[Last edited 14 November 2018.]
A few weeks ago I started limiting my time on Twitter significantly, although I reactivated my account a couple of weeks later and it was like I never left.
One network I feel more strongly about is Facebook, a company I describe as evil without a hint of irony.
I was late to join compared to many other people, only signing up as a joke to prove to my sister I had more friends than she did (she won that round). After moving to Canada I spent way more time on there than was healthy, and they kept changing the newsfeed algorithm to a point where it felt like I wasn’t in control of what I was seeing.
Then the security breaches got headlines, plus I didn’t feel comfortable with the amount of information out there about me, going as far as changing my surname. This website you’re reading this on is my home online, and I get to choose what I disseminate under my own terms. Facebook and other social media sites rewards people, even those we don’t know, to share information about us without our permission.
So I disabled my account for a year, and no one noticed. Finally I deleted it.
Then we moved to Calgary, and I became involved again in community theatre. The director of the play I was in strongly suggested that I need to be on Facebook if I wanted to work as an actor in this town, because everyone is on Facebook. This is factually correct. I signed up again, trying to be more cognisant of the things I shared. I have met a lot of people and gotten a lot of work in Calgary as a direct result of being on Facebook.
Unfortunately, Facebook is not compatible with my ideals as a responsible online citizen, and they make it extremely difficult to manage a profile which limits interaction with others, so I have deleted my account once again.
Here’s a short list of reasons why Facebook is evil, in no particular order:
- Advertisers allege Facebook hid the fact that no one watches video ads (Ars Technica)
- Everything bad about Facebook is bad for the same reason (Quartz)
- Top Facebook Executive Defended Data Collection In 2016 Memo — And Warned That Facebook Could Get People Killed (BuzzFeed News)
- Facebook Removing Onavo VPN From App Store After Apple Says It Violates Data Collection Policies (MacRumours via Wall Street Journal)
- Facebook Fueled Anti-Refugee Attacks in Germany, New Research Suggests (New York Times)
- Facebook tinkered with users’ feeds for a massive psychology experiment (AV Club)
- How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions (New York Times)
- Sex, Beer, and Coding: Inside Facebook’s Wild Early Days (Wired)
- Facebook admits year-long data breach exposed 6 million users (Reuters)
- Facebook says millions of users had phone numbers, search history and location data stolen in recent hack (Washington Post)
- Facebook real-name policy controversy (Wikipedia)
- Facebook and the News: Trends, Filter Bubbles and Algorithmic Bias (Fortune)
- Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis (New York Times)
I want to close my Instagram and WhatsApp accounts as well, because Facebook has demonstrated that it is run by incompetent leaders who don’t care about you, even if it means you could die.
I believe that everyone on this planet should close and delete their Facebook accounts immediately. I believe that the leadership of Facebook should be tried in a court of law for crimes against humanity. Failing that, they should be sued out of existence by the people they have harmed. Every time they get away with this large-scale negligence, it sets the bar lower for future failures, and we all lose.
We managed to communicate with email, text messages, phone calls, postcards and regular mail before 2006. Your racist uncle really doesn’t need to see what you had for breakfast, and that friend from high school 20 years ago doesn’t actually care about you. We know how this ends.
As for me, I’m willing to risk losing out on work by not being on Facebook. I have an agent, and my friends and colleagues know how to get hold of me.
(Aside: holy heck, advertising on the web is so intrusive!)