Why Arrive is no longer on Facebook

Today Arrive Rides made the decision to shut down its Facebook account.

As Facebook’s privacy neglects have piled up, I’ve personally considered shuttering my own account. But I felt trapped by my business’ account. Social media is supposed to be the holy grail of marketing for small businesses with limited budgets.

But the news coming out of Facebook has just been too bad, too egregious for me to ethically want to keep my company a part of it.

The tipping point actually wasn’t the Cambridge Analytica revelations last week (nor Facebook’s glacial acknowledgement of that data breach). It was those news stories humming in the background as I followed up with Arrive’s first-ever leads acquired through Facebook.

We’d placed a series of “leads ads” on the social media site. Basically, if someone saw our ad and clicked “Learn More,” we’d receive their full name and email address. For a small business, this seemed like a great way to find customers interested in our service.

But as I followed up with them it became clear that these people had no idea why I was in touch with them. They certainly didn’t know that Facebook was handing out their email addresses.

It felt icky.

My business is a lifeline for families struggling to ensure their older loved ones get reliable transportation to doctor’s appointments, hair salons and friends’ houses. When we launched, it felt like everyone told us we’d spread like wildfire through Facebook — we thrive on word-of-mouth recommendations. And today the “mouth” is social media.

But today, we’re going to choose to believe that good ideas can find another way. We choose to live in a world that is respectful and kind. And if my company doesn’t have the same moral compass as I do, what’s the point of being a founder?