Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Facebook is a no-no

Of late, Facebook has been in the news, and it's not pretty. Coincidentally, I've been bumping up against a number of items on the "internets" talking about FB, and it's also not pretty. I'm going to limit my editorializing on the topic here, and instead provide links to what I believe are pretty reliable sources - they can speak for themselves. But this is still a long post; apologies for that!

First, there's the issue concerning the privacy of the FB community. It's clear that FB is doing its best to maximize its revenue by providing as much information as it can about us to its "trusted partners." (Don't you love that weasel-word? Whose trust? Not ours...) One way to achieve this is by making it as difficult as possible for us to retain our goddess-given privacy. This year, they have been rolling out a large number of changes to their privacy settings, often without any notice. It got to a point where the maze of settings was incomprehensible to a PhD, let alone us poor "average" users. But there's been a healthy outpouring of discontent, and it now seems that, as I write this, FB is in the process of rolling out yet another update to the privacy settings, this time (supposedly) making it easier to keep our info to ourselves. We'll see.

Meanwhile, this week, it turns out that some serious worms have infected the FB community. It's done via this (IMHO ridiculous) phenom of getting people to "like" whatever the fad-du-jour happens to be. Users are posting warnings like crazy. Here's a good article about it.

Last night, I bumped up against a blog entry, declaring that Facebook owns us - worth a read, the Swedish author makes a compelling case for quitting FB, from a European viewpoint.

But is that enough justification? How about commentary from someone in the U.S., who has posted the Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook. This is a must-read.

So, what if we decide to quit FB? Turns out it's not easy - while you can "delete" your account, even after much cajoling by FB to stay with them, they have a nasty little trick: There is a 14-day period after the so-called deletion whereby, if you click on anything that looks like the blue FB logo (e.g. a "like" button) on any FB-associated website, your account will automatically spring back to life!!! Sneaky, huh? There is a recommended way to finally say bye-bye to Facebook, however - see this page, and scroll down a bit until you get to the pic I've reflected below.

And I'm not even going to delve into the topic of censorship, except to say that it really does seem to happen.

Are there alternatives to FB? It's going to take an upswell of popularity for another social networking site before a viable alternative comes about. Look what happened to MySpace. But I think that Google's new Buzz may just be able to pull it off. You, of course, can help by setting up a Gmail account, or any other association with Google - critical mass is what they need.

Some of you may be asking what I'm going to do about quitting Facebook. Truth is, I've never really liked it - their UI is bizarre (they seem to think that a shitload of buttons on one screen is cool), and I somehow always feel, well, dirty when I'm on FB (don't ask me why, it just has a voyeuristic "feel" to it). So yes, I'm gonna follow the above instructions and quit - if I can - right now. I will keep y'all apprised of any updates!


Anonymous said...

have u quit it yet?

David said...

Not yet. Still playing around with their shit. But it's gonna happen - soon!

Anonymous said...

Don't quit yet! Interesting article and links. Don't like that its hard to delete or that they share my information. However spam mail and manipulative advertising, in my eyes, is a small price to pay for the social God I feel like I've become because of facebook. Thank you facebook. You're just like a drug.

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