Tofugu News

    さようなら、Facebook

    words written

    As the title says, we're saying goodbye and deleting our Facebook page for Tofugu (and for WaniKani and TextFugu/EtoEto too). It's not just because of the recent #deletefacebook movement or the revelation that 50 million US Facebook users got their data harvested by Cambridge Analytica, though this did help me to realize something I had known for a couple years now, but never had the courage to actually act on: I don't want anything to do with Facebook.

    Allow me to grab a ladder, because I'm about to get on a really high horse.

    I haven't used Facebook personally in years. When I stopped using Facebook, then Instagram, and finally Twitter, I experienced a mild feeling of withdrawal. Twitter was especially hard for me, and I found myself mindlessly opening a folder on my phone searching for the ghost of my Twitter app. This reaction really made me worried, and I realized that these social networks were nothing short of very real addiction. It made me concerned about what social networks are doing to our mental states, our social lives, our kids, and society as a whole. The more I learned about it, the more worried I became. And, Facebook is the worst of the worst.

    Facebook, and other social networks, make their money on advertisements. They collect an insane amount of data about you, including the recent revelation that they're harvesting some of your phone and SMS data. With this, they design a very personalized experience, one that stimulates the reptile parts of your brain with extremely catered news, stories, gifs, validation from your friends and family (likes and comments), and more. Dopamine gets fired off again and again. Facebook is literally designed to get you addicted to it, and they are programming your behavior. This is not for the altruistic reason of improving your social life. It's because the more time you spend on Facebook (and you spend nearly an hour a day on Facebook and their affiliates), the more advertising money they make. I would be very surprised if social networks didn't end up becoming our generation's cigarettes. Give it a handful of years and come back to quote me.

    The thing is, we at Tofugu took Facebook's bait, hook, line, and sinker. We got caught up in the hype too. We wrote our social copy to compete for your limited attention. We tried our best to pull you away from the important things in life for a click, a like, and a share, which goes completely against our philosophy of trying to help people to learn. Although I didn't realize it at the time, I can see what we participated in so clearly now, and I'm really sorry. I can't put all the blame on Facebook when I just went along with it, 100%.

    I'm not going to say you should quit too. But, I think if you do you'll find yourself more free time to learn, enjoy life, be bored, and spend quality time with others. You may even find yourself become a happier person, too. Anyways, now's the right time for Tofugu to say goodbye, so we're going to do that. We'll probably pull our page in the next day or two, because, ironically, we're going to use Facebook to promote the fact that we're going to be leaving Facebook. I think it's important for people to see that you can both survive and have a happy life without the social network behemoth, whether it's from our message or someone else's. Facebook, sadly, is the best way for us to do that.

    In the meantime, feel free to send us a message on email, or sign up for our newsletter. Those kinds of personal interactions are more valuable and (gasp) more social.

    Cheers,

    Koichi & the Tofugu team