Goodbye Facebook

… In which I try to explain why I am closing my Facebook account.

Not that it’s a big deal or anything, just thought that some people may care. if not, fine.

A bit of background first. When I started using facebook, I would use it in my “zombie of the web” mode…. Meaning “being bored, clicking on stuff, following infinite link chains in Wikipedia, random Youtube videos, and sometimes ending up on Facebook”. Then it became more of a habit: it was still evolving, new and fun. Lately I sort of moved away from it. I still go sometimes have a look at my friend’s pictures, check what they are doing, and I definitely read ALL of their status updates since they pop up on my phone’s home screen. I also “reconnected” with some old friends from middle school or something. And Facebook is great for all that!

So I like Facebook (FB) right ?

I do like the idea of the social network website. I just don’t like what this particular one is becoming. I am not going to give you all the reasons here - just some hints: It’s mostly privacy and security issues; I just don’t trust FB anymore with my personal information.

I already know who (I have names) is going to say “Ahah! And you work for Google!”. Just to make it clear: I don’t trust FB with my data. I still trust Google. If it ever changes, I hope I will have the guts to do the same thing: clear my data and say goodbye. I think there is a big difference in the two companies’ philosophies. Anyway, ask me about it if you want to know more, or I am gone for 50 pages. I believe in privacy, very hard; I understand that Comcast (my internet provider) knows what websites I visited. It goes the same with Google and my emails, UBS and my credit card purchases… I agree to uses these services, but I expect some things from them, such as all information about me is safely kept (even from employees of these companies), anonymized as soon as possible, I must have control over it where makes sense, etc. Facebook fails at all that.

So why now ? There have been many things lately (“instant personalization” is just one of them) but it all comes back to that: I don’t feel that I am in control of the information I share on Facebook, and of the information my friends share on FB - and to other sites through FB for that matter - about me. Facebook has introduced many changes that were “opt-in” by default (first, they change it, then they ask you… If you ever log in…), and stuff that I simply can not “opt-out” from. FB has total control of (some of) my information, and I don’t like that.

If you are not sure what I am talking about, you can put yourself in my “zombie of the web” mode, search for [facebook instant personalization], [facebook employees privacy] or [facebook security issues], and make up your mind by yourself. Once you have a good idea of what’s happening, come back and explain it to me, cause personally, I am not sure….

To close it up, I liked this quote from Trevor Stone about “instant personalization”: bq. “When you visit a site, Facebook will send information about you and your friends to that site unless everyone opts out. It’s like walking into Walmart for the first time and the greeter calling your mom (you’re wearing a shirt with your mom’s number on it, apparently) and asking what you and your friends like to eat, then handing you a shopping cart with suggested purchases.” When one of my friends walks in the Walmart, Walmart get information about me! But again, that’s just one piece of the problem.

I don’t give up though, I will try other social network services, or even FB when I trust then again.

Have Fun!

Edit: Done! Account deleted.

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