A new campaign aims to get people off of Facebook temporarily in response to the company's recently unearthed mood experiments with users. The initiative, created by Dutch ad agency Just, asks people, "do you ever wonder what life is like without Facebook?"
The campaign, called 99 Days of Freedom, is similar to the abstinence pledge. Only instead of preserving virginity, it seeks to improve people's moods through "happiness surveys."
Taking part in the campaign is a straightforward three-part process. Joining the initiative requires posting the campaign's logo as a profile picture and creating a custom countdown clock that runs for 99 days. From there, it's simply a matter of abstaining from logging into Facebook.
"Like a lot of Facebook users, many of us were bothered by reports of secret mood experiments," says Merijn Straathof, Just's art director, in a press release.
Straathof said that as his group held meetings before starting the campaign, people professed to a "complicated" relationship with the social networking service, citing factors such as unforeseen arguments and excessive use. "There was a surprising degree of negative sentiment," Straathof said.
"Then someone joked, 'I guess that the real question is, 'How do you feel when you don't use Facebook?' There was group laughter, followed by, 'Wait a second. That's a really good question!"
While the campaign seeks to loosen Facebook's grip on its 1.2 billion users (the company recently said that people log on to the service 17 minutes per day), Just insists that the initiative is more of a social experiment rather than a plot against the world's biggest social network.
"Facebook is an incredible platform, we're all fiercely loyal users and we believe that there's a lot to love about the service... But we also feel that there are obvious emotional benefits to moderation," says Straathof.
The 99 Days of Freedom campaign works on the honor system. People can decide to renege, or even cheat, on their pledge at anytime. Just has no way of restricting and monitoring access to Facebook. Users who can't hold out for the full length of the initiative can log back on, with no consequences other than a guilty conscience.