If you’re ready to quit Facebook, here’s how to replace everything you might miss.
by MAI SCHOTZ
BY NOW, YOU’RE probably aware of the hurricane tearing its way through Facebook. Over the weekend, both The Guardian and The New York Times published explosive reports about the improper use of data belonging to 50 million Facebook users by Trump campaign-affiliated data firm Cambridge Analytica.
The incident is the most high-profile misuse of Facebook’s systems to become public, but it’s far from the only one. Russian propagandists slipped through Facebook’s advertising safeguards to try to influence the 2016 presidential election. In 2014, the social network allowed academics to use the News Feed to tinker with users’ emotions. The United Nations even said earlier this month that Facebook played a role in exacerbating the genocide of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. Facebook itself has admitted that mindlessly scrolling on its platform isn’t good for you.
If all that has you thinking about deleting Facebook entirely, you’re far from alone. (Quitting the social network is also somewhat of a first-world privilege, since for many people Facebook functions as the entire internet itself.) But going cold turkey can be hard; Facebook actually provides useful services sometimes, and there’s no one-for-one replacement.
Fortunately, you can pretty easily cobble together anything you might miss from Facebook with a combination of apps and services. It won’t be the exact same, but at least you’ll be less tempted to go back.
Lots of services can feed you the latest news. Facebook, though, displays the specific stories your friends and family are talking about. If you value that feature, Nuzzel is a great choice. You can sync the app to other social networks you might use, like Twitter and LinkedIn, and it will feed you the articles your friends, as well as friends of friends, are talking about. The app also has a “Best of Nuzzel” feature where you can see the stories being widely discussed across the whole platform.
For more general news that can delight and surprise, try Digg, an aggregation site that prioritizes deeply reported features on a range of topics as well as lots of fun and quirky news stories. And of course, iPhone and iPad owners can always just fire up Apple News if they don’t want to bother setting up a whole new system. None of those fit the bill? Here’s a deeper look at Facebook News Feed alternatives.
One of Facebook’s most useful features isn’t the main app itself, but its spinoff app Messenger. But while Messenger makes it easy to chat with Facebook friends, it’s also confusing and riddled with unnecessary clutter. If you’re looking for a clean and easy-to-use messaging app, try Signal. It’s a free, end-to-end encrypted messaging service, approved by security researchers, that sticks to