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Facebook is bad for my mental health

Image of the Facebook logo behind broken glass.
Does Facebook make you want to smash your screen?

Dramatically limiting my Facebook use has really helped my mental health. Inspired by the #DeleteFacebook movement, I have dramatically limited my Facebook use.

I haven’t deleted my account, because I do sometimes need to access Facebook for work and it’s very difficult to do so without an account. And there are a few groups that I don’t want to lose access to.

What I have done is to seriously lock down my account for privacy reasons (I’ll probably write a separate post about this in the near future), so I can feel a little more secure about maintaining my account.

In addition to locking things down, I’ve deleted the third-party Facebook app I had been using from my phone. At work, I’ve installed the News Feed Eradicator Chrome extension, so I don’t see my news feed at all. I can still look at pages and groups that I might need to view for work reasons, but don’t get sucked into my news feed. I’ll be adding it to Firefox on my home computer the next time I sit down to do something on that machine.

This means that I basically don’t see anything on Facebook, except for the occasional notification from groups I’m in.

It’s been roughly a week since I’ve had things set up this way. I’ve already noticed a huge impact on my mental health.

I’m happier. I’m less anxious. I’m less angry. I’m less stressed out.

It’s frankly amazing how much better I feel now that I’m effectively not using Facebook except to occasionally check work-related things or to pop into the dads’ group of which I’m a member.

I haven’t given up social media. I still check Instagram, though much less often than I used to. I still very occasionally look at Twitter, although I’ve also removed Twitter from my phone. Mostly, I’ve been using federated social media like Mastodon and diaspora. I’ve also played around with Friendica, which is probably a little closer to Facebook in look and feel than the other two.

So far, I find these networks have much less of a negative impact on my well-being. Partly, this is because they’re designed differently and don’t have intentionally addictive traits built into them the way that the big, corporate, for-profit networks do. And, partly, it’s because the networks are smaller and seem to attract people and conversations that are more positive and less combative in nature than those of Facebook and Twitter.

These benefits could disappear as these networks become more popular, but for the time being they’re friendlier places built on non-exploitative technology.

2 replies on “Facebook is bad for my mental health”

Good call on removing the News Feed. I’ve been mulling over the idea of an adblock list that just targets click-baiting website regions, sections like “see also”, “read this next”, “recent uploads”, “breaking news” — on all sorts of websites. Cross-sells, basically.

I’ve done a little bit of this with custom filters e.g. removing the image galleries on the front page and sidebar of imgur. I’ve noticed real benefits to my productivity. 🙂

I was initially skeptical about removing the news feed, but it’s really done wonders. I’m more productive, because I’m not getting sucked into Facebook for big chunks of time and, as I say above, I’m surprisingly better adjusted. I don’t think I realized just how toxic Facebook had become for me until I mostly stopped using it.

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