Ads prompted me to leave Facebook and probably Instagram as well
A little bit over a year ago, I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. At the time, it wasn’t mentally healthy for me to be on the application any more. It sucked me into politically divisive posts, meaningless sponsored content, time-consuming endless rolling and jealousy from posts by those whom I know. At first, the change was tough, but it gradually got easier and now I don’t even feel like coming back to Facebook. (One tip: don’t sign in your Messenger app as you will be automatically signed in on your Facebook account as well)
The same scenario is happening right now with Instagram. I am not on it as often as I used to any more. It’s hugely annoying when you have to see one ads every three posts. The ads are not even relevant. I even took the time to complain to Instagram on the frequency and irrelevancy of the ads, but of course, they don’t listen. At this rate, I am probably going to leave Instagram as well soon in the near future.
Personally, I have seen a change in how I consume these social networking apps. I no longer have the urge to know what people in my circle are posting on a daily basis. Usually, people post to share (boast) beautiful pictures of food, fancy places, travel or relationships. Of course, I am interested in knowing good things that happened to my friends. I am happy for them. On the other hand, I’d like to see more on their daily struggles and less fancy aspects of their lives. But of course, such stories are not told on Instagram or Facebook. Plus, we are prone to jealousy of others after their feel-good pictures. At this point of my life, I don’t need to muster any effort to avoid jealousy. I’d love not to have it in the first place.
Nowadays, I prefer individual conversations with friends either on Whatsapp, Hangout, iMessage or Viber. These conversations allow me to know more about them without distractions, annoying ads or jealousy.
Low expectation for Facebook
I think that Facebook needs to turn it down a bit in trying to monetize their apps. Pushing ads down users’ throats will destroy user experience and eventually, negatively affect the appeal of the apps to advertisers. So far, they haven’t done any of that. The crazy bombardment of ads on Instagram pisses me off. Additionally, after the recent departure of Instagram’s co-founders, all original founders of Facebook’s most notable acquisitions (Whatsapp & Instagram) left because of disagreements, reportedly, with Facebook’s executives and lack of independence. These founders prioritize products and user experience. Their departures speak volume on where Facebook is headed to.
Right now, Facebook is still the king. They own four apps, each of which has more than one billion active users. But when users’ behavior changes over time while they keep feeding us useless and irrelevant ads, I doubt that such dominance will be sustainable. On top of that, Facebook will have to deal with the issue of hate speech vs free speech, something that I don’t think can be fixed anytime soon.