None Of Your Damn Business

Posted Wednesday, May 12, 2010, 4:31 PM

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.

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2 Reasoned Responses:

TS Hendrik said...

I use Facebook but really only to talk to family and promote my blog. Oh and there are a couple fun games. But really I've never understood the fascination with Facebook.

Dags said...

Like all things, I think Facebook will end up being a fad (though a very successful fad), just like Myspace before it. In time you'd have to think that FB will be replaced by yet another brand new and exciting social outlet that everyone will gravitate to. I guess it is interesting to see that even though FB has so many members, it also has an equal amount of detractors and isn't the joyous creation that everyone embraces.

For myself, FB going under is no great loss, especially since I only signed up because I got sick of getting all the "xxxxxx wants to be your friend" emails. Even now I only login when I get an email inviting me to an event or a message appears. So I'm personally not fussed either way.

I know social networking is the big thing these days and people rely heavily on it, but like many concepts along these lines, what starts off promising and new eventually dies from disinterest and of course once things start to go wrong, then people will jump ship in droves.

It'll be interesting to see if FB is still operating in 5 or 10 years time.

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