There's been a lot of concerns about Facebook lately. Serious privacy-related concerns. What used to be a priority for the social networking juggernaut is now being treated as a liability. Without warning, personal profile information, image galleries, and some posts, which until now had been set as private, viewable only to a few, were changed to be almost exclusively public, available to all. The only way to change that was to go in and set each individually to private again, though even that option wasn't available until after an outcry.
I had never ventured into Facebook until very recently, when I started to get so many links to the site, of the "Hey, look at this" or "I've been discussing this here" or "Wonder what your old school friends are doing now?" variety, all pointing to Facebook, and not visible unless I was signed up.
So I signed up.
It was not much fun to wade around in, and was decidedly cluttered and non-intuitive. And 90% of what I found was boring, meaningless, or badly organised. But maybe, I reasoned, if I stuck it out, there would be a benefit I could get from it.
After two months, nothing has sprung into view. It seems to be a bit of a dead zone full of inconsequential dullness.
It was the principle of it all that caused me the most worry. My own profile information was safe-ish, I had gone in and set the privacy settings to a reasonable level, but I am worried for other Facebook users, and for what this means to personal information online, generally. It's a frightening precedent to set, does exactly what many Web users have long been paranoid about, and is therefore unacceptable.
I figure the best way to express my distaste at this direction that it is heading is to quit Facebook. Judging by the upset murmurs around the web, I am anticipating as much as a 50% drop in membership activity for it over the next year. That may not be good for Social Networking, but would be a good indication of what users expect of online privacy.
Plus Mark Zuckerberg, the guy who invented Facebook, seems to be a bit of a dick.
So I have cancelled out of Facebook, deleted my account, never to return.
I'm still on Twitter, though.
3 days ago