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May 11, 2010

Facebook. Delete.

Getting a bit off the crafty topic here - consider this a public service message. :-)

I quit Facebook. Yes, it's possible, you can do that. Ok, it wasn't a big problem for me, seeing as I rarely used it. I never really got it, either. Why would I want to connect with people I haven't seen, let alone thought about, in almost 20 years, and had nothing in common with in the first place..?

The layout of the darn thing is confusing and seems to be set up so that changing your information is difficult. Plus, although it is a minor thing, it really annoyed me when people used Facebook to get in touch, although it was pretty obvious that I rarely used it. People who have my email address and have used it in the past, so they know it works and that I will respond! 

Also, I don't like the uniformity of Facebook. Every page looks the same, there is zero personality. But that is just a small nuisance. I realise that not everyone has the need/want/skill to have a 'proper web presence', so for them it probably works. I just wish people would realise that there are always trade-offs on the internet.

In Facebook's case, you get a free 'service', but in return Facebook gets to know everything about you and they get to share it with others without telling you - oh, they probably put it in the TOS etc, but how many people actually read TOS in the first place, let alone check up on them from time to time?

I had removed pretty much all my personal information a while ago. I never uploaded any photos to Facebook or played any of those stupid games. Well, I did right at the beginning, but then I realised just how stupid they are and, more importantly, how those games are allowed to view my personal information.

But that was then. Atleast you had to say yes to share with those applications, although saying no meant you couldn't play. Oh and did you know that even if you delete pictures from Facebook they are not completely gone?

Now, though, Facebook have changed their policies, so pretty much all your information is open/searchable by anyone by default. You have to manually change the settings to get a bit of privacy. And it's not just your interests or country you live in, it is everything. Your updates, wall posts, photos, the groups you're a member of, who your friends are etc. Pretty much the only thing not available is your birthday.

Oh but it gets better. They are also sending your information to other sites you are surfing if you are already logged on to Facebook, so those sites can 'personalise' your experience. But do you think this is really the reason? It's not, of course. They are not doing this for the users, but for themselves, to make money.

Even if you are not worried about Facebook, and want to continue using it, regardless, I still urge you to read up about what's going on. Like here and here. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Also, these infographics show very well, how Facebook's sharing of your information has 'developed'. Compare the 2005 and the 2010 chart, for example, blue is what is shared by default.

If all of this has got you sufficiently worried and you want to delete your Facebook account, here's how.

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  1. I share your worries. But working in PR we are hooked into 'the power of social media' and 'getting the message out there'.
    One things Facebook is good for is keeping in touch with older children when they fly the nest.

  2. Hi Carina,
    I wondered about the new "pages" thing. This information is very useful thanks for sharing it. Since reading this I've gone into my FB account and deleted all personal information so it doesn't connect to "pages". My niece asked me to join so she could keep in touch so at this point I don't want to delete my account. I guess privacy is something none of us has anymore. Have a good day!

  3. I agree with you; I deleted my MySpace account about 2 years ago, because I realized that employers could search MySpace & Facebook for potential job candidates' info (to see how they manage their personal lives, right)? As a consultant, I'm always "interviewing" and while I could control MY content, I could not control the content of my friends, nor of their friends. I don't need a potential employer to judge me by my friends or acquaintances, nor by my taste in music or how I spend my personal time. Good for you! :)

  4. Thanks Carina for the post. While, I can understand your frustration with Facebook, I, personally, enjoy using it. Mainly for the networking aspect as well as connecting with many overseas friends.
    I would like to tell you tho, after reading your post, I looked at all of my settings again, changed many of the privacy settings, and deleted a lot of applications that I hadn't realized had access.
    Thank you for enlightening me on the cons of facebook, that I hadn't thought about or hadn't bothered to look in to.

  5. Hey guys, thank you for your thoughts. I am glad that my post has inspired you to take a look at what Facebook knows about you. ;-)

    Fiona- You, we're all connected to something in some way, it is almost impossible to avoid. And the internet knows a lot about us, also pretty much impossible to avoid. But I guess there's a difference between handing over information yourself in exchange for some benefit or other, and what Facebook is doing.

    giddy- Yup, what you mention is another concern. Imagine if in the 'good old days' employers had asked for a full list of all your friends and family to find out what kind of people you are associated with before hiring you...

    bronwen- If people like using Facebook, they definitely should. It is a good way to keep in touch with people. I just think people need to be a bit more informed about what it entails and such. ;-)

  6. Just did this too. I can't help thinking about all the time I can now fill with embroidery! It's like watching re-runs of friends on tv, you'll keep wasting your time with it unless you remove the temptation. (Hence I got rid of Sky years ago)

    Thanks for the link, would never have found the delete option otherwise.


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