February 7

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This Is How to Quit Facebook Without Quitting Facebook

"Can I quit Facebook without quitting Facebook?" is becoming the 21st century version of "Can I have my cake and eat it, too?"

Because, ugh, Facebook!

Almost everyone still has it.

Most of us don’t really like it.

(It's kind of like we feel about the 24-hour news cycle. When you're done with Marie Kondo'ing your Facebook account, you can find my recommendations about how to approach the news here.)

Should you quit Facebook?

When it comes to what we find most annoying about our Facebook accounts (apart from, you know, the whole emotional manipulation/Big Brother/1984/data-stalking thing that’s a bit of a turnoff), it’s typically two things: the way it is addictive and the uncomfortable interactions we might have with others.

Of course, the easiest solution would be to just delete one’s account altogether.

However, there are valid reasons why you might not want to do that at this point.

Perhaps there are some groups that only meet on Facebook that you otherwise couldn’t participate in. Or maybe you currently use it for your business which makes it hard to leave altogether.

If you don’t want to delete it just yet, how about giving it a “Marie Kondo” makeover instead?

(Note: the yellowed sections are some of the parts of this article that other readers have highlighted on Medium.)

How to reduce Facebook's addictiveness and data gathering, without actually quitting Facebook

As we all probably know by now, Facebook (like many other Social Media networks) is designed to be addictive.

It's not that different from how casino's are designed to have you make choices that are against your best interest.

For instance, why do you think there are no clocks in casinos? So that you stay longer and spend more money. Why do you think Facebook's newsfeed has an infinite scroll? Bingo, so that you stay longer and see more ads. 

The best approach for dealing with an “addiction by design” is not to develop more willpower. It’s to use the power of technology against that design.

Concretely, there are two apps and two simple changes that drastically reduce Facebook’s addictiveness: 

  • remove Facebook from your phone (not having it on your phone will have you check it less often),
  • don’t stay logged into your Facebook account (log in, then log out when you’re done),
  • install Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator on all the browser you use (bye-bye newsfeed),
  • if you want to hide certain parts of the page you don’t want to see or certain posts (politics, anyone?), also install Social Fixxer and customize your page layout.

I’ve been using all these tactics for a couple of years now and can highly recommend them.

Plus point: by not having Facebook on your phone and not being logged in the whole time, you’re presumably reducing the amount of data gathered about you.

When you use Facebook on your laptop, you might want to access it via the Firefox browser. Firefox offers an extension, the Facebook Container which helps isolate your web activity from Facebook and prevents it from tracking you around the web.

How to quit (some) of your Facebook friends by managing your contact list

Social Media, unfortunately, makes stalking a lot easier.

For instance, sometimes people have rather icky interactions with Facebook “friends” who leave nasty or offensive comments on their posts.

If that’s the case, the blocking feature comes in handy, as we’ve probably all discovered at some point.

But what if it’s more that you have different groups of people on Facebook (including professional contacts, estranged family members, etc.) and feel uncomfortable with all of them seeing what you have posted in the past?

If you can relate to this concern, it’s time to “Marie Kondo” your Facebook contacts.

Here’s how to do that:

Option 1: The radical & easy approach

ContactsYou unfriend everyone you don't want to be Facebook friends with. 

Past posts: After cleaning up your friend's list, restrict all past posts to friends only (you can do this automatically, so it's really easy).
→ Everyone who's not your friend won't be able to see your past posts.

Future posts: For future posts, be mindful of the audience you share them with.

  • Advantage: It’s easy to implement and only the people you want as Facebook friends can see your past posts. Plus, if you ever decide to move off Facebook altogether, you now have a good overview of which people you actually care enough about to want to stay in contact with them.
  • Disadvantage: Some people have tools that alert them that someone unfriended them. This method doesn’t allow a lot of customization (someone’s either “in or not” but nothing in between).

Option 2: the more elegant & complicated way

Contacts: You create a restricted list to organize your Facebook contacts. If you have FB friends who shouldn’t see your “friends only” posts, add them to the “restricted list.”

(Optional: For more customization, you can also create more lists, such as a “close friends” list).

Past posts: After creating your restricted list, restrict all past posts to friends only (you can do this automatically, so it’s really easy).
→ The people who are on the restricted list as well as everyone you’re not FB friends with won’t be able to see your past posts.

(Optional: For more customization, you can also go through your Timeline and manually restrict all sensitive posts to “close friends” only.)

Future posts: For future posts, be mindful of the audience you share them with.

  • Advantage: This method allows you to retain all your current contacts while managing what they can see. People won’t be notified about you adding them to the restricted list. It also allows you to customize more (instead of “in or out,” there are various levels at which people can engage with you).
  • Disadvantage: It might be slightly more complex than the other option.
- Whichever option you choose, I'd also recommend that you hide your friend's list.
- After you're done with all that, you can check what different groups of people can see on your profile.

You don't need to quit Facebook right now to start quitting it

By implementing these tips, you can make your Facebook experience more pleasant, reduce the amount of new data that's being gathered about you, and keep your old and new posts more private than before. 

If you want to move into the direction of deleting your account altogether, these steps are a good place to start because they will reduce your addiction/dependency on Facebook and show you which friendship are meaningful to you and which people you actually want to stay in contact with if you ever leave the platform.

While you can't have a literal cake and eat it both, you can (sort of) quit Facebook without actually quitting.

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