Why you should delete your Facebook account – and try a new social media network?

Some of us have been on Facebook for more than a decade, and as you’d expect the site looked and felt completely different 12 years ago when it first launched. What first started out as a dorm-room start-up turned into the ultimate success story as it became one of the biggest social media website ever created. We all thought that it was essentially a force for good in the way that it helped people stay connected with their friends and families. However, over the past couple of weeks, the world’s largest social media website has been in a downward spiral due to violating their privacy and data rules. That’s some seriously shady stuff for a social site that supposedly has privacy at the heart of its origins.

So, following the certifiable sh*t show at Facebook, we wanted to direct the question to you – the users. Is now the right time to deactivate your Facebook account? But, before we can decide whether its time to rid ourselves of Facebook once and for all, we need to start from the beginning and discuss what went down to cause such public and media outrage.

The most recent scandal was to do with the 2016 Trump election. Facebook exposed the data of 20 million users to a researcher who worked for the Trump campaign. Russian-American Alexandr Kogan, the researcher at the centre of the scandal over the misuse of millions of Facebook users’ personal data, created an online quiz via an app called ‘thisisyourdigitallife,’and used it on Facebook. It didn’t only collect the 270,000 quiz takers data, but it also gathered the data of their connected friends too. Kogan then sold this information to Cambridge Analytica, whose Vice President was Steve Bannon. Not only did Cambridge Analytica pass this information onto the Trump campaign, its main conservative funders, Rebecca and Robert Mercer donated to the campaign as well.

The sale of collected data is prohibited on Facebook, but the data obtained was sold regardless of their policies. So, while this sounds like an issue that is to do with other third-party companies, it turns out that Facebook knew about the leak all along, and deliberately let the data fall into the wrong hands. How far Facebook will go to fulfil their companies promise of protecting users’ data in the future is anyone’s guess; but breaking their business model to essentially monetize ‘yourdigitallife’ is a major breach of trust, and that alone makes Facebook untrustworthy…

…So, should we boycott Facebook all together?

I, for one, am not happy with social sites like Facebook using our data; in fact, I feel, that it offers a unique chance to learn more about ourselves and reclaim our private information to use it in a way that helps us communicate in different ways. I’ve been trying to detach myself from Facebook for a long time, but I feel that it has nudged me in the right direction to finally detach myself from it. I’ve been involved with Facebook for years now but learning about how much Facebook knows about its users’ is shocking to me. Suddenly, Facebook went from a site that was well known for connecting people into a surveillance site that manipulates user’s behaviour.

Facebook recent scandal is undeniably shady, but in many ways the site has become so prevalent in our day to day lives, even for businesses, it almost feels as though we are at the mercy of their ability to connect us with others. It’s true, at least for the time being, Facebook provides people with a service unlike any other social site, but unless we’re willing to pay for their services, these kinds of companies will have to find another way to make profit. They do that by selling our data. The scary thing is though, that deleting your account won’t resolve the social media dilemma, but deleting your entire ecosystem of apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp, could safeguard you from the company’s data-collection practices.

Easier said than done, right?

I know, especially when you consider that people, like myself, rely on social media to connect with people at work. Even though, I have deleted my Facebook account, I haven’t brought myself to delete WhatsApp, simply because it’s the best option for staying in touch on the go, even if it’s a digital tracking device that is used for gathering our data. Nor, have I deleted Instagram which is just as wicked as Facebook. The only way to delete your digital footprint from the face of social media or to minimize your presence online is to delete each of these connected apps. To be clear: I’m not recommending you delete your Facebook account. I’m just saying the issue is much larger than Facebook alone, it’s about how other companies are abusing their corporate power by taking our information and using it to exploit us.

A company that is up to similar tricks is a software company called Pixoneye, a company that scans smartphone photos for consumer insights. If you have given the app permission to access your library of photos, then there’s a good chance that they have gathered a lot of information about your personal life. It might characterise you as someone who enjoys watching football, for example, or as someone who enjoys going to the gym. So, you might be thinking, what’s the big fuss about an app that uses information to sell me stuff? Not much. But, if all that data was combined it can reveal a lot more about your personality than you think. As the Cambridge Analytica revealed, even a few likes on Facebook can help determine someone’s sexual orientation, or their political leanings.

It just goes to show that the world-wide web has become a powerful tool for influencing consumer behaviour and that deleting your apps might go a long way to protecting your data. We can’t just sit back and hope that privacy regulations will save us from the watchful eyes of corporations like Facebook. Deleting your social media accounts might mean that your losing out on certain things but deleting each of these apps will allow you to make more effort to connect with people in other ways or try and place your trust in a new, more trustworthy, social media website, like inLinx.com.

I know what you’re thinking. What would be the point of looking beyond some of the big players in the social network space, just so you can try another? Well, I’ll tell you why. Other than having definitive proof that Facebook is nothing more than a global data vacuum that sucks up all our data, I think it’s time for a new social network to pave the way and show us all that it’s possible to stay connected and control our own privacy. In an attempt at privacy control, something which the platform takes very seriously, unlike our so-called friends at Facebook, inLinx new feature ‘Treat as’ lets you customize who see yours posts.

You have the option of treating an individual as either a family member or a Linx, in other words – the public. It’s a great feature to have particularly when you don’t want certain individuals or members of your family to see your posts. It has made it possible for me to share without the worry of prying eyes looking to harvest information about me without my explicit permission. It might seem like a lot of effort to modify your profile and information for certain groups and individuals, but with a click of button, inLinx have made it possible for me to personalise my profile for certain individuals.

InLinx also differentiates itself in a few other ways. Unlike other social media networks where you leave a trail of everything you post or say behind you, inLinx takes privacy to a whole new level by ensuring that none of your activities with friends and families are found on major search engines like Google. So, say goodbye to employers or stalkers snooping up on you and scrolling through photos of your hangover and charades. If you’re feeling jittery about the recent Facebook scandal and are looking for new ways to connect and protect your information, you should act fast, and try something new like inlinx.com

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