Should You Follow Cher and Delete Your Facebook?

In one day alone, Playboy, Elon Musk-run companies Tesla and SpaceX, Mozilla, and even Cher have deleted their Facebook accounts — and those aren’t even half the names on the list. After news broke last Friday that Cambridge Analytica, a political-data firm affiliated with the Trump campaign, had harvested data from 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge or consent, the #DeleteFacebook movement is going strong.

Four days after Facebook announced via blog post that it had suspended Cambridge Analytica from using their platform, #DeleteFacebook had already been mentioned 40,000 times, the New York Times reported. Playboy made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday. “For years, it has been difficult for Playboy to express our values on Facebook due to its strict content and policy guidelines.” the statement said. “Playboy has always stood for personal freedom and the celebration of sex. Today we take another step in that ongoing fight.”

Even Will Ferrell got in on the action. “I can no longer, in good conscience, use the services of a company that allowed the spread of propaganda and directly aimed it at those most vulnerable,” he said in a Facebook post. “I love my fans and hope to further interact with them through my comedy via the mediums of film and television.”

So the question is, should you follow Cher and Will Ferrell and Playboy and delete your Facebook? The platform may be increasingly unpopular among young people anyhow, but I’m thinking of the years of photos that I wouldn’t want to risk losing. One Slate writer said that the #DeleteFacebook trend “insults those who don’t have the privilege of leaving.” This means, whether for social reasons (losing touch with friends or promoting an event) or business reasons, where you can gain at least some exposure without paying for ads on radio and television, it can be easier said than done to leave entirely.

“Your business could have trouble reaching customers; your family might not gather on another social network; no one posts any events anywhere else,” April Glaser writers. “All of which means that leaving Facebook simply doesn’t make sense for many people. It’s a network effect, a kind of natural monopoly; migrating to another social network would only work if enough people migrate there, too.” There’s also the argument that other social networks don’t exactly have clean hands either: Instagram is owned by Facebook, of course, and Twitter was also called out for their bot army during the election.

If you’re not ready to say bye to Facebook, but you want to make it a less dangerous presence, a Bloomberg article had a few good suggestions. Log out each time you use Facebook. Don’t click “like” on other sites in order to avoid sharing data with Facebook about what you’re doing. Fix your privacy settings to, essentially, the most private options possible (for example, making sure your posts are limited to “Only friends”), and edit out as much personal information as possible, such as what music or books you like. Last but not least, the article says to delete the people on your friends list who aren’t actually connected to you anymore.

So, in the event that you’re not willing to join Cher, you can still participate in the rebellion in some small way.

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