Every year on my birthday I write a silly Facebook post. Friends come to my FB page to post birthday greetings on my wall, but I long ago closed it off to random posts by others. Instead, I do a wacky ramble of some kind, then encourage those friends to play a kind of Mornington Crescent-y game (or actual Mornington Crescent) in the post comments.

It's my birthday today, and it's going to be similar, but also different. Because we really, seriously, have to get the fuck off Facebook.

CW: writing this after 2am

I've stayed on FB far longer than I should have, because I like being a social person and it's where so many of my friends are.

But the longer I stay, the more I hate it. Not because of those friends - I genuinely love them - but because I'm ever more aware that this friendship is being used to propel a ravenous machine that eats love and shits evil.

By now, this view of Facebook shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Yet so many of us are still there, still feeding it.

Mastodon/ActivityPub friends: this isn't for you. It's why you've already been here for ages.

This is for those friends on FB who - I desperately hope - click through to read this thread.

Which was your favourite FB corporate scandal? Hiring a PR firm to spread far-right propaganda about George Soros? Conspiring to keep kids running up huge bills on games? Or, y'know, the whole complicity-in-the-destruction-of-democracy thing. It's fascinating to watch.

Yes, of course they're responsible.

I'm not blaming anyone for still having a Facebook account; at least, not blaming anyone for it more than myself. We're victims, but also knowingly complicit.

And at the same time, I've seen so much good through it. Friendships, love, the saving of lives. Last week I saw a friend organise yet another fundraiser for someone in need; she's good like that, and it works. It helps. At least, while we still have money. It's mostly going in the wrong direction, and Facebook is actively helping.

My brain is seizing up. It's nearly 3am and I have little more to add other than begging, desperately, for a way out of this.

Giving up Facebook should be the easiest thing in the world. But they've become fundamental infrastructure for the support networks so many need to keep going.

Mastodon is great, but it can't replace it all. How do we wind things back? How do we bring the people we love with us?

If you genuinely want to help, then PLEASE do not underestimate the scale of the problem.


I've been in this industry for 25 years. I'm more aware than ever of how good people become part of bad machines; how ethical concerns get clobbered by engineering deadlines.

Facebook *is* that bad, and it will get worse.
We can't stop it by ourselves, not properly.
But it doesn't mean we have to go along with it.

If you've read this far, then talk to me. I don't have a solid single answer, but we can make things better. I'd say "we have the technology" but that's the easy part.

Night night.

@yoz I interviewed at FB. When they took over Suns storied location in EPA and named it 1 Hacker Way, I knew: “ The Harder they Come, The Harder they Fall!” - Jimmy Cliff

@yoz @phildini My concern is how I get people I care about *out* of Facebook. No one wants to leave because everyone is there.

@yoz THIS. I keep struggling because as a community organizer my instinct is to just go where the people are. I don't want to organize on/in/around FB but that's where the people I'm trying to reach *are*

I've managed to make do without using the platform for organizing but I'm haunted by knowing there are so many people I could be reaching who aren't being reached because I'm *not* unsing it. 😕

I don't have a solution either, I just extremely feel this.

@yoz as much as i hate facebook, i still feel like it gives me access to resources i can't get anywhere else (i.e. local queer trading groups and buy nothing groups, college alumni groups, local events, etc). i know i need to leave it- i honestly barely ever look at it anymore- but i just can't bring myself to throw those resources away. :(

@yoz Yeah, I recently wrote on Facebook, that I want to delete my Account and who would come somewhere else with me and most people where like "Oh, I cannot leave, all my friends are here" or "I don't think it is that bad"... 🙄
I don't know how to convince them...

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