Over the last few months, I’ve spent more and more time on Reddit and less and less on Facebook. Between the “like farming” of pages using images of sick children, injured pets or soldiers reuniting with their kids to make money and the ever-changing screwy algorithms used to determine who gets to see what statuses without paying for the experience – I’d like to just dump a virtual can of gasoline on my account, flick a digital match and hit “deactivate your account” (the online version of walking away). Unfortunately, too many of our fans are still on Facebook so I haven’t made that drastic move. Not yet anyhow.
Here are 5 reasons I’ve decided to spend more of my time on Reddit instead of Facebook, in addition to spending my money on one instead of the other:
While Facebook constantly tweaks their privacy settings for users (now allowing anyone to look someone up by name) or changes their data use policy, Reddit does not. Want to be anonymous on Facebook? Good luck with that.
2. Greed resulting in smaller exposure
Facebook decides what you get to see. Reddit doesn’t. Due to going public with their stock offering, Facebook now has to find ways to constantly create dividends for the shareholders or risk an insurrection. Reddit is owned by Advance Publications but they have a very hands-off policy and allow the site to fend for itself, even when it means losing money. Facebook says, “give us $400 and we’ll allow everyone who likes your page to see your link… maybe,” and Reddit says, “hey dude, we’re running a bit in the red this month so while you’re looking at /r/explainlikeimfive or /r/atheism, could you toss the site a few bucks so we can pay for the servers?” I’ll gladly give them a few bucks because they’re cool like that.
3. Using your information against you
Facebook uses your account information to advertise to your friends, often erroneously. During the 2012 election, I often saw ads suggesting I “like” Mitt Romney’s Facebook page because supposedly some of my friends did as well. No, not just some of my conservative friends who actually planned on voting for the guy but also many of my liberal friends who were absolutely appalled that Facebook would even hint that they would consider subscribing to Romney’s Facebook page. Turns out, people were having pages added to their collection of “likes” without their knowledge or consent.
4. Privacy… Again. The differences are stark.
Reddit takes your privacy very seriously. Maybe too seriously. Maybe to an extreme. In 2012, the website Gawker.com got banned across much of Reddit when the writer Adrian Chen exposed the real identity of /u/ViolentAcrez who admittedly ran some very creepy and possibly illegal subreddits – including one called /r/jailbait. However, this was (in my opinion) the action of a reporter to publicly expose or “dox” someone for notoriety and web traffic instead of relaying concerns to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
5. Real people making real decisions. You’re not going to be banned based on computed algorithms.
Facebook often relies on automated processes to decide whether content is appropriate or not. In the past, I’ve had my profile suspended for a photo mocking the KKK or even a massive report against sharing an article supportive of Malala Yousafzai. They tend to rely on algorithms which judge the number of reports (true or not) when removing content or suspending profiles. This is a process in which 10 reports can be filed against hate-filled racial rant and all will be ignored but 1,000 false reports can be filed against something legitimate in an hour or two, and the person or page sharing it will be suspended. Reddit admins will only suspend someone site-wide for blatant spamming or other abuses of their systems such as vote manipulation as well as obvious plagiarism or content theft.
I haven’t left Facebook – not yet anyhow. But every day that I see a “boost post” pop up when I go to post something on my page, I get a little bit closer.
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