Louis Barclay

@louisbarclay

Dear Mark Zuckerberg, Here’s $20 That I Stole From You

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

I’d like to apologise.

One year ago, I was scrolling down my Facebook News Feed — that fake news-filled, humblebrag-stuffed, targeted ad-crammed, never-ending pile of crap — when I decided I’d had enough. I wanted the News Feed out of my life, for good.

But I also wanted to keep the useful parts of Facebook, like events and messages, and stay friends with everyone I knew.

That’s when I stumbled across Facebook’s Achilles’ heel — the feature that lets you ‘unfollow’ people and pages so they don’t appear in your News Feed.

I wondered: what would happen if you took this feature to its limit? So I unfollowed literally everyone and everything, and a beautiful thing happened: I ended up with a completely blank News Feed.

It was blissful. It felt like I’d hacked Facebook — like I’d chosen for myself how to use your social network, instead of letting you choose for me. Now, the News Feed feeds me precisely no content at all, whether I go to it on my phone or my computer or any other device.

Unfortunately for you, that means I no longer see your creepy, but highly profitable, targeted ads. Which is why, in the same envelope as this letter, I’ve enclosed a crisp $20 bill — to make up for the year of ad revenue I stole from you.

Sure, I’m down a few bucks. But I’ve gained hundreds of hours of my life back from a morally bankrupt tech behemoth that was literally selling my time to the highest bidder. Seems like an OK deal to me.

Cheers, and buy yourself something nice!

Louis

P.S. You made a resolution this year to ‘[make] sure that time spent on Facebook is time well spent’. So maybe you could give your users the option to delete their News Feeds by pointing them towards a tool I made, Nudge, which does the job of unfollowing everything for you automatically? You can find it at nudgeware.io — or you can buy it off me for $100 billion. (Cash only please.)

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