Ten years ago Facebook was just cresting as the cool new social media site that helped you keep in touch with the people you didn’t actually like in high school. We fed it our thoughts and feelings, shared our meals and locations and our top ten movie lists, kept it up-to-date on our relationship status, political views, favorite links, and personal information — all in the name of staying connected, and all without a thought to our security. But with a decade of questions regarding how Facebook makes money now answered, and a general understanding of how sharing information online can be dangerous (while the platform constantly updates its security protocol), we continue to use it anyway, even though many of us are just checking in as ritual and have threatened our exit from Facebook for years.
Of course, screen time in moderation is, for the most part, perfectly acceptable, and social media can offer a few genuinely beneficial uses. But before you log in or tap that app on your smartphone again, here are a few reasons to quit Facebook in 2015.
It Wastes Your Time
It’s estimated that the average casual user (17 minutes per day on Facebook) who has been active on the site for 10 years has wasted upwards of 40 entire days of their lives scrolling and liking and commenting on pictures and posts. And more engaged users, who spend at least an hour a day on the site, have clocked 150 days feeding the Facebook beast during the same time. Think about how long you spend on the site each day, and what else could be a more productive use of your time.
Facebook Uses You to Sell Stuff…
In 2012, the site manipulated posts from 689,000 accounts without consent in an experiment that examined whether or not it could affect your emotions by making a few edits on your page. The study was done, according to Facebook, to “improve our services and to make the content people see on Facebook as relevant and engaging as possible.” Skeptics think it was really used to discover the monetary benefit of a Like. COO Sheryl Sandberg later apologized, adding that they “never meant to upset you.”
And Targets You with Advertisements
One time you wanted to buy a thing, and then you searched for that thing, and six months later Facebook is still reminding you that you should think about buying that thing, even if you already bought the thing. Yes, most sites do this thanks to embedded cookies, but only Facebook seamlessly posts these ads in your timeline with enough regularity that you can only assume your friend has an odd obsession with the latest Norelco razor.
It’s Bad for Your Health
Facebook isn’t just a harmless website dedicated to cataloging your vacations, poor wardrobe choices, and myopic thoughts on sporting events (which can both define or destroy relationships), it can actually do you harm. Studies hint that it can impact your immune system and inhibit the release of growth hormones, impair digestion and vision, limit thinking and kill creativity, and affect sleep patterns and happiness.
“Who Are These People, Anyway?”
The average adult has 338 friends on Facebook and probably doesn’t know more than 10 percent of them anymore, or at all. Many of them likely have new lives, some have new last names, new passions, new facial hair, and new humans they’re now responsible for keeping alive (read: babies). These are not the friends you knew, and semi-casually keeping up with them is a waste of time that could be better spent with new, real friends. Or on Twitter.
“But I Don’t Care About Privacy”
Fair. That’s your right. But the problem is that we’re setting precedent for the future without yet understanding how it will affect the free and open Web, and simultaneously creating an internet that relies on you having a Facebook account to access sites that are not Facebook. As one of nearly 1.2 billion users to date, odds are decent that your account won’t be hacked by someone with ill-will toward your family. That doesn’t mean that permitting easy access to your information goes without consequence, both immediately and decades from now.
Nothing You Post Actually Matters
Very few people care what you’re doing, whom you’re with, where you’re eating, or what you just bought, and the people who do were probably right next to you when you did it. We all saw that funny Ice Bucket Challenge video, and if we didn’t see it, it’s fine. We’re all fine. You’ll sleep well without knowing which childhood toys you owned are now worth a fortune, and you will absolutely “believe what happened next” on Upworthy, because someone took time to write about it. These articles only exist because you share them on Facebook, and you only share them because they exist. So, instead, just invite a friend over to talk about how much you both loved Save By the Bell. The internet can only take so much nostalgia.