If you’re on Facebook to follow Stephen King, don’t bother

Stephen King has announced that he has left Facebook! The trickle has swollen to a raging…well, trickle. I doubt that Facebook is panicking over the departure of a few people. But his reasons are good!

I’m quitting Facebook. Not comfortable with the flood of false information that’s allowed in its political advertising, nor am I confident in its ability to protect its users’ privacy.

If it’s any help to others, I can tell you that this is the easiest addiction to break, ever. I just stopped cold turkey and didn’t miss it at all. I think it’s the act of being on Facebook that provides the stimulus to keep following the stream, and once you get away from it, all interest fades fast.


  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    Not comfortable with the flood of false information…

    Ironic, considering he’s a fiction writer.

  2. nomadiq says

    Not ironic since King doesn’t pretend to tell facts in his novels. Well, the facts of the human condition are between the lines…

    Anyway, I wish I could kill off the Facebook thing. I’ve come to rely on it too much for family communication that would otherwise be impossible. I see me deleting to main app soon from my phone and keeping the messenger app. I never look at Facebook in a browser. I’ve seen how toxic it is. It’s a phenomenon I doubt any social media company can avoid while constantly trying to increase profits….

    Just think about that. So many of us use a medium to talk to our friends who’s only aim is to increase profits (and apparently at all costs) and the only way this model is sustainable is by opening the door to having our communications interrupted with paid-for lies. When did we become this screwed up? And on top of that, why do we let strangers on these platforms shame us about our weight, or how we choose to feed our babies, or eco-friendliness (or lack of) of our tourist destinations, etc. That’s not to say these things aren’t interesting discussions to have, but the medium of social media just completely disconnects us from true dialogue.

  3. chrislawson says


    Facebook isn’t the way it is because it’s the only sustainable model for social media. Zuckerberg has so many billions he could sustain himself for thousands of human lifetimes even if he never earned another cent. Facebook is the way it is because Zuckerberg chose to make it that way.

  4. mcfrank0 says

    I use Facebook to keep contact with friends and family both local and across the country (and, in one case, on the other side of the globe!). In addition, I am now homebound by illness and FB is my only true source of human contact other than healthcare.

    I also feel “blessed” in that I see almost no political ads or fake news unless it was explicitly (re)posted by one of “friends”. I guess I must somehow fall into one of Zuckerberg’s less desirable niche markets.

  5. kome says

    I agree that it’s an easy addiction to break. I was pretty regular on Facebook – it helped me come up with research ideas, so weirdly enough the proliferation of false information and the massive amount of comments from random people espousing anti-science and conspiracy nonsense was something I benefited from. But around New Years I just stopped logging in and haven’t really thought about what’s going on on there since.

  6. Akira MacKenzie says

    Okay, you convinced me. I’m going to starts untangling myself from Facebook and stick to MeWe.

  7. devnll says

    I am surprised a bit by the vitriol a lot of people feel for Facebook. I’m no fanboy – I don’t trust them to act in any way not directly intended to raise shareholder value, and I don’t put any data on it that I wouldn’t want public – but I think a lot of people must use the platform differently than I. I don’t follow anyone but my personal friends. About once a month a get a new swathe of half-a-dozen ad posts, all of which I click “Never show me this again” on. The rest of the time I have essentially no ads in my feed (there are always ads on the sidebar I guess; I don’t look over there so I hardly notice) and everything else is posts from my friends. Anyone who re-posts banal content too frequently without adding anything to it, I un-follow, so the vast majority of those friends’ posts are updates on their lives, or genuinely funny or interesting re-posts. It’s my best way of keeping a bit connected to my friends and family on different continents, without asking them to individually send me personal updates. Recently I had a beloved pet die, and posted about it, and felt genuinely comforted by the number of friends who offered sympathy, or their own memories and photos of my dog, or even just liked the post to let me know they were thinking of me. The idea of hating FB, to me, seems a bit like hating telephones or the post office. It’s a medium for communication; if you hate it, maybe you should be using it to communicate with different people.

  8. devnll says

    @nomadiq in #2:
    “Just think about that. So many of us use a medium to talk to our friends who’s only aim is to increase profits (and apparently at all costs) and the only way this model is sustainable is by opening the door to having our communications interrupted with paid-for lies.”

    See, that sounds like a perfect description of the telephone to me. AT&T’s only aim is to increase profits, and by carrying a phone I open myself up to spam and robo-calls full of paid-for lies. So I curate my address book, and set the default ring-tone for anyone not in that address book to silence, and get on with using it how I want. If your FB feed is full of evil, you’re communicating with the wrong people.

  9. methuseus says

    First of all, judging from your name, you’re a computer and technology enthusiast. People like you and me find it easy to make all those changes you mentioned. Others, like PZ, have similar knowledge. Unfortunately the vast majority of people, even very intelligent ones, do not have that skill set. Others also use Facebook less like a phone line (the way you do) and more like a social club (as intended by Facebook). Doing literally anything other than just looking at the updates of a few contacts like you do exposed you to much more advertising. I don’t know what as you get, but even with barely using it for anything other than what you do, I still get bombarded with pro Trump ads that almost always contain less and half truths. I also report them, but I still will see the same one again later. It’s incredibly frustrating to me to have to report basically the same thing every couple days.

    There is also the fact that people are pissed that these lies are being shown to people that don’t know better for whatever reason. Yes, some people are said, and others are gullible. That doesn’t mean you basically write them off from the human race. They still work and vote and have a say in our society.

    Then there’s your last point. That Facebook provides a service similar to a telephony system. First, that service is merely used to obtain your information in order to better sell to you. Yes, they mine your posts and messages in order to better sell to you. Second, AT&T doesn’t initiate the rivals our spam. Those come from third parties. The lying ads and everything come directly from Facebook themselves. Other people need to have their ringer on to receive phone calls from job interviews, or emergency services if something bad happens, or if your kids gets hurt or in trouble. Most people can’t just turn off the ringer for unknown numbers since it’s practically impossible to make sure you have all the proper numbers whitelisted.

    Think of false positives and false negatives. A false positive causing a missed call from an unknown number could cause major problems for you. A false negative means you answer a Telemarketing call. I’d rather answer a Telemarketing call than miss a call from a veterinarian saying they found my list dog by microchip.