IT’S been 18 months since my partner quit Facebook. I’m pleased to note that after 550-plus days, life as we know it has continued. Undoubtedly we’ve missed birthday drinks, baby pictures and an invite to a bonfire party, but contrary to the usual reasoning, the impact on our social lives has been minimal.

Inspired by his choice, I’ve tapered off my own use, but I think the time has come to cut the cord and get as far away from the platform as possible. Better to leave now of one’s own accord than to find oneself scraping the bottom of the barrel for the only cogent excuses left for staying put.

It’s been 12 years since Facebook was opened up to the public. Surely we’ve all had more than our fill of the site’s currency of everyday personal tedium? But for those of us who have clung on (do we even really know why?), we’re running out of plausible defences ... “gotta have a platform” ... “need it for work”. There are only so many times these variations on a theme can be said through a grimace as they carve whopping great chunks out of our personal integrity. The ship is sinking. I can no longer ignore water in my shoes. I have no desire to go down with it.

Once upon a recent time, the decision to leave was almost politically hip. Like going vegan, or selling your car, quitting Facebook said more about the personal politics of the individual than it did about the site’s place in the world. Friends, that time has passed. The company’s impact on the world, on democracy, on human rights, can no longer be ignored. Its decisions can no longer be excused, its machinery no longer considered benign. Its modus operandi is the provocation of controversy. It is engineered to be maximally addictive so your time and attention can be sold to advertisers. Your psychological manipulation is what makes Mark Zuckerberg a rich man. We are all being played with by our own toys.

Logically, that’s reason enough to depart, but we also have the Paradise Papers leaks, showing sizeable investments in the platform from state organisations with ties to Putin. Then there are the billions of tax dollars in offshore companies. And of course, the diversification into political disruption. The company sold personal information on 87 million users to Cambridge Analytica, the firm that tried to influence the Trump presidential election in the US and Vote Leave during the Brexit referendum campaign. Oh, and Facebook threatened to sue The Guardian if it broke the story. Media strangulation, mass voter manipulation and multiple personal data breaches. And yet we stay.

Let’s not forget the fake news, hate speech, violence and pornography. Or that the site apparently allowed adverts to be placed targeting users on the basis of “white genocide conspiracy theory” – even after the Tree of Life synagogue shooting.

Facebook’s moderation policy has such blatant double standards it’s almost laughable. Posting “men are trash” on a thread about rape and death threats can seemingly earn a woman a place in Facebook jail for 30 days. “Kill Trump” is banned because he’s president, but “to snap a bitch’s neck, make sure to apply all your pressure to the middle of her throat” is allowed because the threat isn’t deemed credible.

It would be laughable if it weren’t so Atwoodian. Here, the racists are generally safe, as are the anti-Semites and the placated misogynists. Hate groups such as the Goyim Defense League or Sandy Hook Hoax are permitted, but heaven forbid a rogue female nipple makes an appearance.

There’s also the small matter of Facebook and the alt-right cesspool. It hired Definers, a Washington-based PR firm, to attack its opponents, with the firm penning and circulating spurious stories on right-wing news aggregators. They targeted George Soros, the frequent subject of anti-Semitic attacks, falsely naming him as the invisible hand behind growing anti-Facebook sentiment.

Hey Zuck – did it ever occur to you that people might just think your company is a bit shit? Maybe people don’t like being manipulated and actually value the little things in life like truth and voter freedom? And then there’s Myanmar. Facebook was used to spread anti-Rohingya propaganda. Military operatives posed as celebrities and used the platform to spread hatred and incite ethnic cleansing. Facebook eventually took down the posts and the accounts but had seemed in no hurry to do so.

All in, it’s tantamount to wincingly dissonant behaviour for a company whose mission is to “bring the world closer together”.

If not this, then what? What will be the thing that weans us off the toxic milk? Another Brexit? Another live-streamed murder? Another genocide on the other side of the world? I don’t want to be in the position that by staying, I give tacit approval to Facebook’s behaviour. I don’t want my mindless scrolling to fund a company with such power and little evidence of a functioning moral compass. So this time this is it.

I’ve flirted before with leaving, only to find myself reluctantly drawn back, in part thanks to work obligations, in part because of the political and interest groups that occasionally offer up something of value – though I can’t ignore the role Facebook has played in the obliteration of internet forums that, while mired in petty group politics, were overwhelmingly run by enthusiasts rather than for profit.

No-one was meddling in elections. No-one was tracking your every move online. We’ve gone backwards here. None of us should willingly surrender a part of ourselves to companies we have a moral duty to avoid. This time, I’m not leaving by the side door. Before 2019 is out, I’ll be avoiding the flirtations of the deactivation option and pressing DELETE with relish.