Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Best Reasons To Leave Facebook Are The Ones That Make It Hard

I recently deleted most of the pictures, "likes" and a lot of other content out of my Facebook account. As much as I would like to I have not yet closed my account. Far from representing a lingering affection for the system, the reasons I have not closed my account point to some of Facebook's biggest problems.

I quit actively using Facebook after feeling my control over my own account slipping away. This April, 2010 article from the EFF lays out the narrative of the system's deteriorating privacy protections. By the time you get to the bottom of the page there are multiple categories of data you may have had control over when you opened your account that you no longer do.

The problem is Facebook's success. That's not sour grapes or jealousy. It's the fact that my kids, my sister's whole family, dozens of people I work with, musicians I know...not only use Facebook but rely on it for communication. Until I started pulling out it was my main channel of communication with some people.

There is a personal cost to abandoning a system that is so heavily used by so many. This is why Facebook can get away with selling off people's privacy to advertisers. Most people are not willing to risk loosing contact with loved ones based on a threat that is, for most people, pretty nebulous.

I have gone out of my way to inform friends and family that standard e-mail is a very reliable way to contact me and that I can also be reached on Identi.ca. I also have my Identi.ca posts forwarded to Twitter and Facebook.

If more of us do this it will hurt each of us less.


Gary said...


DJ Dual Core said...

At the end of this piece he clearly points out that he is not contrasting publicness with privacy, but with secrecy.