Since the story about Cambridge Analytica’s abuse of Facebook data broke, many users have been deleting their profiles. Celebrities such as Elon Musk, Brian Acton and Jim Carrey have also jumped on the bandwagon and are encouraging others to follow suit.
Is it that easy to quit Facebook? The short answer is: no.
It’s not that easy because, naively, we forget how deeply Facebook is rooted in our society and how we use many of the services it provides every day. If you search on Google for “alternative to Facebook” the first result (no it isn’t Google+) is an article by WIRED recommending a total of seven different apps to replace what Facebook does. If you want to move away from ‘the’ social network, you may need to find a replacement to cover the following:
We could also add ‘Pictures’ and ‘Live stream’ (WIRED forgot about them apparently) which bring the number of apps or platforms needed to replace Facebook up to a minimum of nine!
Would all Facebook users leave the network to install all these apps? It’s doubtful!
Furthermore, WIRED concludes saying that deleting Facebook won’t
“…change the online digital economy that profits by collecting your personal information and selling it to data brokers. Facebook collects arguably the most private information, but plenty of other popular social networking apps like Snapchat and Twitter collect your data too.”
So what can you do?
Well, the Cambridge Analytica scandal may have created room for new business ventures that take data privacy seriously. The problem is, nobody has created a real alternative to Facebook that offers the same services without giving away user data*.
Why has it not happened yet? Well, because there are more questions than answers at the moment and we wonder if data safety and privacy would be enough to move millions of users away from Facebook. Some considerations:
Getting rid of Facebook is not an easy feat and creating a successful alternative may take years. Not even a dozen Elon Musks are likely to bring down such a deeply engrained piece of social machinery. At the same time, nothing is forever, so we might just have to sit on the dock of the bay to see what will happen.
*You may find some websites advertising single platforms which are supposed to be an alternative to Facebook (read this one) but the truth is, no one offer all Facebook’s services altogether.
by Gianmaria Sisti, Digital Communication Manager
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