).
  2. Remove everything I ever posted. There are scripts that do that for you. Facebook does not have (or did not have) a bulk delete option. I don't kid myself, that Facebook would ever delete anything at all, but my profile was empty after several rounds (about 5 years ago).
  3. Set my birthdate to January 1, 1904. Still got greetings from "friends".
  4. Do not post (about 5 years ago)
  5. Do not comment. (2017)
  6. Do not like. (2017)
  7. Remove myself from all groups. (Early 2018)
  8. Remove all apps made by Facebook from all devices. (Early 2018)
  9. No longer login to any Facebook service in any browser. (Three months ago).

Facebook does not really care if I am logged in. I first had to cleanse all browsers from everything related to Facebook or Instagram until I was able to follow public links to pictures on Instagram. Instagram would always pressure me into accepting their updated terms and conditions, which I never did. That is how I discover today whether there are still traces of my IDs in a browser I use.

If you no longer post, comment or like on Facebook, you are off the needle. It no longer drags you in. You may still check it once in a while, but not longer every single hour. Then Facebook gets desperate and tries to make you "engage" and throws even weirder stuff at you to make you come back. That will make the exit quite easy.

Of course you can also just delete your account (or never sign up in the first place). It's a drug that fools your brain. Once you are off, everything will be better.

Comments

I did remove all apps from my devices and therefore only login from time to time.
Wouldn't go the all way out thing as sometimes interesting stuff from friends still happen there.
But I might check on your cleaning history tips when I find the time.

Patrick Bohr, 2018-07-23

The only thing that keeps me from going through with your plan all to the end is the fear that I might lose contact to all my friends and aquaintances in the US and UK. So I am stuck somewhere between step 7 and 8. I still log in once every 3 months or so, answer all Messages and leave again.

Johannes Matzke, 2018-07-23

I stopped posting more than 8 months ago (having posted almost daily for years). After 4 months, a colleague mentioned it in a RL conversation. Other than that, nobody noticed or cared. Or maybe FB is indeed dying.
With some effort, I probably could stop liking and replying - but knowing about people's stuff still provides the illusion of human interaction. If I were to remove the account, how would the few hundred people I know (continue to) not contact me ? ;-)

Jan Van Puyvelde, 2018-07-23

I thought about deleting my account for a few years now. When the Cambridge Analytica scandal hit and your posts on deleting Facebook data increased in numbers, I finally found the courage to delete both my Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Regarding the fear of losing touch: Before doing so, I messaged all my Facebook friends with my contact details. Those you want to stay in touch, will do so through other channels, the rest... well...

I never looked back and love being freed of Facebook. So thank you for the encouragement Volker!

Axel Borschbach, 2018-07-23

Took the radical route and deleted the FB account. WhattsApp and Insta still there.
Overall, not missing it.
What I still find difficult is to discover special events or gatherings (mostly around things I am interested in) which I am not aware of. It often feels like most of this is only posted on Facebook anymore.
Curious is there any good solution for this...?

Jens Nullmeyer, 2018-07-23

Was in Darmstadt passiert, steht hier https://www.p-stadtkultur.de und da https://twitter.com/Stadt_Darmstadt

Volker Weber, 2018-07-23

My experience: 100 % as Axel‘s. „Regarding the fear of losing touch: Before doing so, I Message all my Facebook friends with my contact details. Those you want to stay in touch, will do so through other channels, the rest... well...“
Exactly. Not missing anything since.

Stephan Perthes, 2018-07-23

I deleted my FB account completely a month or two ago. Not missing it (after the first couple of weeks without it), and find out about what's going on, as vowe indicated, via twitter and the local town hall's info on the web.

John Keys, 2018-07-23

Volker, maybe your blog is a drug as well? I read over 15.000 posts on your website and can not get off the needle. Any advice?

Felix Binsack, 2018-07-23

Start paying for it.

Volker Weber, 2018-07-24

Done that :-)

Felix Binsack, 2018-07-24

For me I found it pretty much sufficient to turn of the notifications for all of the FB apps (except for WhatsApp, which I still need for some contacts who are too lazy to also use Signal) on my phone. And I'm still posting and liking and I still like it.

Thomas Cloer, 2018-07-24

Felix, may not work the first time. :-)

Thomas, that is pretty much what every smoker says.

Volker Weber, 2018-07-24

I quit smoking 4.5 yrs ago. And honestly, I don't feel addicted to FB. I need an account for business purposes anyway.

Thomas Cloer, 2018-07-24

Needed to compose you a very little word to thank you yet again regarding the nice suggestions you’ve contributed here.

prathinan seshanth, 2018-08-11

@Thomas: I'd actually like to know if you felt addicted a few years before you quit smoking. I've never smoked or had any other addiction, so I'd really care if you could tell.

Nina Wittich, 2018-08-13

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