"99 Days of Freedom from Facebook" Boycott Campaign Totally Failed

Have you ever been scanning headlines about online privacy and caught yourself thinking, "Man, I should really just deactivate my Facebook and never, ever log in again?" Sure. Everybody has. But that doesn't mean this "99 Days of Freedom from Facebook" boycott campaign, a response to Facebook's creeptacular emotional experiment, worked. In fact, it totally failed.

Why? Maybe because people only love to talk about deactivating their Facebook, or about how they never really use the service any more, or about how completely lame it is that all anyone does on Facebook is post viral stuff they've already seen or pictures of their progeny. If those things aren't their problem, they may love to talk about how Facebook is tracking their online purchases, manipulating their emotions, and generally wreaking havoc with reams of their private data. But only a handful ever seem to actually follow through on their "threats" to deactivate their profiles.

The campaign, launched by Netherlands-based "creative communications agency" Just, calls itself "an online study on how life without Facebook impacts user happiness." According to a news release, the whole thing is about getting happier by unplugging — a pretty common sentiment in the 21st century.

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Merijn Straathof, the company's art director, said they picked 99 days because...it seemed right.

We had a lot of arguments about the experiment’s duration. If it’s too extended, participants will lose interest. If it’s too short, there’s no meaningful behavioral change to assess. In the end, we landed on a 99-day program with periodic surveys and posts, hoping that such interaction will serve as a support group of sorts. As everyone at our firm is participating in the experiment, we’ll be testing that one first-hand.
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K, we're sort of with you on the concept, Strahan — everybody could use a break from social media once in a while — but I'm pretty sure people who actually take the initiative to delete, deactivate, or just stop logging into their Facebook profiles aren't doing so for the purpose of logging into another system where they can take surveys, write posts, and communicate with others.

Maybe that's why the whole thing seems to be failing, as ABC affiliates reported on Thursday. As of this writing, less than 5,000 people had signed up, according to a ticker on the initiative's site. Unfortunately for the success of the campaign, Facebook has more than 1 billion active users. It is like the McDonald's of websites.

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Look, Netherlands-based communications agency. No one's happy Facebook decided to go all Brave New World with the mood manipulation thing. But as it turns out, no matter how many potentially embarrassing messages from your former self still exist somewhere in the annals of Facebook history, old habits die hard. Either that, or people still kind of like Facebook.

Images: Getty (4)