Why I Can't Delete Facebook

Illustration for article titled Why I Can't Delete Facebook
Photo: Getty

Ever since Facebook took over the internet, people have gone on about quitting it—why they want to, or how they did, and why you should, too. Maybe you’ve thought about deleting your Facebook, and if you have, congratulations! But I can’t quit Facebook. I can’t because my salsa team depends on me.

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You may be thinking, Hey, Harrison—salsa sounds neat! Why don’t you try WhatsApp, set up a team calendar, or make an old-school Google Group?

I can’t do that. I only joined the team in January and I don’t have enough pull to make them switch from Facebook and Messenger.

You may now be thinking, Harrison, what if you find another salsa team that uses something like Signal, the secure messaging app. No, I like my salsa team, our name is Rumberos de Nieves and we will be performing in New York this summer. Stop by for a show, okay? Great.

More reasonably, you might wonder, why wouldn’t I ask about changing things, if it really means so much to me? What if my fellow salseros hate Facebook, too? I don’t know if they do, but I’ve noticed my teammates use Facebook a whole lot.

Our Facebook group is where rehearsal plans and performance dates get announced. And on Messenger, we share videos and memes and plan surprises for birthdays. It’s where we say if we’re running late, or if we’re going to grab drinks.

At first, I tried passively using our Facebook group and assumed I’d hear most big announcements at rehearsals. I’ve held onto a Facebook account for more than a decade, but for the better part of the last few years, I’ve successfully refrained from using it much. That strategy failed early on in my salsa career. I missed a few reminders about our performance schedule, freaked out, and resolved to dig through Facebook’s web of notifications to make sure I’d see every announcement from our director going forward. I still haven’t figured out all of those settings, so now I keep Messenger and Facebook on my phone and check both regularly. I am but one occasionally rhinestoned man in a sea of 1.45 billion daily active Facebook users.

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The worst—and best—part is, my salseros have made my Facebook feed better. Amid a sea of Fox News posts and personal essays from people I don’t know but somehow friended over the years, my feed is now occasionally fun. My team is full of great people who post goofy shit that I enjoy. Sometimes I scroll through my feed and forget that I hate Facebook. I forget my disdain for Mark Zuckerberg’s terrible, terrible advertising machine.

And there are plenty more reasons why I can’t quit, despite Facebook’s last scandal, its new scandal, or whatever scandal will break tomorrow. Facebook is how I chat with relatives whose phone numbers I’ve lost or never had. It’s where my mom runs her upcycling business. It’s where everyone is. Where everyone I might want to catch up with one day is only a DM away. Where, early on, I dumped photo after photo and post after post. I can’t delete Facebook, even though I want to.

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Why can’t you?

Senior news editor at Gizmodo

DISCUSSION

crbrennan
Spaceknight

This is why the solution is not to regulate FB, but rather to find a way to do what FB does without it needing to be “owned” by any company.

No one says they can’t leave gmail. Because you can easily leave gmail and keep right on emailing. Similarly you can leave a phone company while having SMS, you can leave Windows while having pretty much system you need. That’s because these are generic communication methods, not within FB-to-FB users.

In a way, FB is limited like the old AOL hangouts back in the day, which seems odd we’re stuck with that.

So someone has to make an open-source “status” communication protocol that apps can aggregate into a “newsfeed”. I realize it’d have some hurdles but it can’t really be that hard, right? It’s basically a reading list of blogs you’ve subscribed to, and your own blog going out to your readers.