That is the question…
I, like tens of thousands around me, have become very concerned about my personal information and Facebook’s blatant abuse of it. What really started this for me was the visualization of Facebook’s privacy changes. This really got me thinking. I read the Quit Facebook Day site and announced my intentions to quit on my status.
My good friend Mike then posted the following rant on his FB status:
I see people saying they’re quitting FB due to FB’s privacy policies. I don’t particularly care who quits FB for any reason but why are people complaining about this? It’s not a bank or credit card company. They are under no obligation to protect you any more than Google is. If you want to use the service you agree to their terms.
These settings can be manged. Admittedly, they continually change making it very annoying but it can be done. Alternatively, you can simply change your name to say Mike D. and remove personal information from your profile. This is a fun way of keeping in touch with people, not some high security web site for storing all your personal info. Quit being retards and lighten up.
This started an interesting conversation between several of us. The best piece of information from this was the Reclaim Privacy site. If you use Facebook, use this site to check on your privacy settings. I took minor exception to the “retard” comment and referenced the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s essay on “evil interfaces.”
James used the analogy, “complaining about a lack of privacy on Facebook is like walking around naked and then calling people perverts if they look at your wiener.” That was rather funny but I felt it was also a bit flawed:
Second and possibly more important. I don’t care if you guys make fun of my weiner. We’re friends. It is practically a prerequisite! What bothers me is when your friends whom I don’t know – or worse yet, some unknown app or “Liked” group that one of you happens to load/click – now gets to see my weiner without me knowing about it.
Mike still wasn’t buying my argument:
…it still boils down to this…FB is not a medium for securing your personal info. It’s simply a way for us to keep in touch in a common forum. Like I said, change your name to M.A.G. and don’t post personal info like place of work, contact info, etc. You really have no valid complaint. FB is, and should be, allowed to modify the app in any way they see fit. If you were somehow under the impression that FB is the e-version of Fort Knox you were misled.
Rest assured, I do not think that Facebook is Fort Knox. I removed as much personal information as I could – interests, political opinions, quotes that I liked, my education. Today I discovered (a bit naive given that I am in the database field) that once Facebook “knows” something about you, it won’t forget.
I am quitting Facebook. Early on, it was my addiction to Facebook updates that killed my first blog. I want this blog to be the interface for my friends and family to follow my life.
Social networking is an interesting new application. I may return to it when it gets better. Diaspora offers some hope. In the mean time, here are some useful links to consider: