The last straw, though, was privacy. One of our children was having trouble with transitioning to a new school, and began seeing a therapist for anxiety. A couple of months later, the name and photo of the therapist appeared as one of Facebook’s “suggested” friends for me. This therapist was not someone we knew socially, we didn’t have her as an acquaintance in common (to our knowledge) with anyone we knew, and I had not mentioned her on the site. There was no reason Facebook should have made any connection between us and this therapist. It was beyond creepy. I deleted my account that day.
Silver Spring, Md.
As an American citizen who has lived in France for the past 45 years—my husband was French, and I’m now an 82-year-old widow—I have a Facebook account for only one reason: getting my far-flung family news. I do not write anything on Facebook. Every once and a while, I will click on “like.” It’s a mystery to me to learn that people want to, and will, reveal so much of their personal lives to the public!
Since I do know that this platform takes—or, I could say, steals—one’s information to use it for commercial purposes, I disapprove.
St. Rémy, Saône-et-Loire, France
I joined Facebook about 10 years ago, when I was 45.
At first I was a bit bewildered by the technology, but fairly quickly I was able to reach other people I knew in other states and enjoyed a level of access to them I’d never had before. That was, and remains, a lovely thing.
Then I discovered Facebook games, which all required you to add “friends” in order to advance in the game. Eventually I had 3,500 “friends” mostly from these games. That has lost its glitter. The games were a nice distraction but profited me nothing. The “friends” were just clicks in a game.
Then came volatile elections in which all those 3,500 “friends” filled my News Feed with a kitchen-sink soup of mostly unwelcome commentary.
With a tidal wave of social-justice videos, my view of what my country was began to change. I realized over several years’ time that on an international stage, we are no better or worse than the majority of countries out there. That hard, unwelcome, and mostly ugly awakening created a paradigm shift in which I began to question everything around me.
We live our lives in bubbles of our own making or in the pleasant bubbles of others for as long as we can. I think Facebook broke every bubble I had and then some. I removed every friend I had, and changed Facebook to a News Feed composed entirely of interest pages. I am pleased with that change. Now Facebook is full of gardening, cooking, and do-it-yourself posts that I profit by. But all my bubbles are gone. This country has been exposed for what it is and continues to be exposed every day.
Would I do it differently if I could? No. I am wiser and stronger as a result of Facebook. The anger and bitterness at my broken bubbles will pass. I owe Facebook a debt of gratitude for its unwelcome news along with its endless stream of things that make me laugh. After all that, could Facebook do something to make me leave?