How To / Why Leave Facebook
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How To / Why Leave Facebook


hi my name is Nick Briz and I’m a new-media artist / educator / organizer living and working in Chicago
Illinois and this is a tutorial / personal essay video for how to leave Facebook by which I don’t mean had a click that delete your account button, which doesn’t exactly delete your account anyways, Facebook
uses words like “delete” and “like” to mean things that they don’t
actually this is a tutorial / essay video for how to leave Facebook, in a sort of performative / activist and
slightly glitchy-kludgy sort of way. before I explain how to
do that I’ll explane why, and why like this. I should start by saying that this was a really really hard thing for me to do by which i don’t mean technically, it was just personally difficult i’ve been on Facebook for seven years. Its as long as I’ve been making glitch art as long as it’s been a new-media artist and facebook’s been a
big part of my life and practice in a lot of different ways
over that time and on those folks who think Facebook is
an addiction nor do I agree with the social media luddites that think social
media is distracting us from “real life”. social
media doesn’t replace a pre-existing relationship it augments them it helps keep in touch when we are far away and lets us communicate not only in real time but also with images and sounds and videos and gifs social media and web in general make
possible relationships that otherwise wouldn’t exist in 1968 one of the Internet’s founding
fathers to see our look later said with a great deal of for site, “life
will be happier for the online individual because the people with whom one interacts most strongly will be selected more by commonality of interests and
goals then by accidents of proximity” My issue with Facebook is how they’ve demonstrated time and time again a lack of respect for their users in the
interest of prioritizing other interests like those in their
advertises in ways that have had some serious intended and possibly unintended consequences. And this is a long list which has been accumulating for years but I’d always love the major ones. first
issue is something called the filter bubble to some extent you probably expect your
streams to be the accumulation of all the posts made by the folks you
follow in more or less the order they were posted in this is not always the case and is definitely
not the case for Facebook. By default Facebook filters a lot into and out of
your streams based on what algorithms think you most likely want to
see. And common sense says “awesome why wouldn’t I wanna catered
stream if the algorithms are working well then wouldn’t i like it?” Not exactly the
first problem with common sense here is that it makes the assumption that the
algorithm has your best interest in mind… which is not the case, more on that later and so then there’s this issue the filter bubble if your algorithm assumes your future interest based on your past activity you’re setting yourself up
for what Eli Pariser calls “information determinism”, essentially your
feed becomes a kind ideological bubble that never shows you
anything you disagree with or don’t already like and so then it doesn’t give you the opportunity to change your mind to consider other points of view to learn to change to grow. this can get
a little heady and I’m oversimplifying here but you can check out Eli Pariser’s TED talk or some of the links I posted in the description and I should note that this isn’t unique to
Facebook to some extent this is true of any account you open online. Another big example is your Google search results, this is why use use Duck Duck Go more
than anything. the second issue is that Facebook impersonates you to
benefit of its advertisers have you ever been scrolling through your feed and noticed something like “Nick Briz and 7 of your friends likes McDonald’s” and wondered “hmmm that’s weird I thought Nick was a
vegetarian what’s he doing like McDonalds?” somebody makes a post on Facebook with the link and you like their post Facebook then assumes you like what the
post links to so if somebody makes a post about how nasty the new McRib sandwich is and they link to McDonalds and you like
that post your friend’s feed, unbeknownst to you, will now include
your endorsement of McDonalds. Similarly, if you like
something from a particular source on Facebook, Facebook will assume you like any future posts from that source, so say you liked a New
York Times op-ed on legalizing marijuana you may
unbeknownst to you like another New York Times op-ed on
criminalizing abortion or whatever, this is why sometimes you might notice deceased friend liking things after the died. Maybe even worse the
recycled “likes” is the very blurry space between organic and non-organic posts on
Facebook if you’re unfamiliar with these terms
organic just means a post that one of your friends makes and non-organic is something that’s paid
for like an ad. So, say you make an organic post about how much you like your iPhone Facebook could then sell that post to Apple so they can use it as an ad and your friends will notice that post
in their feeds sort of get anchored to the top like a sponsored post and maybe you’re cool with this and
maybe you’re not, but the point is that it doesn’t matter because nobody
asked for your permission nobody bothered to tell you about it… …or they didn’t bother to tell you about
it when they told you they change their terms of service and the technically did
ask your permission when you signed the 9000+ word Terms of Service. And if you’re the kind of influencer that charges companies to make promotional posts Facebook just cut you out of that
equation. And even if you’re not in the business of making promotional posts I think if somebody’s using your posts
as an ad, you should be getting a cut of that and i’m not just trying to be greedy here, there’s some pretty long-term consequences with this there’s a reeally great book called “Who
Owns the Future” by Jaron Lanier where he describes this in detail and he also describes what a micropayment
system could look like where users get compensated for the
wealth that the generate on social media which up until now doesn’t really exist…
YouTube and and Google Adsense maybe being the kind
of exception which brings me to my last issue Facebook implements these things in a
really sneaky way. And if we noticed and if we backlash than they post an apology
after the fact and retrofit their site with a sort of “opt out”
option. But this is never the default and they never want to opt out and these
changes are made in such a way as to keep us in the dark and sometimes years can go by before
anybody even noticed face but fucked with us and one of the worst examples at this came out recently here’s a quote from the Atlantic “for one week in January 2012 data
scientists skewed what almost 700,000 Facebook uses saw when they logged into its service. some people were shown content with the preponderance happy and positive words. some were shown
content analyzed as sadder than average and when the week was over these
manipulated uses were more likely to post either especially positive or negative
words themselves this tinkering was just revealed as part
of a new study published in the prestigious proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences” in short, facebook just wanted to see if they could control the emotional states of their massive network of guinea pigs. and it turns out they can
for a week in 2012 hundreds of thousands of us were made
depressed and hundreds of thousands of us were made happy. high-fives data
scientists what’s next? so I’ll admit have some
pretty radical ideas about what I would like the web to look like and I realize a lot this isn’t happening
anytime soon. but I do appreciate all the awesome shit we have now so I partake in internet culture but there’s a balance that needs to be met
and a line that needs to be drawn and it really sucks and it pains me to say that Facebook crossed it now I have to leave and this is how I did that. So facebook gives you the option to deactivate your account or even “delete your account”, but keep in mind
anytime you upload anything to the Internet it’s being copied over and over again
it’s been crawled is being scraped when something goes online, its virtually
impossible to delete so when facebook gives you the option to
“delete your account” this is a relative term also with something as ubiquitous as
Facebook deleting or deactivating your account means much more than just losing your feed and
your information it means losing all of my albums, it means
losing all of my Spotify playlist, it also
throws a wrench in a lot of the work that I do as a new-media artist I produce a lot of
work for myself and for clients that involves Facebook apps and Facebook Graph so I thought about this for a while and decided I wouldn’t press the “delete
my account” button that instead I’d leave Facebook on my own terms by manually deleting all of my photos, posts, comments, likes by un-tagging myself from everything by
leaving all my groups, etc. essentially manually wiping out all of
my activity on Facebook or at least scraping it off the surface. And I’ve already done all that with the exception unfriending my
friends which I’m gonna do in a few days before i show you how to do this you should
probably backup anything that’s important to you on facebook. if you’re
like me you probably got a lot of sentimental moments on there so if you go to your settings Facebook
actually gives you an option to download a copy of your facebook data
and you should do this, but in my opinion thiss actually leaves out a lot of other important things. So while this download includes all the photos you’ve posted to Facebook it doesn’t
include all the photos photos your friends have posted, and then tagged you in Which for me was what initially
motivated me to get on facebook and what makes up the majority of my photo history over the last seven years at this point in time Facebook has no
easy way to download all the photos you’re tagged in so i wrote a custom script is to get that
done. So big disclaimer here, this script and all the other scripts i wrote and i’m gonna share with you in this video is a sort of brute force hack, its really dirty and might take some experimentation.
that’s just the style of this here tutorial as the result the circumstances
Facebook has placed me in also keep in mind that facebook
changes shit all the time with no notice But I’ve posted all of these on github as gists, so you can fork them and make any changes if and when they’re
necessary. So after you download a copy your data, go ahead and watch this video
were i kinda go through step by step how to hack your way to saving a copy of all the photos that your tagged in another thing i’m gonna miss is all of my wall posts. there’s a lot of really sentimental stuff people have posted on there, like birthday wishes and other personal things. So I made this other video for had a download a copy
of your entire wall so after I saved all the stuff that I wanted to save I started wiping out all my activity i started with some of the stuff that Facebook makes easy for you to manually remove like I removed all of my information from
my About section I also manually removed all of the app’s except for some the
ones that are connected to other things like Spotify and some of my client apps. then comes
the trickier part I want to delete all of my photos but I
also wanted to untag myself from all the photos my friends have posted and Facebook doesn’t really give you a quick easy way to do this so I also wrote a few custom scripts to get
that done which are on the website and also on this video where I walk through
step by step how to do that I also wrote a script for quickly leaving all of your groups. Also documented on the site and in this video. And lastly a script for
deleting all of my activity that means comments, likes, search results, stuff like that the video on the site also includes some
tips for how to do is a bit more effectively remember that this is all
kind of experimental I notice that if I tried to delete years worth of activity at once it would crash my browser and not work, but it worked ok if I did a few months at a time. Which is
still a lot easier than going through it one by one although admittedly just as sad. So to recap facebook gives you a couple different
ways to delete your account, this is NOT one of them. This is an alternative based on a different set of priorities like i said before, this is meant to
be kind of performative activist and some what cathartic process. As a right now all but my friends list and this post have
been removed and in a few days I’ll be unfriending
everyone leaving only this post on my Facebook account its sad. I’m afraid of losing touch with
friends, i’m afraid of missing out on future activities and posts on
Facebook but I hope you all will find me elsewhere on
the internets as I hope to find you I’ve got other accounts, f*ck Facebook

53 thoughts on “How To / Why Leave Facebook

  1. Beautiful sign off man. That was fantastic. I've put it forward to my students as well (I teach design and illustration theory but I'm fond of discussing politics, counter-culture, culture jamming, social and environmental theory and all that other jazz as a matter of "learn the muthafuckin' world bitches") as I think it's important for them to understand the parameters of the technologies they're using rather than simply consuming. Wonderful.

  2. I left Facebook like a year ago…I just did "Delete account"! 
    For me Facebook just brought problems to me, it was weird, people just asking and bothering me over things related to that social network. From likes to wall posts, everything was a problem, and it didn't help me to get my work out there. 
    But yep…

  3. Ok, now this made me wonder…What if I try to get in again and delete everything? I mean it's been a year, I don't think my account is "saved", besides, I'm nobody in political terms, so…I'll try to log on and see if I can delete with your code.

  4. I loved this. I've been slowly deleting everything from my profile over the past few months but I haven't been able to fully commit to deleting the profile as a whole. I'm definitely going to look into those scripts you wrote to finally get that cathartic release. 

  5. I'd be interested to see you post a video describing "life after facebook". Is it difficult keeping in touch with friends/family? Do you feel more connected to the "real world"?

  6. Hi Nick Briz. I am an ambitious man working my way up in life. I seak knowledge, education and I use facebook as a tool but more and more I get educated on multiple subjects ( Politics, science and more ) More I go into a thinking : Facebook is not going to be a system advantaging the whole poppulation. I am trying to gain contacts so I can learn more and mroe about media systems and how to group massive poppulation i na way everyone can benefict from their ideas which I call myself Internet culture, and sadly I have come to a conclusion Facebook is not going to make it work in the same way a liquid feedback could. I jsut wanted to share my interest to you. I am curently using facebook as a tool but I see i need to expand on different website, social media and otehr possible systems. Culture is rich, people are culture and people are rich. Sorry for my english, it is not my native language, I hope you comment soon so I can continue some form of discussion.

  7. Now that I've watched this cool video it brought back an old idea that I had. I've always thought that people should have the option to create a social media profile with whatever website they prefer and add friends from these other websites. This would take away Facebook's monopoly on social media and would discourage their actions.

  8. I use dumbbook under a different name, never post anything, and don't show my face.  Photos uploaded to fartbook's data servers will remain their 7+ years!
    I use it to message friends, but sadly I still know my chat messages + metadata are being recorded.

    You inspire me to leave also! I should not have to deal with these issues just to communicate to friends online.

  9. And after all that, technically you're still a part of Facebook since they own Instagram. Hopefully they don't fuck that up too.

  10. I have no problem with anything you are saying, I just suggest you should have a singular focus and not so much "this 'slash' that" kind of thing.

  11. You are completely right on. I really appreciate your perspective and rigor related to this issue. I have been feeling completely like you on most of this so it really resonates. Great and responsible way to make your point.

  12. Yet you're using Apple and making a reference to how much you love your iPhone that's hilarious

  13. I never started a Facebook account. My friends call me a hermit and a curmudgeon for it, but that's ok. Maybe I AM a grumpy old man who likes some occasional "me time", but hearing their complaints about Facebook censorship, plus the NSA/DHS spying through such online accounts, made me decide that Big Brother spies on me enough already through my You Tube and Bank accounts, as well as tracking everything I look at using any Web Browser.
    One example of how serious the surveillance through Facebook is: A former co-worker posted a bunch of photos of himself and his friends, stupidly drunk, playing with guns and pretending to execute each other. They couldn't figure out why the FBI sent agents to check them out on suspicion of some kind of terrorism related stuff. I mean, DUH !!!!!! What else should they have expected in this current climate of government instigated paranoia?
    In a nutshell, I just won't bother with Facebook. I like what little privacy I have left.

  14. Makes me happier that I never jumped on the Facebook train…now I have to share this how to with those who did and have been trying to turn it off. Thanks for the great information!!

  15. Facebook has millions of friends. Did you ever ask yourself: What is its secret and what constitutes its methods of retention? Do you think people stay in Facebook to continue sharing their photos and updates from friends, or to know about future events? Maybe, the real reason to maintain our Facebook profiles is due to Facebook playing with our emotions, to blame yourself for not spending enough time on the web. 

    In consonance with their mission statement to 'make the world more open and connected', Facebook has developed a complex strategy of emotional guilt for its users. According to public statements by its engineers, their deactivation page and it's emblematic phrase 'will miss you', has successfully kept nearly one million users from leaving the social network.

    Instead of simply informing me of what will happen to the information I've shared, it tells me my friends will miss me. Imprinting social networking life with a fundamental value. Have I disappeared off the face of the earth? No, I've only deactivated my Facebook and will continue to be alive and accessible.

    The specific friends Facebook decided to show me were also interesting, they seem randomly selected. If it at least showed me the people I talk to most. But no, every time I visit the page, a random selection of friends will miss me.

    This emotional guilt trip is the source of a collection of friends that will miss me if I leave Facebook.

    2012.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Will-Miss-You/313937475385504?sk=timeline

  16. This video is powerful and raises a lot of good points, however, I feel like the semantics of being 'experimented on' is used as an unwarranted scare tactic.  When we hear this, we conjure up the image of being locked in a cage and pumped with chemicals as our thoughts are being controlled to be more obedient to the men in the labcoats.  I find this anti-science rhetoric to be a little counterproductive.  In reality, our free will is still intact.  Information determinism remains theoretical and the actual results of both the 'echo chamber effect' and the 'emotional contagion' study revealed less than a fraction of a fraction of 1 percent difference in the behavior of user. The 'emotional manipulation' had no effect and 99.99% of users overwhelmingly get their information from a variety of sources, despite of what their facebook feed looks like. The hypothetical victims, the thought-controlled, uneducated, homogenized masses of guinea pigs, that would be damaged by your list in this video don't seem to exist. I find it a little deceptive that you stated that facebook intentionally made half of it's users "depressed"  by using a filter. Using facebook as your only emotional support system is like using yahoo answers as your personal finance specialist, or 4chan as your therapist.

    There's an entire industry based on the type of experiments that facebook did and it's purpose is user retention. A/B testing is happening on every site you've ever been to that has any kind of budget, and this is technically a psychological experiment, if you want to call it that ( I wouldn't. )  I would argue that the analytics that facebook performed were more in line with a boutique changing it's display window, ( just with a much much larger data set. ) For example: My neighbor walked by the boutique and saw a smiling mannequin wearing a blue hat, while I walked by an hour later and saw a stuffed bear wearing a red hat. I liked the bear and entered the store and bought the hat.  The owner says 'I gotta keep that bear in the window!' Technically, I was part of an experiment.  I was a guinea pig. They also used my data without my consent. I don't think this justifies a boycott of the store.

    I also disagree with the premise that facebook has a responsibility to act solely in the interest of the users that it provides a free service to.  I disagree that facebook is being evil because it attempts to find new ways to monetize it's product.  As you mentioned, consent is provided by the user who have the option of not using the service, or creating their own social network. 

    Cheers!

  17. Love this!!!!!!
    Im so wanting to leave but I also use it for a small business and is how I get most of my clients.

  18. You made the right choice. And did the same not too long ago. However, I strongly disagree with the "Facebook is not addictive" comment. All your other comments are valid. Except this one. And let me tell you why. We are creatures of "habit". The more we do something, the harder it is to quit. Facebook figured out we are creatures of habit and being social. They know this. And this is why "deleting" is not very easy to accomplish. I personally like Youtube better. It is more educational. Great video! I quit the other day. I just typed in "delete" in the search query and went from there. 

  19. dude i tried with all codes in the console but, anything goes wrong because in the videos with the codes untag, leave groups , charge photos and groups but , the result its undefined like the video but photos leaving groups no, thanks for your help

  20. hey nick when i try to untag all my photos i paste everything, but this is what the console showed to me GET https://fbcdn-creative-a.akamaihd.net/hads-ak-xpa1/t45.1600-4/1487627_6010574908075_1783096545_n.png net::ERR_BLOCKED_BY_CLIENT tHi2Fj-WZj0.js:33
    GET https://fbcdn-creative-a.akamaihd.net/hads-ak-xfa1/t45.1600-4/s100x100/1354193_6011444074358_1608880816_n.png net::ERR_BLOCKED_BY_CLIENT tHi2Fj-WZj0.js:33
    GET https://fbcdn-creative-a.akamaihd.net/hads-ak-ash3/t45.1600-4/e2/s100x100/701903_6008714090640_19410_n.jpg net::ERR_BLOCKED_BY_CLIENT tHi2Fj-WZj0.js:33
    GET https://fbcdn-creative-a.akamaihd.net/hads-ak-xpa1/t45.1600-4/s100x100/1487527_6013189758979_124849036_n.png net::ERR_BLOCKED_BY_CLIENT tHi2Fj-WZj0.js:33
    GET https://fbcdn-creative-a.akamaihd.net/hads-ak-xpa1/t45.1600-4/s100x100/1487574_6012049653616_1889120255_n.png net::ERR_BLOCKED_BY_CLIENT tHi2Fj-WZj0.js:33
    GET https://fbcdn-creative-a.akamaihd.net/hads-ak-xpa1/t45.1600-4/708164_6005370177728_30841_n.jpg net::ERR_BLOCKED_BY_CLIENT 

  21. Good afternoon. No you reach to imagine what I'm addicted to facebook, despite being very critical with unbridled consumerism. the worst thing was I did not want to admit it. A journalist in my country (Colombia) carried an article about your work (http://www.elespectador.com/noticias/actualidad/vice/deberias-salirte-de-facebook-y-deberias-hacerlo-articulo-513530) and I searched and found on youtube. I already ordered my copy of records to Facebook and I have it, but could not understand how unsubscribe page. I speak Spanish and this shows you the'm typing on google translator. Please point me how. thank you very much

  22. I didn't read all the comments so I don't know if you answered this but instead of using your own personally made scripts to delete posts, wouldn't it have been easier to use the absterge extension on Firefox?

  23. Thanks! Before finding your video I was searching all over on how to do this and that before doing anything.
    Thank you again for standing out and helping those of us who want to take control of Our Info.

  24. @hugh i think ello's interesting but far from ideal, i think it's great in the way that they've managed to get people thinking about the terms through which we engage w/ social media, but i don't think its the answer, for a few reasons, but one reason is that it's still centralized && controlled top-down by a small group of individuals, who likely have to answer to VCs or some other entity fronting the bill ( good intentions or not, that's a recipe for disaster )… an ideal social network would be a bit more decentralized ( something that functions similar to the way bittorrent or bitcoin work ) && would finance itself differently ( again in a more distributed way… maybe by integrating some kind of ad network [ though this would have to function very differently from the way it does on facebook ] or some kind of donation / sliding scale based system, or some combination… or something else )

  25. Why don't you do a tutorial on how to leave YouTube and anything of Social Media and then erase itall so we don't have to see you again?
    You probably don't have the balls to do that.
    Tool.

  26. lol awesome, "de activated" my acct a week ago and im dreading jumping back on to delete all my pics and stuff.. thx for the how to video

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