Horror writer Stephen King is the latest high profile star to take a stand against Facebook over concerns about both privacy and political advertising. King, whose account had almost six million followers, said he was “not comfortable” that the social network is allowing politicians to use it to spread lies and misinformation through political ads.

“Nor am I confident in its ability to protect users’ privacy,” he added, in a message on Twitter this week.

Good for King.

As much as I would like to delete Facebook and know it would be the right thing to do to stop being one of its commodities, I would genuinely miss the platform for its ability to connect me to a host of people, information and local events I would not otherwise know about.

In many respects, sadly, it has replaced the role of local newspapers in small towns across the UK. Certainly, in areas of England where local newspapers do not have a broad appeal, it has become the go-to for people to keep up-to-date with what’s going on locally as well as being a straightforward and useful means of finding services from builders to dog sitters and everything in between.

Where I live in Kent, we have a Facebook group for locals, that has the answer to almost every query imaginable from where to find entertainers for a children’s party to how to decide on the best breastfeeding pump. Those engaged with the group are a wealth of information and you rarely wait more than an hour for an answer to any question.

Sadly though, we’ve been fooled into believing we are getting all of this valuable information for free.

The more we learn about Facebook, through investigative journalists such as the Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr and films like The Great Hack (watch it if you haven’t already), the clearer it’s becoming that we have paid – and continue to pay – a high price for using the social network.

It’s not just the fact users have helped make Mark Zuckerberg the sixth-richest man in the world, which I may have fewer objections to if I felt he was being accountable to his customer base. No, the real price is the fact that we have been handing over our data, most of it unwittingly, to Facebook to mine and sell as one of the most valuable commodities in the world at present.

It’s not just the information we willingly put out there, which Facebook collects to build a profile of each and every one of us. It is also tracking us when we engage with different companies or organisations that in turn pass it information and then this data is used to target us with ads relevant to our “interests”. Even with the app turned off, we are being tracked when we use certain other apps on our device.

As of last week, each of Facebook’s two billion users can see the data that’s been collected about them over the last 180 days.

And sticking to a promise Zuckerberg made at the height of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018, users can now “clear the history” in accounts, which – in theory – should delete the data from your profile.

It is one step in the right direction, even if it’s pretty late in the game.

Writing in a column for The New York Times last week, the billionaire philanthropist George Soros said that Zuckerberg and Facebook would help re-elect Donald Trump in 2020, thanks to a developing “informal mutual assistance operation or agreement”.

Soros wrote: “I believe that Mr Trump and Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, realise that their interests are aligned – the President’s in winning elections, Mr Zuckerberg’s in making money.”

We can take a stand against some of Facebook’s practices, even if we can’t bring ourselves to be like King and delete the app altogether. We can stay informed of account changes and ensure we limit the information we provide, by opting out of Facebook’s ability to collect information on us wherever possible.

I’d like to say we could also rely on politicians to take better action to protect us from the incessant collection of our personal information.

And don’t get me wrong, some have made tangible moves to hold Zuckerberg to account and bring forward regulation.

But with Facebook’s latest decision to “support free speech” by resisting pressure to ban political ads,

I can’t help feel there’ll be little impetus on many politicians to do anything to change the status quo.

After all, many of them are the beneficiaries of this stance, allowed to spend huge amounts of money to target potential voters with information, whether true or false.

As Soros said, it’s a win-win situation for Trump, and I’d add for any politician like him.