Quitting the Media, Part IV, Making Use of Facebook’s Delete Delay
(Click here for the ‘Quitting the Media’ series so far, with some ‘Confessions of a Former Liberal’ episodes included)
Dealing with “the media” (or maybe the media industrial complex) is an ongoing problem/issue/challenge. I’ve written before about quitting MSM (mainstream media), which here is NZ means NZ Herald, Stuff, TVNZ News, commercial radio news, and now also The Spinoff. I still like Newsroom, and I’ve kept on looking at Radio New Zealand News, but as “a former liberal”, that’s getting harder and harder. RNZ, for example, is increasingly open-throating the worst of the (neo) liberal (I’m talking about social, not economic neoliberalism) Kool-Aid, for example, it has bought into erasing women from the discussion of reproductive rights (aka “pregnant people”). And Scoop actually deleted, aka censored, a gender critical feminist. Sure, you’d expect this from MSM, but Scoop alleged it was independent. Truly independent. I actually am a bit of a free-speech absolutist, appreciating this is not state censorship, but nevertheless, it’s problematic for an outlet that promotes itself the way Scoop does.
Digression: Another post I’d love to write, but am probably too lazy, is how interesting it is that new and/or old radical economic ideas — like serious redistribution of wealth, say, or universal guaranteed income, or, even socialised dentistry — remain pretty much ignored, if not relegated to kook-land by MSM including outlets like RNZ.
But the rise of “identity politics” (for want of a better cliche) gets coverage up the wazoo. Which might tell you a lot of things, not least of which is that “identity politics” is not that radical and not a threat to the economic order, which is what really needs threatening. Looks like we can change gender ID laws no problem, but open up abortion access, not so much. End of digression.
Anyway, as well as getting off “news media”, I’ve been a serial deleter of my Facebook account over the years, really wanting to be free of — let me not list all the things I don’t want to see or read about — but finding myself forced back on because of things like classes that have FB pages and share study material thereon; groups I’m in that only communicate via FB. Unlike Twitter, where you can not have an account but still look at stuff (on the rare occasion you might want to), FB is closed to outsiders.
For ages, I thought the way FB made it really hard to quit was totally obnoxious. If you manage to find out where to go to delete your account (from memory, it’s ‘settings,’ ->
manage your account… ‘your Facebook information’), it won’t actually be taken down for 30 days, giving you all that time to weaken. And because this is a bit of an addiction situation, IMHO, it’s hard not to do so.
But I’ve worked out how to use that delayed deletion to my advantage, and this is kind of working for me. That said, I’m someone who had already made a big dent in the FB addiction, even when I had it, not looking more than once a day, sometimes more. (Almost) never ever posting anything myself (haven’t done that in a very long time, and I think I only ever did it after a few glasses of wine!), making sure all the settings were aimed toward my non-visibility. Because all I want FB for is, as noted, getting class info or finding out when the group I’m in is next meeting, kind of thing.
Constant ‘Delete’ Mode
So here’s my protocol. I keep my FB account in constant “deleted but within the 30 days” status. That means logging in once a month just before the 30 days is up, checking the groups, then re-deleting the account, starting the count-down again. This way I AM using it as an outsider, per Twitter. Which is pretty cool actually. It’s not so much work that you couldn’t log in more than once a month and delete it each time. But the slight extra effort involved discourages excessive checking. As in, just another tiny disincentive that might help you get off this drug.
Also, I have obviously deleted any and all FB apps, so only ever do this from a browser on a desktop computer. Best to keep that toxin off your mobile devices! And it’s a relief not to be on Messenger. (When, you might ask, am I taking up residence in that isolated cave? Yeah, any day now actually.)
I’m still planning and hoping eventually to quit FB permanently. It might actually mean leaving some of those groups I’m in. Which might actually be a good thing. And I wonder if over time there will be enough widespread disapproval/loathing of FB that no group worth its salt would want to use that as its only/main means of communicating. I’m there already: I sour on groups that are built around Facebook. (They almost always end up being dominated by a few peeps who… OK, that’s another whiny post.)
So, anyway, being a serial deleter has been great for me. As I’ve mentioned, I think, in previous Quitting the Media posts, it’s a mental and emotional health booster to do so — and all the extra reading I get done, re books, some long-form magazine writing etc. is just fabulous. And, of course, writing silly blog posts like this one.
Oh, yeah, I should briefly mention the ‘deactivate’ option. As far as I can tell (and I couldn’t find anything on the internet on this), a deactivated FB account and a deleted account still in the 30 day waiting period have the same status in terms of one’s FB profile — at least in terms of what people don’t see of you (just search the Net, not using Google, try the engine DuckDuckGo, for details of what deactivating your FB account means.) So yeah, deactivating is a good option, it’s just a suspension that’s open-ended, with no drop-dead date, and you can always log in and un-deactivate, as in, reactivate. So my choosing serial deletion is just a personal psychological quirk, I think. It adds just a tiny bit more of a disincentive to log back on, for me.
But, at this point, I’m way down in the weeds of my own quirkdom. And all this should also be in the category, ‘first-world issues’. But so should most, if not all of, Pohutu’s posts, I guess.
(Updated 28 Nov 2018)