I estimate that over the last 3 years, I’ve collectively saved around 2920 hours of time that would have otherwise been spent mindless scrolling through mostly uninteresting content.
The human problem
It started with an urge to delete Facebook around 3 years ago.
I had noticed how Facebook was mostly just a highly filtered stream of content. Everyone’s happy thoughts and high moments in life, delivered to me in an algorithmically curated form.
I was part of the problem too. I posted things I was proud of, or the happy moments in my life. Very rarely anything else.
Facebook is for the most part, just a small, narrowly defined window into people’s lives.
We see the full picture of our own lives, but end up comparing what we have to this small, ‘happy’ slither of other people’s lives.
For those who don’t notice this unfair comparison, it can lead to moments of envy, anger, or even depression.
Don’t forget about the fake news, agendas, and other drivel that is posted around Facebook either. Scrolling through this kind of stuff on a daily basis will numb the mind and lead to one becoming complacant and perhaps even completely mislead.
One only has to look at how entire countries have been divided and swayed by lies posted to social media platforms to see how poisonous they can be.
The poison runs broad and deep on these platforms. There are many bad actors that wreak havoc, from state sponsored, to criminals and scam artists. They all have agendas to propagate, or nefarious goals to accomplish.
The data problem
The number one question to ask yourself whenever signing up for a ‘free’ account of any type is “Why is this free?“
A free product, is not really free. There is always a catch. In the case of Facebook, you are paying with your own data.
Your own private life, details, habits, information and more is being collected in the background and used to make money for Facebook. They sell your data, and you pay with your privacy.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, the urge to delete Facebook began around 3 years ago. It took me year of thinking about it before I took the plunge.
I exported all of my data as a .zip file, and uploaded it to some encrypted cloud storage for safe keeping.
Then I logged in, went to my account settings and requested that my account and data be deleted.
Facebook leaves your account in a ‘to be deleted’ state. They say that if you login again in the next week or so, it’ll automatically be re-enabled. This is a sneaky attempt at catching people out who have a habit of using Facebook on a daily basis.
I was diligent, and after a week or so my account was permanently deleted. Good riddance.
Next up was Instagram. Facebook owns a bunch of products of course, Instagram being one of them. My Instagram account had been up and running from when the product had first launched, and was not a part of the Facebook group, but now that it was owned by Facebook, it had to go too.
The same reasons apply as I listed them above for Facebook.
Instagram was the easy one to delete, I didn’t really interact on the platform, and had just kept a bunch of interesting photos on my account. On a rare occasion I would browse through photos that others posted and that was about it.
The account was purged from my life with little fuss or care. More time cumulated over years to come for me to use on more useful endeavours!
Killing WhatsApp with fire
WhatsApp hung around for a long time. This one was more difficult to get rid of. I had my family contacts and many friends on WhatsApp, and it had become my primary messaging platform.
I started using Telegram alongside WhatsApp and convinced quite a few friends to join.
Telegram is by far a superior product to WhatsApp. I’m not convinced it’s perfect, (hey it’s free too). But at least it’s not in the hands of a massive entity like Facebook. Less power to monopolies is a good thing.
About 9 months or so ago, I sent out a message to most of my WhatsApp contacts telling them I was deleting my account and telling them where to find me on Telegram if they joined there.
Shortly afterwards I deleted my WhatsApp account and have not looked back since.
Telegram offers far superior group chat options, more chat features, bots, and more. I’ve been very happy with it as a replacement for WhatsApp.
Post Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram
I really feel happier without these three apps in my life. Facebook was a time sink, where I wasted time that could have been better used directly interacting with family and friends, or working on hobbies.
Instagram wasn’t too much of an issue, but there was (as with the others) the problem with my data being sold off.
WhatsApp was useful for messaging, but Telegram replaced that and gave me way more useful features.
I feel happier knowing that my data from WhatsApp is no longer up for sale, even though it was of course just a blip in a massive ocean of data.
I estimate that over the last 3 years, I’ve collectively saved around 2920 hours of time that would have otherwise been spent mindless scrolling through mostly uninteresting content. Simply as a result of me having deleted my Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram accounts.
That’s 121 days of my life I have had available to use on better things already.
So that is the story of how I deleted my Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram accounts.
I encourage everyone reading this to take the plunge and delete your social media accounts wherever possible. Whether it be to save time in your lives, or to stop allowing your private data to be sold, you’ll be happier for it.
This is post #3 in my effort towards 100DaysToOffload.