I have a confession to make: I am a bad Facebook user. At least from the Facebook point of view, because they want me – and you – to stay on the platform as long as possible and click as many ads as possible. The way I use Facebook is pretty much the opposite of all this.
I elaborate a bit since my Facebook use is apparently quite a bit different from how most folks play it. Here is my main Bad User framework:
- Ads don’t bother me at all and I never click them – mainly because I never see them
- I tend to almost forget the infamous News Feed, simply because I hardly ever check it
- I do read some posts and even interact a bit within a couple of Facebook groups
- I do use the Facebook Messenger (Light!) app occasionally
- Nope, I do not have the main Facebook app installed in my phone and I never will
Let’s dig deeper on the five points above.
The ads are one of the main sources of revenue for Facebook and targeting users in an extremely granular fashion is the cornerstone of the Facebook marketing offerings. Part of this deal is the constant, global tracking of each and every one of the Facebook users from site to site on the web; another part is a kind of a huge scale social profiling called (you need to scroll down a bit) Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences. I don’t much care for any of this so I block the ads, with some pro help from uBlockOrigin, and also throw a big monkey wrench in the tracking machinery by using PrivacyBadger.
News Feed is all the rage these days, especially since there has recently been some tweaking of the algorithm as a response to the claims that several (bad!) actors have been heavily gaming the system. Well, I mostly ignore the News Feed; I do not consider Facebook a relevant news source and it’s been rare in the past that there has been anything of real value for me in the Feed.
Groups can become tiresome echo chambers but there is also tons of knowledge available and a huge number of experts involved. At its best, Groups is a super cool source of information and a platform for interesting conversations.
Facebook Messenger app – if you can use the ‘light’ version instead of the horribly bloated, standard Messenger – is definitely handy when you need to get in touch with pretty much anyone with an internet connection (you might count out most of the young folks though and definitely the 1.4 billion Chinese). It doesn’t much matter if the person you want to reach belongs to the Google, Apple or Microsoft camp; chances are that you’ll get through anyway.
The main Facebook app is pretty big, sometimes uses tons of bandwidth in the background, adds considerably to the notification spam and might drain the battery of your device. Most probably there is also lots of information gathering going on, on top of everything else, so I sure don’t want to have it in my phone. If I need to check my Facebook account on the phone, I’ll do it by using Firefox which also offers decent privacy protection switched on by default.
That’s it for now from the Bad Facebook User. And hey, feel free to join the not-so-fierce but extremely determined Resistance!