Dumping Facebook for Lack of Privacy

Surely it can’t be a coincidence that as Facebook’s privacy has devolved into something laughable non-existant in the past four years, there seems to be a growing movement to dump the service all-together. 

From Barry Hogard:

I work on websites every day, including my own such as the art calendar ArtCat. I did not start out with one privacy policy for the calendar, and then gradually claim the right to use more and more information submitted to us. For example, I could offer a list of contemporary art galleries for sale to advertisers or artists looking for representation, but that would be wrong because it’s not what the galleries expected when they gave information to us. However, given the changes in Facebook’s privacy policy since 2005, they would consider this perfectly reasonable behavior.

Hogard also highlights these articles when considering your privacy on Facebook:

Sean Bonner proposes an interesting dilemma when it comes to Facebook, outside the parameters of privacy.  He asks:

If someone told me they liked me and cared about what was up in my life but couldn’t be bothered to reach out to me, ever, and only would stay in touch if my life was handed to them effort free I’d think they were a shitty friend and insincere about their feelings towards me. So turning that mirror around on myself and what else can I think?

Or, as Joanne McNeil puts it:

I’d rather be a considerate friend to fifteen people than a negligent one to 1,500. And if the “post-privacy” future means having the same conversation with your boss, your boyfriend, and your grandmother, I’ll be that like that old lady who faxes replies to all her text messages.

Perhaps.  For me, Facebook has created the illusion of being a friend.  I don’t have any data to back this up, but I feel like I’ve become a worse friend to teh people I care about since I joined the service, what?, three years ago?  I don’t send as many emails, I don’t make as many phone calls, I don’t make as much an effort.  Which is unfortuante, because I was always the one person who knew what was happening in the lives of others and passing along tidbits in the giant game of friendship telephone.  Now?  I’m a defunct switchboard. 

Effort and privacy are two things that you should think about when either joining the service or making the move to delete your account.

Or you can just resign yourself to the mitigated realities of the day like Alesh Houdek:

And honestly, “my privacy,” whatever the fuck that means, does not seem like a hard price to pay. Even if facebook is straight-up evil (as all evidence currently suggests), deleting my account does not seem like a reasonable response.

It’s the new, wonderful, status quo. Unlike friendster and myspace, no reasonable competitor will soon emerge, because FB now has such a huge user base that there’s no way to see an alternative emerge, because there’s no way all 90% of my friends are going to simultaneously realize the corporate evil that looms and switch to some as-yet-nonexistent alternative (which, let’s face it, might easily be even worse in the long run).

All that’s left is to minimize the damage: I’m not accepting any “app” requests on the ‘ol FB, I’m minimizing the stuff I share, and, whenever possible, I’m moving contact with the people I care about (e.g. chat, events, email) to other online venues. It’s all pretty scary.

A decent final word from Matt McKeon:

This blog post by Kurt Opsahl at the the EFF gives a brief timeline of Facebook’s Terms of Service changes through April of 2010. It’s a great overview, but I was a little disappointed it wasn’t an actual timeline: hence my initial inspiration for this infographic.

Let me be clear about something: I like Facebook. It’s helped me reconnect with dozens of people with whom I’d lost touch, and I admire the work their team does.

I hope your takeaway from this infographic isn’t “I’m deleting my account”; rather, I hope it’s “I’m checking my privacy settings right now, and changing them to a level with which I’m comfortable”.

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