Online privacy and data security has been a growing issue for a number of years, especially with large social media sites like Facebook. Data breaches are regularly being reported in the media but who knows how many times our data has been sold, shared or used without our knowledge.
There are also issues like this.
As a small business in what could be described as a lifestyle niche, Facebook and Instagram are generally considered essential platforms for getting the word out, so they are difficult to avoid. But I hope that by creating a community here on the blog, along with Substack and Discord, I can create a safe and welcoming place for us to discuss sustainability issues and share ideas on how we can work towards positive change.
Signal vs Noise published a post a few years ago on what it means to be Facebook-Free:
1. We do not buy advertisements on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, or WhatsApp.
2. We do not use Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, or WhatsApp to promote or represent our business or to communicate with our customers.
3. We do not assist Facebook in its data collection regime through the use of Facebook social Like buttons or by offering Facebook logins.
Points 1 and 3 I can easily support. I won’t be purchasing ads on Facebook’s platforms or promote Facebook social and Like buttons. Honestly, that’s relatively easy. Not using Instagram is the bigger issue for me as it’s so difficult to reach a wide audience and grow a community without it. I feel like the right thing to do would be to drop Instagram but for now, I can’t quite bring myself to do it. It has always been my favourite social media platform and it’s a great way to keep in touch with distant friends. I wish it wasn’t owned by Facebook! I’m open to ideas on what to do about this. Should I delete my Instagram account? Would you?
As for the community aspect of social media, I’m sidestepping that by creating my own community. I have my newsletter platform on Substack. This weekly newsletter is available both online and via email. It will always be free but I might add a premium section in the future for paid subscribers who would like to support my work and receive exclusive benefits. For now though, all the content there is open and completely free. You can join the free newsletter here or read the archives.
While Substack does have a comments section at the bottom of each newsletter, we also have a discord channel for group chats, sustainability discussions, question and answer sessions and general chat. It’s a place you can meet like-minded people and it’s free and open to everyone. Use this invite link to join. If you don’t know much about discord you can read about it here. You can access it via your browser or download the app.
At this stage, I still have personal accounts and other business accounts on Facebook and Instagram. I will never give money to any Facebook business again but I will retain these accounts until I can find alternative platforms to keep in touch with friends and family who are only on Facebook and Whatsapp.
I’ve removed as much personal data as possible from my personal accounts and don’t use Facebook to login to any other websites. I suggest you do the same but it’s probably too late for many of us as much of our private data is already out there after multiple breaches from multiple websites and apps.