Thursday, 27 October 2011

Why I quit Facebook

Facebook, I quit. Why?


Shifting privacy boundaries, opt-out new features and blatant lies about tracking have all but eroded my trust in the service. Here's a recent patent application in which "a method is described for tracking information about the activities of users of a social networking system while on another domain." No thanks Facebook, not when you said about 30 days earlier that you had no interest in this.


Having only committed esoteric or impartial amounts of data to Facebook, its social graphing of me is somewhat skewed. Advertisements have always been irrelevant and ignored, but now my news feed is way off. I don't see the updates I want to from the friends I'm closest to. For me, the algorithm is not working.

UX issues

Timeline, ticker, messages, feed all changed for the considerably worse. Feedback loops, required ctrl refresh moments, UI confusion - all happens too often.

User habits

Pointless event invites, mass-mails, photo-tagging as attention attracting. Yep, some of the users - my friends - ruined it for everyone else. I'm also aware that I might be ruining it for others too - the ability to filter/block/unfriend is not transparent enough, not easy enough. I want my networking to be guilt free.

Groups, filters and lists

Introduced too late - my social, professional and family networks cannot be simplified in a way that would make the service easier for me to use. Retroactive grouping way too time-consuming.


Like all internet services, Facebook is often a balance between giving up data in return for something in return that is aggregated, accurate and insightful. The pay-off between surrendering data and getting something useful in return is too small in this case. This is the new law of diminishing data returns. The more I give you, the less safe I become, the less useful your service is to me.

In the meantime you can find me over at LinkedIn and my two twitter accounts, one for journalism and media updates, and one for more personal or music orientated thoughts. Or write me a postcard.

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