Why I'm leaving facebook

I’ve had enough. Some of my friends initiated the boycott a few months back but I wasn’t convinced. I was mistaken. Facebook has, time and again, refused to take action against hate speech and hate groups that operate within the platform. I came up with many excuses to keep using the platform and fabricated many arguments in its favour. Fortunately, I gave it time and now realize that facebook is to blame.

The most popular argument in favour of facebook is this: “boycotting facebook for the reason that it refuses to take action against offensive groups is like boycotting telephone or internet, because facebook is just a medium”. It’s a red herring because facebook is a moderated medium while telephone and internet are not. The admins at facebook have control over the content that gets posted (and they do exercise this control in many instances). If facebook didn’t have the power to remove the offensive pages or if it wasn’t possible for them to moderate them, they’d be home-free but neither of these things is true. So, facebook is not off-the-hook. A better analogy would be that of a newspaper and you should certainly boycott a newspaper if it publishes offensive material. Facebook chooses not to take offensive groups off and for that, they are to blame.

Another argument is that boycotting facebook would make no difference. This is complete nonsense. Every business needs customers and every customer counts. Even if I can get no one else to leave facebook, just the fact that I’m leaving will make a difference to facebook. Besides, muslims are a huge portion of the world’s population and we can always make a difference. It’s really quite easy. Once we boycott one product/service for being offensive to our religion, many alternatives will surface and they would be careful. So, we’ll have what we want and still use our favourite products/services. It just needs a little bit of time (which unfortunately, we’re not willing to sacrifice).

I will not get into a debate of “free speech” versus “hate speech”. It’s fairly obvious to those who think with an open mind that insulting someone’s deep-felt beliefs is not free speech. Regardless of who the target is, insulting their religious beliefs is hate speech. This applies to all religions and no one should be allowed to insult any one else’s religious icons.

A while back, when a Danish newspaper published offensive depictions of our Holy Prophet (sallallaho-alaihe wasallam), I posted the fatwa by Mufti Ibrahim Desai on my blog. You can see it here. I will re-iterate a few very important points here. They are applicable now as they were then:

  1. Express anger and disgust within the framework of the law of the country. Use the law of the country to its full capacity.
  2. Boycott all Danish products and products of anyone else who support Denmark in this issue or even sympathise with Denmark.
  3. Do not confine expression of anger to the cartoon issue. Use the opportunity to express the disgust on Islamophobia in general and highlight some pertinent issues.
  4. Do not conduct ourselves with our fellow non-Muslim citizens in a way that offend them and look for an opportunity to get back at us. We will then be the cause of them showing disrespect to Islam and Islamic values. Always express good character and conduct to all.
  5. The most important issue in expressing our love and honour for Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] is following his Sunnah. Expressing our anger at the disrespect to Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] is important but it will be hypocritical if we do not emulate the outward appearance, beard, dressing, etc. and noble character of Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]. Every one should obtain a kitaab on the Sunnats of Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] and implement that in our lives and pass this over to others.

So, these are the reasons I’m leaving facebook. I’m not de-activating my account. I’m deleting it. I set the date to May 19. I will switch to another service and if that service does the same thing, I’ll move on again. I can live without social networks if I have to.

I urge you all to spread this message.

11 Comments

  1. facebook is not oxygen widout which we wont survive, if we dont have it. but still to protest and to show ur anger or ur views of wat wrong is happening, u need a large audience.
    facebook is providing that to u, like in ur zaid hamid case issue. and the world noticed that u did made a difference there. the point is that the world was present on that plateform so they noticed, but if u select a plateform which has no audience than how will u spread the word.
    still i respect and beleive that u r right about ur views the moderators can control wats going on on fb but they r not.
    i them we also need audience, to spread our word….. we like the same thing yet we think different in fighting it.

  2. It’s our duty to protect our own iman first. Others come afterwards. So, I don’t need an audience. I’m just trying to protect my iman. If I can reach a few others, it’s a bonus. If I can’t, I’m still content. All I would say about this. I will give you the ‘mafhoom’ of a hadith-e-nabavi sallallaho-alaihe-wasallam: [Bewaqoof hai wo shakhs jo doosray ka deen bachanay k liyay apna deen barbad ker de. Aur uss se bara bewaqoof wo hai jo doosray ki dunya bachanay k liyay apna din kharab ker de.]

    (About the ZH case, it was created in the first place because fb was there. Almost all of ZH’s followers are fb people. So, that’s not a very good argument but not the point under discussion here.)

  3. i deactivated my account, how do i delete it?

  4. I’m away from my system right now. I’ll post the link tomorrow inshaallah.

  5. The best way to keep yourself away from such activities that directly targets your emaan is to leave that thing.

    @Mir, we don’t need any audience, the whole muslim ummah is aware of such things happening around these platform(s). We are so much addicted to these platforms that we simply ignore such big issues or simply become part of the anti-activities but dear it can’t help us as the platform is in the hands of those who are part of the whole game against islam & muslims.

    I don’t want to start a new debate just doing what I can do myself in such situations i.e., deleting my account.

  6. Here’s how to delete your facebook account. Remember that you have to stay out for at least 14 days for the deletion to work. If you log-in before then, the whole thing has to be done again. (This is from some group on facebook itself.)

    “Go to:

    http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account

    Click “Submit” and follow the instructions.

    Your account will be deactivated for two weeks, and if you DO NOT LOG IN during that period, your account is permanently deleted. I REPEAT: don’t panic if your profile isn’t deleted right away! You must NOT try to log in to your account for at least two weeks, as it will cancel the deletion request. If you want out – stay out, mmmkay? ;)”

  7. my earlier post was done when i didnt knew about some recent incidents like the one on May 20th. and about fb attitude towards the pages that were against the event. am convinced that u can only fight when the fight is not biased. when they let u wat u want to say and if u capture more than alot of too many ppl to second u, then they take proper action on it,
    but here i found that despite of having like a million or maybe more Muslims protested and created pages against the event and proved that its a direct hit on our eman, still fb didnt removed the draw Muhammad page but removed all the pages that were against the event and the page.

    bottom line, the fight is not fair. i must withdraw.

    thanks brothers for sharing all the facts that i didnt knew.

  8. @Mir, jazakallah for sharing the thoughts.

    Just remember one thing. We’re not exactly “running away” (as some people like to term it) by boycotting fb. We’re fighting the only way we know how. We’re probably doing a very (probably insignificant) damage by leaving fb but it’s much much better than doing nothing at all.

  9. i have no doubt whatsoever that boycotting facebook will make a difference for sure, although we might not notice it or they might not reveal it. its their propaganda which downplays such actions of ours, and somehow they have convinced our gullible youth that they(anti-islam forces) are not susceptible to such boycotts, they are more vulnerable to it than any of us can imagine. when muslims unite on any issue it somehow triggers some real pain in their worthless a**es.

    By the way its a common behaviour in the muslim world to blindly accept/adopt all kinds of products and services originating out of the west while a silent majority in the west outrightly reject them. yesterday i was listening to a web expert on aljazeera english news channel the guy was raising serious objections against the privacy policy of facebook, he himself did not use facebook from its very inception, he decided not to use facebook after reading its terms and conditions. we on the other hand dont care to waste our time in reading the terms and conditions. the expert says that terms and conditions literally mean that facebook cannot be broght to account if it misuses the information posted on their site.

  10. i have deleted my account as well….

  11. good thing is facebook banned till 30th may….
    and i will also delete my account, i guess we can live without facebook 🙂

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