Could you delete your Facebook account?
Could you delete your Facebook account?

YOUR SAY: Facebook deactivation is not activism

I have considered falling into and following the #DeleteFacebook campaign.

I know how distracting and addictive social media is, with its strange pull often dragging its users in with the promise of likes, adoration, invitations and attention from friends. FOMO, the Fear of Missing Out, drives many to regularly stay connected to their friends through social media.

The best part about social media for me is reading the updates from my friends, travelling vicariously to distant places through photographs and postings and sharing in my friends' trials, tribulations and conundrums. It is a useful, efficient and effective method of keeping in contact with my friends and family who are living and travelling across this incredible planet.

When I need to focus on university or school work, I simply turn off the noise that comes from Facebook.

Deleting Facebook won't change the state of the world, or Facebook for that matter. Even if hundreds of thousands of people quit Facebook, the company would not feel it. At its current rate of growth, Facebook will reach 3 billion users by 2020.

I understand that the #DeleteFacebook movement is a reaction to the unwarranted use of Facebook users' political data on 50 million Americans via the British firm Cambridge Analytica. Alarmingly, the Australian government allegedly met with similar data sourcing firms last year.

Not only is the unauthorised use of data concerning, but Facebook is often the platform for the proliferation of hate speech, harassment, fake news, trolling and cyber bullying.

One must also realise that Facebook is not the only main internet organisation utilising surveillance systems targeting their users. Google, Twitter and most news organisations monitor their users' internet movements and run targeted advertising. Few realise that Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger are owned by the all-powerful (and all-seeing) Facebook.

One can only hope that new legislation will ensure that data collection carried out by internet organisations is undertaken via clear, transparent means, with the terms written out in plain language; not legalese. Organisations should declare up front how they will use the data, and users can withdraw consent at any time.

Facebook and other forms of social media could be the forefront for such changes to be implemented. If users come together and demand charge, reform is a likely outcome. Deactivation or deletion of accounts is the capitulation of power. Deactivation is the opposite of activism.