So, you want to quit Facebook?


Just after waking, the first thing many people across the world, and increasingly in Nepal, do is pick up their mobile phones. Social media now connects not just people, but is deeply rooted in our everyday lives. It has become an addiction, a cure for boredom, a source of information (and entertainment), a new form of escapism.

Research has shown that social media addiction is an established mental health condition. This week, US lawmakers introduced a bill that would require platforms to deactivate algorithms designed to keep users hooked to their sites.

 Read also: 

Nepal’s new digital landscape, Sonia Awale

Symptoms of internet addiction are insomnia, irritability, lack of appetite, difficulty in focussing on the task at hand, and distraction. Addicts have a hard time making even simple decisions or taking action because there is too much to consume. It can also divert them from what’s really important.

As a result, the number of people who want to disconnect and deactivate their social media accounts (‘commit Facebook suicide’) is growing even in Nepal.

“I was using many social media platforms. Choosing the right one to post my content was becoming overwhelming. Then there was the pressure to keep posting content. I shared my personal feelings on social media, but it was a false sense of security,” recalls Manoj Bohora, who decided to take the '30-day No Social Media Challenge’ in February.

Read also: The message is the medium, Editorial

"I took part to see what would happen if I totally disconnected. It takes 28 days to get rid of the habit, and I wanted to change desperately,” he recalled.

Bohora was social media manager for International Youth Media Summit and being online was a part of work. Now, he gets around it by scheduling posts weeks ahead. He says the 30-day challenge helped him re-connect with friends and family in real time and improved his concentration. He started using reliable websites for information rather than being dependent on friends’ posts.

Today, Bohora uses only Facebook and Instagram, and limits online time to under 15 minutes daily. “In the long run, I think I will quit social media altogether, but I am not sure yet,” he smiles.

As far back as 2001, Norwegian anthropologist Thomas Hylland Eriksen published Tyranny of the Moment: Fast and Slow Time in the Information Age, analysing Internet consumption. But that was even before Facebook, Twitter, and all the other apps that came later. In a research paper, Eriksen claimed human beings were ‘in the process of becoming enslaved by the technology that was supposed to liberate us’. That was then. Nearly two decades later, things have gotten much worse.

Read also:

Digital detox, Nepali Times

Facebook nation, Madhu Acharya

The rapid spread of mobile phones in the past five years means that more and more people are seeking instant gratification through their devices. More than 96% of households in Nepal have mobile phones, some have several, and 92% of individuals have one. Nearly all Nepalis who use the Internet do so with their smart phones (see adjoining review).

According to Madhu Acharya from Sharecast Initiative, which conducted a social media survey of Nepalis last year, the number of social media users is also rising. Some 88% of Internet users are on Facebook, 45% are on Messenger and 34% use YouTube. Although the numbers are smaller for Twitter, there is a multiplier effect because its users are opinion-makers and influencers.

But even Acharya says he has felt the impact of Internet addiction, and is thinking of quitting, or at least limiting the time he spends on it. But it is not easy for internet addicts to be on the wagon.

Read also: Nepalis are drifting to digital media, Madhu Acharya and Bhumiraj Chapagain

Says Sashi Shrestha, who runs an FM music show: “Social media is integrated into our lives — if it is not Facebook it is Viber or other apps. You either have to cut off all communication or find a platform you like. It is not easy to get out of social media completely. But what I can do is focus on certain applications that meet my requirements.”

Shrestha still uses Instagram and Reddit, but adds, "It has been almost two years since I have not touched Facebook. It was taking a lot of my time, and the information was half-baked. I was not learning anything from it.”

Nevertheless, social media in Nepal is now a potent medium for social activism, creating common ground for people to join causes together. It has expanded the horizons of Nepalis beyond our borders. In 2011 #occupywallstreet inspired Nepal’s #occupybaluwatar. The global #Metoo movement had an impact here as well.

Read also: Nepal’s changing media landscape, Sharecast Initiative

But in summary, overuse is easy and addiction has a serious downside. Arjun Dhakal of the online discussion group NNSD, an early proponent of the internet as a medium that democratised information concludes: "Addiction to Facebook has also affected activism for causes like environment or social justice. People now think that liking or sharing something on social media is enough, and they do not have to contribute in a more meaningful way to the cause. This is easy, but it is not organised and does not have an impact on bringing reform.”

Getting out of Facebook

You can either deactivate your Facebook account, or delete it. Deactivating means people cannot find you, and you can still come back and Facebook will have saved your content. Deleting is irreversible, but takes a few days for your page to stop appearing, and up to 90 days for FB to dump your content, but your messages will still remain.


  1. Click on Account Menu at top right corner of Facebook page
  2. Select ‘Settings’
  3. Choose ‘General’
  4. Click ‘Manage your account’
  5. Press ‘Deactivate your account’ and confirm

If you change your mind, you have to write to Facebook, and say sorry I changed my mind and I want back in. Log in Facebook using e-mail and password.

First, download and store your content by:

  1. Click Account Menu at the top right
  2. Click ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’
  3. Choose ‘Start My Archive’
  4. Store downloaded data.


  1. Click down Arrow at the top right of any Facebook page.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Your Facebook Information in the left column.
  4. Click Delete Your Account and Information, then click Delete My Account.
  5. Enter your password, click Continue and then click Delete Account.

Read also: Face-to-face with Facebook, Nepali Times

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