Facebook, after all, is how millions of people keep in touch with loved ones, plan weekends and evenings, and engage with like-minded communities. And that’s without touching on the company’s other services, Instagram and WhatsApp, which between them form a trifecta of seeming indispensability.
But I’m here to tell you it can be done – I deleted my Facebook account in 2015, and haven’t looked back.
In the first few weeks after deleting your account, it can be tempting to try and replace every single element of Facebook with a competing service in order to satisfy your idle thumbs’ desire. But before you do, consider whether you could also use this change to overhaul your relationship with your phone, social media and the internet in general. Do you really need to find an alternative website to keep up with the racist tirades of that one guy you went to school with, or the bitcoin pyramid scheme your brother-in-law has been promoting? Couldn’t you just … not?
For most people, if they are honest with themselves, Facebook comes down to three things: pictures, messaging and events.
For messaging, you have got a sliding scale of options, all perfectly decent and, frankly, mostly better than Facebook Messenger itself. If you don’t really care too much about leaving Facebook Inc, and just want to get off Facebook.com, then WhatsApp remains a surprisingly effective alternative. Yes, the service is owned by Facebook, but due to its end-to-end encryption, the company can never access any of your conversations – a far cry from Facebook Messenger itself, which is religiously indexed, catalogued and analysed to better sell you things.
Alternatively, try Signal, a free messaging client on which WhatsApp’s encryption is based. No one harvests your data, it uses phone numbers rather than user accounts, and it’s free and easy to set up.
Paperless Post offers an email-based alternative to the typical Facebook event if you’re trying to do something small-scale and fairly private. Simply add people by their email addresses, get them to RSVP yes or no, and away you go. The service can add to calendars, manage updates to times and locations, and looks fairly classy to boot.
If you’re doing something bigger, Eventbrite is free for non-paid events, and while it charges a small fee to sell tickets, it also handles the billing and admin for you.
I am not going to lie to you: this is where it gets tricky. Facebook is the largest photo-sharing site on the internet; Instagram, the No 2, is also owned by Facebook. Google Photos is a fantastic service, but if anything even more data-scrapy than Facebook. Snapchat … probably isn’t what you’re looking for. Apple’s iCloud Photo Storage doesn’t really work very well, is quite expensive and also only works on iDevices.
If you really want to upload pictures to the internet for public consumption, likes and shares, then your best bets are probably social networks such as or Tumblr. Alternatively, if you want to share bundles of photos with friends and family, you can email or message them instead. Or postcards? Maybe you could get back into postcards.