Open letter to Yann LeCun, former Professor at College de France, Head of Research in Artificial Intelligence at Facebook

From Olivier Auber, researcher, Free University of Brussels (VUB)

Subject: Quit Facebook1

Olivier Auber ( To: Yann LeCun (

Dear Yann

as a researcher as you are too, but in another field, that is Natural Intelligence (NI), I would like to address you publicly to let you know that I'm leaving Facebook, probably definitely.

The reason is simple. Facebook is obviously a powerful tool of communication. Many researchers I work with have become accustomed to using it without asking too much questions for their informal exchanges. The conversations that are conducted there are sometimes futile, but often also of the greatest interest.

But I realize that these conversations, in a way, no longer belong to us when they are conducted on Facebook!

The proof is that when you want to leave Facebook, the platform offers to bring with you a summary archive. But this archive does not contain:

  • Links included in your personal posts (just that!).
  • Links that are supposed to be saved (disappeared!)
  • Discussions following your personal posts.
  • Comments left on other posts.
  • Links of posts that you repost.
  • Your address book (you get the names, not the emails and other coordinates theoretically shared with you).

Facebook retains about 90% of the data we are interested in! In addition, when you leave Facebook, beyond a certain number, messaging forbids sending a word to each of the contacts to inform them and collect their details! It's a real hostage taking!

In other words, Facebook looks like a sort of Far West saloon in which alcohol would be free. If you go in, not to drink, but to simply chat with your friends, you realize when you go out that your conversations and your address book no longer belong to you. They belong to the boss of the saloon! To top it off, when you leave the saloon, the boss forbids you to say goodbye your friends!

By this open letter, I wish to alert my colleagues and more generally all professional or independent intellectual workers. Do not post your ideas on Facebook! Do not lead any interesting conversation on Facebook! Instead, choose to chat on free distributed social networks such as Diaspora or Mastodon, shared intelligence platforms like Seenthis, collective drafting tools such as Cryptpad that gives its provider no rights or visibility into what users write!

In particular, my friends, independent researchers or independent artists, do not wait until Mark Zuckerberg, enriched to the extreme by your free work, wants to pay you a basic income. He has no legitimacy to do that at all! Instead, experiment with distributed free money creation networks such as Duniter.

Dear Yann, to conclude, I do not doubt that thanks to your talent and that of the researchers you have gathered, Facebook can one day realize the most powerful Artificial Intelligence. On this day, however, your AI might reign on a desert. Indeed, by behaving like this, Facebook is likely to be emptied of its users. Gone!


Olivier Auber

Attached document: MyFacebookInvoice2

Original publication: