Why we're leaving Facebook and Instagram
As the CEO of Mangomint, it is my responsibility to do what’s right by the company and its stakeholders.
That last word — “stakeholders” — is interesting. To us, this means not just our customers, partners, employees, and shareholders, but also the communities that we are part of.
Today we’re making a move that makes no sense from a business perspective, will cost us money and slow our growth, but is in my view very important when defining the word “stakeholders” the way we do:
Moving forward, Mangomint will no longer be active on Facebook and Instagram. We will stop all advertising, remove all previously posted content, and delete all links and tracking pixels from our website. We’re doing this for ethical and moral reasons which I’ll explain further below.
But first, please let me clarify that we don’t intend to judge or alienate anybody who cannot make such a decision. We know that many of you are running businesses that heavily depend on Instagram, and its parent company Facebook, for marketing purposes.
Mangomint has also benefited from advertising on these platforms and has been able to reach people who would not have heard of us otherwise.
So why are we doing this?
The short answer is because it is my conviction that Facebook is currently one of the most destructive and harmful companies for society, and its leadership has decided to ignore massive problems in favor of profit.
Research shows that Instagram is directly linked to a sharp increase in suicide rates, especially among teenage girls. This was not only concluded by several independent studies, but recently leaked documents also reveal that Facebook itself conducted a study that definitively confirmed these findings but decided to keep it secret.
You will find links to several resources at the end of this article, if you haven’t been following the news about this topic, and would like to learn more.
It’s been well documented that the algorithm favors outrage and extreme opinions over more balanced arguments and nuanced debate. This leads to more time spent on the platform, which is important for Facebook because the longer you scroll through their apps, the more money they make from advertisement.
To be clear, I’m not saying that Facebook doesn’t have many benefits. It certainly has allowed me to stay connected with friends and family and I’ve often enjoyed spending time on Instagram. Many small businesses have successfully used these platforms to grow, which is great.
The problem is that the negatives far outweigh the positives. If Facebook had better leadership that decided to prioritize fixing some of these issues, I think the story could be very different.
But instead Mark Zuckerberg (CEO) and Sheryl Sandberg (COO) have willfully ignored these problems for years, while growing their wealth by tens of billions of dollars.
In my view, they are no better than tobacco company executives in the 1970s who spread doubt as to whether smoking was in fact harmful to kids.
Because of all that, I have decided that Mangomint cannot directly or indirectly support Facebook by any means. We will not post content, build any integrations, and definitely not spend any more advertising dollars.
I understand and respect that some of you may come to different conclusions. When running a small business, making sure there are enough clients coming in is essential and if you believe that being on Facebook or Instagram is necessary for that, I would never suggest that you should stop being there.
There’s also a chance that some of you will feel even stronger about this and decide that you don’t want to use salon and spa software without any Facebook or Instagram integrations. We hope this will not be the case but we would certainly respect that too.
The bottom line is it's the right thing to do.
What will we do instead?
In terms of social media, we are going to take a break for now, although it appears that TikTok and Snapchat are more thoughtful about these topics, so it’s possible that we might explore these platforms more.
In addition, we will shift our focus more towards high-quality marketing, producing content that is helpful and valuable to our salon and spa customers, and working with partners that share our values in order to get the message out.
Where can you learn more?
If you're short on time, watch this 15 minute YouTube video which is a great summary of what's been happening.
Also, kudos to Professor Scott Galloway (NYU Stern) and tech journalist Kara Swisher, who have been talking about this for years now on their excellent podcast "Pivot".
If you'd like to dig in more, here are a few places you could go visit:
Frances Haugen's opening statement at senate hearing on Oct 4
NBC (2017): Is Social Media Contributing to Rising Teen Suicide Rate?
If you have any thoughts or comments about this topic, I'd love to hear from you directly. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.