Facebook Data and FOMO

I recently went through and downloaded my Facebook data and I don’t know why I’m so shocked at what they have on me? A lot of it is simple stuff, like when I joined, my previous relationship – which was a joke between an old male friend and myself, my activities – a lot of them are Facebook pages I became a “fan” of which are now just a graveyard of clickbait articles, and my family members. What I find interesting is the contact info.

The contact info is where we find out where Facebook has kept tabs on you, especially if you have Facebook on your Android phone, I’ve gotten rid of the Facebook app in 2016, thus, a lot of the information they have on me in this section is quite outdated – still interesting. It has the people I’ve emailed from my personal email account, like when I had to email Hanabee about an order, and that time I had to email someone about a group project we were doing for class. In between those emails are phone numbers I’ve kept and how many times I’ve contacted them, etc. Since 2016 I’ve had two – three phones, so they aren’t able to know my current contacts, there are the Skype contacts I had and the mobile contacts I kept.

Next, comes my call history. I’m not shocked Facebook has this type of data, it’s Facebook, of course, they’ll try and keep tabs on you. But it just feels – wrong. I’m always under the impression that if you’ve got nothing to hide you shouldn’t be in trouble, HOWEVER; and this is a big however, we all have the right not be searched or held tabs on. I understand that we’re in this world where terrorism is massive, and you don’t know who’s going to organise and plant a bomb, but still. Facebook has my incoming, outgoing and missed calls, number, duration time, name of the caller/callee, and the number label (which Facebook never marks down). It has my SMS/MMS history, though all it lists is the number and whether it’s incoming or outgoing and what date it was sent.

I want to get rid of Facebook, I use it rarely in the first place and the only thing I use it for is Facebook Messenger because that’s where a lot of my group chats are for general talking and for uni group projects. I use it for events, and that’s probably about it honestly, and I can’t get rid of it because of these functions, I know Messenger you can use without a Facebook account but then the app version wants you to connect you to messages so you have one centralised app for Messenger and regular messages. If I try to get rid of it and I do, then how will I know about events, I guess this is very young person of me because I know people can just send me a message to say:

“Hey I’m having a party, come on over at 5pm next week”

But I guess it just comes down to convenience, I’m only a click away and there’s all the information. There are so many articles on the idea of Facebook FOMO, even as far back as 2015 when Social Media was becoming bigger. I use social media, like there’s no tomorrow, I’m starting to get back into Instagram, slowly limiting my use of Snapchat because of their ugly UI, I’ve dropped Tumblr (I still have an account due to the history of it spanning my whole teen years), and I use Twitter more frequently. I don’t feel like you can really 100% disconnect from the Internet, I know a lot of Australian politicians trying to tell us to move to Whoop Whoop because we can’t get a home in the inner city. Which, yeah, but Whoop Whoop doesn’t have fast Internet for people who are freelancers.

A lot of the time, people disconnect due to self-image, on the website Elephant Journal, Ayami Yamamichi posts in 2017 how she was able to get rid of Facebook FOMO, Yamamichi writes that she’s thinking:

I’m not doing enough. I’m worthless.

as she’s scrolling Facebook, then does a cold turkey and gets rid of social media. She asks:

“… is it that easy?”

I don’t believe it is, especially if you’re addicted, I’ve slowly stopped using it and in the month of March I posted 4 times, 1 of them was a shared post so original content is 3. While during her social media detox, she learned that the temptation of checking Facebook goes away rather quickly, the impulse will go, she engaged with people more often and the self-image hatred of getting the likes went away.

Time has an article about How to Overcome FOMO by Eric Barker in 2016, and they researched this ideal of FOMO, where with this idea of missing out, people check their social media a lot, after they wake up, before they go to bed and during meals. In a Linkedin article by Chase Barker (I don’t know of the relation) in 2017 titled FOMO & Dopamine: Why Facebook Live Is Thriving where Barker mentions that people are more concentrated on Facebook Live videos than regular Facebook videos, and it’s because – we have this weird fear of missing out on things, “We crave suspense.” It’s because Live is unscripted compared to videos which may or may not be scripted but we don’t know that.

There are so many places you can look for that dopamine hit, and if you’re looking at the news on Facebook’s current standings, there was a huge movement titled #DeleteFacebook, which I tweeted about (shameless self-promo). I think Facebook has a long way to go to gain back the faith in people, but I think right now, with how high tensions are with the political landscape and global political landscape, it might be something people should be aware of – the data intrusions and the institutions we believe in.


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