Facebook - the social network that started in early 2000 is the only platform that's available for us if you want to be on a social network. Over the years, Facebook has added two more apps that dominates our lives; WhatsApp and Instagram. Now after 20 years, its a good time to look back and take stock of the situation on where I came from, where I am now, and what I want.
Facebook was not the first social network, its Friendster. But Facebook clearly ate or defeated all other apps along the way and become the dominant and only player in this space. When I started being on Facebook, I was among those who accepted all friend requests whether I know the person, I might have seen the person, or its a friend's friend or what not. Fast forward today, I don't do that anymore. In fact, I was unfriending loads whom I have no clue about and was trimming down my friends list. As I do that, "privacy" and "close-knit" are on top of my mind. As those words dominate, Facebook is going in the opposite direction. They are closely integrating Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram messages. Eventually, you can start communicating in one app and finish the conversation in the other app. Post in Facebook, automatically display in Instagram, and chat about it in WhatsApp. This worries me, as three apps that I used with different set of people, and different set of information is going to be united into one. Facebook already knows a lot about me than I do. Now with all three apps rolled-into-one, I am going to be literally having a copy of my life in Facebook's servers that I have no control over the use. This worries me, and this should be worrying us all.
I did not move out of Facebook by choice, because the strongest case I made to myself was that I would lose my friends list I had built over the years from all continents. Finding them again, and connecting with them, and reminding them of a memory I shared with them seemed to be an impossible task. But Facebook did me a favor. One fine day, they blocked me. I did not really know why, but they said they are not cool with me any more and they need my passport, driving license or any ID. Well, my Facebook name is not exactly what my passport displays. 95% of Facebook names will not match their passport names. But now Facebook wants my passport. In face, Facebook already knows a whole lot about me, and the last piece to map was my passport copy perhaps. Wasn't comfortable at all. But, I still wanted my friends list back, so I shared anyway. They did not budge, and there was no explanation or appeal. Boom, more than a decade of friends list and I am blocked out of Facebook now.
Naturally, I was sad, angry and frustrated. After a number of sunsetting days, I am happier than ever. Don't get me wrong. I want to be on a social network. I want to have good friends I truly want to be posting on what's going on in their lives. But, I don't want my social network to track my every move and tell me what I will need now and in the future. I want to be at peace. Look at friends' travel, see their family being happy and not pressured by someone else or give someone the power to kick-me-out anytime at their will. But, I look around for such a social network, I don't see any other choice now.
Hope is there though. WhatsApp alternatives such as Signal has come-up. There should be, and there will be, a Facebook alternative that I can have only my closest, good and trusted friends and acquaintances. I can chat, share, and care about my life and be updated on their lives. That one app that gives me "privacy" and keep it "close-knit. I am confident that days will come in the next years. Until then, hoping to write more.
/// Written By Kevin
This is a personal opinion by the author.
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