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Goodbye Facebook

This has been a long time coming, but I think it's time to drop the ball. I'm done with Facebook for a number of reasons, some of which are outlined here. The biggest reason, however, is how dangerously scary Facebook is treating your privacy.

Over and over and over again, there have been major concerns with changes that Facebook has made towards handling your privacy. New changes are always implemented, and they always seem to be compromising your privacy, one way or another. I find it interesting that the Google Mail team implements Buzz, and adds friends to your list to follow based on who you mailed the most, and a lawsuit ensues, but Facebook sells your contact information to advertisers, and no one blinks an eye.

However, the biggest news to hit the Internet is Goldman Sachs' interest in investing in Facebook, and getting options into the company for top investors, despite Facebook being a privately held company. In fact, Goldman Sachs has a $1.5 billion USD interest in Facebook. What could be so valuable to Goldman Sachs, that they're willing to front ONE POINT FIVE BILLION? I can tell you this much- it's not FarmVille. Yes, you guessed right. They want to be the top bidder to your private data. If you think that's not the truth, you're fooling yourself.

To me, things are about to get very, very scary with the Internet giant (as if they haven't been already), and I'm tired of putting up with it (I'll now wait for the onslaught of persecution from a number of friends, as well as the "told you so"). Of course, I've heard the rebuttal, and I'm a firm believer of it, that if you don't want your private data compromised, then don't post it to begin with. Wise words. However, if you don't put your private data on Facebook, including photos of yourself or family, then tell me again what the point of the site is. Last I checked, it was to get in contact, and remain in contact, with close and distant family, friends, relatives, associates, etc. You want to remain in contact, so you give them your private information, such as your email, phone number, address, etc. to make this possible. You share bits and pieces of your life with them, including photos, videos and messages. If you don't provide that data to your contacts, then what's the point? Getting new cows for virtual ranch?

Aside from the massive security concerns with privacy, Facebook has become rather lame to me. To be frankly honest, I'm just not that interested in your kids fundraiser, your new photo business that you setup and want me to "like", how I should ignore common sense and just "follow the prophet", your political stances, etc. I've been in far too many religious, political and philosophical debates on Facebook, and where did they get us? I get bombarded with game requests all the freaking time, and clearing them out is like cleaning spam out of your email inbox. Of all the old friends that I've gotten in touch with on the site, what has happened over the years? Nothing. So, what was the point?

I know that 600 million users feel differently than I do, and that's fine. However, I'm quite confident that my life can move forward just fine without Facebook. In fact, I've been cutting my life out of it bit-by-bit. First, I unsubscribed from the RSS feeds that fed my Google Reader about your links, your status updates, etc. Then, a bit later, I deleted everything off my wall, and set my account settings such that if you came to my profile, all you saw was my contact information. Then, I signed out of Facebook Chat with my XMPP client. And you know what? No one has noticed. No one is noticing that I'm not active on Facebook. No one is noticing that I'm not online to chat. Everyone is too busy shouting themselves, that they haven't even noticed I've slipped out behind the back door, and have been enjoying a quiet walk in the brisk night air.

So, why announce it? Why not just quietly delete the account, and move on? Because I want everyone else to think about it themselves. Are you really that interested in what everyone else is saying, or are you just using the social site as a gaming platform? Why are you on the site again? I don't care if you don't delete your account like I am doing, but if you end up asking yourself these questions, and honestly evaluate why you're using the site, then my purpose of writing this post has been accomplished.

I don't know exactly when I'll end the account, but it will be soon. Lastly, here's some words of thought for you. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, I think this picture speaks volumes.

{ 29 } Comments

  1. Christer Edwards | January 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    I deleted my account months ago and haven't looked back. As you've found, the world goes on.

    Ohh, and I really like that picture!

  2. kerobaros | January 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Also deleted my account a month or so ago. Feels pretty great to me. Spread the word, brother; we don't need Facebook anymore.

  3. Greg | January 20, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I'm so happy i never had an account 🙂

  4. Norbert Evenich | January 20, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    The Zuckerberg bubble is a little false, because it's not private if it's on the internet, and I gave it to them. I deleted my account last November, for similar reasons. I started to use it as an RSS reader, and soon there were too much information. I wanted to cut back, and I realized I don't really need Facebook. I even wrote on my wall, that I quit, yet nobody bothered to answer. I'm a little angry at people that they act like Facebook is the center of the Universe, but I feel that 2011 will be the year of the information overload and many people will delete their Facebook, Twitter, etc. account.

  5. iheartubuntu | January 20, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Ive just done the same thing. My privacy is worth more than anything! One reason why I listen to Katherine Albrechts radio show. She also has a good book out called "spychips".

    To completely delete your Facebook account, do a google search on "How to permanently delete your facebook account" and click the first link. It will take you to a Facebook page and there will be a "delete facebook account" link on the lefthand side.

    Yay! I feel free!

  6. Shelby | January 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Why are people as paranoid as they are about their information being put out there? Are you afraid of getting more phone calls, more spam e-mail, junk mail? What? Or, do you think they'll give your name and address to an assassin's guild? While I do value my privacy, I'm not nearly so paranoid about certain things getting out to corporations because, frankly, it's information that's readily available anyway. There are tons of sites where I could type in your e-mail if I found it and see everything you've ever posted on the internet. If I find out what your name is, I can find your address, phone number and pictures of you with ease. Your leaving Facebook does not change that. Are you going to leave the internet, now? Not like it matters, since the information gets on here anyway!

    If you want to leave Facebook, do you think it matters to them or most people? No. I don't know why this is being shared everywhere.

  7. Martin Wildam | January 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Again, the privacy. Guess what: From that what I see from my friends on facebook, the world wouldn't either change if everybody would know that stuff.

    Basically there is no really important information in Facebook.

    If somebody would buy my e-mail address - well - plenty did before. All I get from it, is more or less finishing in the spam folder. So who cares.

    Companies buying contact information for selling things to me do waste a lot of money. It would be far better to make good products and offer better web presence of the company providing better customer selfcare on their website. - Core issues for many companies.

  8. ethana2 | January 20, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I'm on Facebook because I think it's advantageous for my finding a spouse. Once I'm married, I might delete it. In the mean time, I can't afford to.

  9. Aaron | January 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    @NorbertEvenich- You're technically correct about private information. If I willingly give it to someone else, then it's not private. With that said, most people still find their telephone number to be private, as with their email address, postal address, medical records, school transcript, etc.

    @Shelby- Do you really have to ask why this is troubling? I don't want more phone calls, junk mail, spam, door knockers, etc. The more corporations have information on me, the more they can target advertising for me, and learn who I am, what I'll purchase, and where I'll be at any given time. It's not about assassins shooting you in the middle of the street, it's about being left alone, and remaining secure with your identity. The more someone knows about you, the more they can imitate.

    @ethana2- Good luck with that.

  10. Tengu | January 20, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    True words. Sometimes I think, that people may be divided on "bloggers" and "facebookers". Fb doesn't require any intellectual work, or reflection - just photos, funny links etc. And after all, surfing accounts in fb consume time just like watching TV.

  11. Me | January 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    @Shelby I guess you have never heard of identity theft. Having the info out there makes it easier. I personally never comprehend why someone would put all their personal info on a social website. To me the picture on this blog is kind of misleading since people willing put their info on Facebook and then he sells it. If Facebook was gathering my info without my consent like those companies like Axicom.

  12. technologyunit | January 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    There is a very big difference between directly responsible and indirectly responsible. Invasion of privacy and damaging and dangerous release of information.

    However I too deactivated my facebook account last week and I am not going back.

  13. Martin Owens | January 20, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    I tried to delete my account, but the backlash I got from my family... I basically became a black sheep over night because I was 'refusing to talk to anyone' which is frustrating because in my world they were refusing to read my blog or email me.

  14. Anne | January 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    I understand your concerns but I'm not sure how having a blog is consistent with being concerned about privacy on facebook.

    I use facebook to get in touch with friends to plan real-life events and to hear updates on news relevant to my life. I don't use the chat features and blocked all game/app requests long ago.

    The biggest negative to FB in my opinion is that it can become a bit addictive. The only reason I would delete it at this point is if I felt like I was becoming obsessive and couldn't manage it any other way.

  15. Aaron | January 20, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    @Anne- Having a blog doesn't tell people where I'm located. It doesn't display my postal address, family members or friends. It's not selling any of this information to advertisers. I am in control of my data, and no one can take that from me. I don't need to keep an eye on privacy settings to make sure my personal data is safe.

    Then again, I understand that if you don't want it stolen, and someone masquerading around the planet as you, then don't volunteer that information to begin with. But then, what's the point of Facebook, if it's not for people to get in contact with you, and plan said real-life events?

  16. Dennis | January 20, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    Check out friends. Alleviate your Facebook woes.

  17. Ivens | January 21, 2011 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    I did really like the post and somehow agree on the majority of the statements.But on the other hand, there are few things new.Everyone,with minimum IQ can easily imagine what the power social networks or media is ruining our lives.
    Since the biggest corporations own the most famous papers,broadcasting TV's and so on we are seeing the whole World, like they want us to see and believe.In my opinion, this is more dangerous than deleting the social network account.I can live without Facebook.

    As for the picture--->ABSOLUTELY TRUE

  18. seren | January 21, 2011 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    Regarding the information posted on Facebook, don't think that the most important or relevant information is your mail or your phone number. What'is more important is your *social network*.

    There is an incredible wealth of information that can be deduced from an absolutely empty account with many friends.

    For example, 90% of your friends are in liberal leaning groups, there is a good chance that your are also left leaning.

    Same things for religious views, average household revenue, etc...

    For most deducted value, algorithms can be wrong, but what is important that "on average", it is pretty easy to profile who you are. And it is that kind of information that is relevant to marketer or insurance companies.

  19. sanderd17 | January 21, 2011 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    I deleted my fb account in september. I even can't return because I first set a temp email and a password that I don't remember.

    Spread the word about stopping with FB!

  20. Paulo Neves | January 21, 2011 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    Did the same months ago. But I'm glad that didn't put any information there.

  21. iheartubuntu | January 21, 2011 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    @Shelby - Personal data is going to be the new "gold" of the future. Companies already buying and selling your data. Google has already said they know who you are just by your searches. The info is worth serious bucks. With knowing that, you also need to be aware that insurance companies, cities, police, etc are buying your data to deny you services. Its already been documented and several court cases have popped up.

    A woman needed surgery and was denied because her insurance company had proof from grocery stores of her purchases of alcoholic beverages. They claimed she drank too much, voiding her coverage. This is getting ridiculous now. Is this the world we live in? 1984?

  22. iheartubuntu | January 21, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Long story short... protect your privacy! Dont use store points or loyalty cards either!

  23. Kim | January 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    And now I'm getting spam and shit replies from the rest of your facebook friends in my inbox. Thanks Aaron. You really could have just left facebook quietly and none of us would now be ridiculously irritated.

  24. Bruno Miguel | January 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I once deleated my account on Facebook, in protest to the change of the terms of service. After they reversed that, and thanks to the constante personnal request of a friend, I created it again. Now, leaving Facebook for good is becoming a stronger option each day.

  25. Aoirthoir An Broc | January 22, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Dude you really need to read "The Art and Science of Dumpster Diving". I read that many many years ago in the 80s. Or was it the 90s? Anyhoo, back then he talked about the onslaught of information and how so many folks tried to hide from it by keeping their information minimal. No my friend! The solution is MORE information about you.

    By age 11 companies were sending him all sorts of requests, even calling his "business" because he had filled out all of those magazine advertising cards. He was a chef, an inspector, you name it. In one instance he even got a call from a company offering to show him how to clean up his contact list of bad prospects. Since he was only 11, HE offered to help THEM clear up THEIR prospect list.

    Based on his sage advice I've been all over the place. You name it, I'll sign up for it. I had so much information out about me that finally I had to start using my Gaeilge name just so that when people googled, they would get the actual me.

    Nevertheless, facebook is a pain. Martin Owen's statement about family getting irritated if you don't friend you ala "Stan friend your grandmother!" is growlingly true. But I found the solution. Sign up, eliminate crap from your wall you dont want like game requests. Then, never ever ever go back.

  26. copec | January 22, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I've only ever trafficked Facebook as much as I have to. I haven't put much of my private information on there, but I don't have to, you could make an A.I. of my wife based off all the information she has put up on there.

  27. LostCrescendo | February 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Would it be hypocritical for me share this on my Facebook feed?

  28. Francisco | February 15, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Nice. Facebook censure people in many countries, and make a lot of money using private information. Facebook is not necessary to be in contact with friends and share life. I used it 2 months and deleted account.

  29. Bob | March 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Alternatively, you could use fake names and such. Hard to advertise to a person who doesn't exist, wouldn't you think?

    @ethana2 You could join a facebook group for that, think.

{ 3 } Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by toorghezi, Zuissi and Devilicus, László Torma. László Torma said: Aaron Toponce: Goodbye #Facebook [...]

  2. [...] Aaron Toponce:  Goodbye Facebook [...]

  3. Goodbye Facebook « #!/bin/blog | January 27, 2011 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    [...] Aaron writes: “I get bombarded with game requests all the freaking time, and clearing them out is like cleaning spam out of your email inbox. Of all the old friends that I’ve gotten in touch with on the site, what has happened over the years? Nothing. So, what was the point?” [...]

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