These students are leaving Facebook

More than 31,000 Dutch people will be saying goodbye to Facebook after television presenter Arjen Lubach made an appeal to do so. Three RUG students explain why they’ve had enough of the social network.
By Thereza Langeler / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

‘Pretty scary’

Sara van der Sloot, Master Writing, editing and mediating

‘Tonight at 8 p.m., which is when Lubach’s Bye Bye Facebook event is planned, I will be leaving Facebook. It’s pretty scary, really. But the fact that it scares me is kind of disturbing, so it’s probably a good thing that I’m leaving.

I’ve been spending too much time on Facebook for years, really. But it was such a large part of daily life: it was used to plan parties, my sports club used it for announcements, the police and government communicate through Facebook. But that’s pretty bad actually, not being able to do without a commercial website.

Facebook has so much power. Ads based on demographic data are fine I guess, but that the site can recognise whose camera took a picture based on spots on the lens… Why do they insist on taking it further every time? Don’t the basics earn these people enough money? My hope is that one day there will be a worthy replacement. A social medium that does treat our personal information with care.’

‘Automatically searching for the button on my phone’

Bjorn Bakker, PhD at the Faculty of Medical Sciences

‘I’ve been thinking about quitting Facebook for about a year now. There are so many things that don’t really interest me. Albums full of vacation pictures… I’d rather hear about a vacation from someone in person.

What stopped me before that Facebook is the only medium through which I’m still in contact with a few people I knew a long time ago. Then again, if I truly wanted to talk to those people I would’ve done that a long time ago. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll miss it. I’ll probably be automatically searching for the button on my phone for a while, but that’ll fade as well.

I do still have Google account, for my e-mail and YouTube, and a Spotify account. That’s it. Google knows a lot about its users as well, but I also take into consideration how useful a certain medium is. Facebook just isn’t useful to me, but I use Google a lot.’

‘The push I needed’

Jack Storey, Bachelor European Languages and Cultures

‘Facebook has become increasingly important over time. People basically feel unable to live without it, which is obviously not true. And it’s not like Facebook only gets what you give it; the site owns much more information. I’ve always had sort sort of a love-hate relationship with it. Before you remove your account you can download your user data, and I saw that I had quit Facebook about one hundred and fifty times before.

Arjen Lubach’s video was the final push that I needed. It just shows that everything we thought about Facebook is true. Lubach needs the internet and social media to reach his audience, so the fact that someone like him is willing to go so far, to actually leave Facebook – that means something.

So far, the people I’ve told have been sort of confused. But when I explain to them why I’m removing my account, they’re like: huh, yeah, maybe I’ll do the same. It’s not like it’s going to be a weight lifted off my shoulders once I’ve deleted my Facebook account, but at least I’ll never have to think about it again.’


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