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If you still use Facebook

If you still use Facebook, I think you owe it to yourself to see this amazing graph of the devolution of privacy on that service over the last five years. It's a shocking thing.

If you don't use Facebook and are just interested in the graphical presentation of information, you might want to have a look at it too. It's a gorgeous thing.

ETA: How To Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account

More ETA: Thanks to shezan for How To Opt Out of Facebook's Instant Personalization, where there are step-by-step instructions for turning off the invasive features, handy if deleting your FB account isn't the move for you.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 13th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
That is a rather beautiful graph.

Aaaaaaaand it is the reason why I recently became an ex-FaceBook user.
May. 13th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
Your defection was part of what prompted me to do the same. I've never used FB anyway--just got an account like everyone was doing a year or two ago. Never could grok the over-busy interface. It annoyed the crap out of me every time I went there, and all I ever saw were family pictures of the old junior-high friend who has since become Oahu's premiere Tupperware lady, and shit like that. Won't miss it.

It'll be interesting to see what effect the publication of FB's serious privacy issues will have on the number of accounts.
May. 13th, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC)
I admit that I miss it. Most of my coworkers use it, and it was a good barometer of who was having a particularly good or bad day at any given time. We would also exchange interesting articles about science policy or politics. I also used it to keep in touch with some friends from grad school and college, as a lazy man's way of staying in contact with people from my past. I will probably drift apart from those people more rapidly now, which is a bit of a shame. (In retrospect, I should've trolled through and made note of everyone's current email addresses before quitting it. Oh well.)

But their new policies are just not compatible with how I wanted to use it.
May. 13th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
I keep meaning to start a facebook account, and now I know I never will
May. 13th, 2010 06:50 pm (UTC)
I joined a couple of years ago with some idea of it being the family's link, since I don't really invite them to my LiveJournal. I found the interface confusing, the content negligible, and the many, many advertisements annoying.

I don't think you're missing anything by staying away.
May. 13th, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)
that icon of yours cracks me up!

i'm kinda waffling over this. like, i don't like having my info available to everyone so i go in and check the settings every once in a while - but facebook has really been cool 'cause i have never known more about my family!!

i read somewhere that the "permanent deletion" is not really true. facebook keeps a copy of your info on their server and uses it. you just don't have access to it any more when you "delete". who knows if that's true, but i wouldn't be surprised.
May. 13th, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC)
I joined as a family thing, too, and there are probably plenty of good reasons to stay if you use it that way. I just never did.

I think FB has been a real boon to a lot of internet users who would never otherwise go online, and I'm also not that personally concerned about my data: if I were, I wouldn't use Google so much.

Mostly, FB just bugged me. I never used it, I'd get annoying emails from people who, if I'd wanted to stay in contact with them from high school or that job ten years ago, wouldn't need Facebook to contact me; and generally I'm just sort of glad to be out of it.
May. 13th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
I added to the post.


How to opt out of de-privacy settings. Step by step, from the EFF. Worth your time, perhaps?
May. 13th, 2010 07:01 pm (UTC)
I have an epic rant post brewing about Facebook and why I don't have an account. The timing of this latest brouhaha has now expanded my collection of links on the subject considerably.

I take no pleasure in having my concerns/fears about Facebook being confirmed by this latest incident and similar incidents recently, but wow, am I ever thankful that I never got into Facebook. Others' MMV, obviously, but for me, that is a whole pile of Do Not Want.
May. 13th, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
silk_knickers, whose defection last week prompted my thoughts on the matter, makes a really good point above about the strong utility and value FB has in the lives of many people. I imagine that Facebook The Corporation is betting on that core group of users sticking with them, and when you have a total userbase larger than the entire population of the United States, you can afford to lose a few pairs of eyes on the ads.

If I had actually used or needed Facebook, I'd have been far more reluctant to delete my account. I would be hard pressed to give up Google, and I think eventually the same privacy concerns will appear there, if they aren't already active.

I'm looking forward to your article on the subject. You have a talent for clarifying complex issues.
May. 13th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
More to the point, How to protect your privacy on Facebook.

It's amazing how difficult they make it to opt out of everything, but it can be done.
May. 13th, 2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I've added that to the main post. Very helpful.
May. 13th, 2010 09:01 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's fascinating. I ain't never getting an account there. Not that I'd been remotely considering before seeing that, but my internet paranoia is strong enough without adding more fuel to the fire.
May. 13th, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
Facebook is a funny thing. Most people I know who have an account use it a lot, find great value in it, and would be very reluctant to give it up. It's like their lifeline. It seems to be the home of those internet users who a few years ago emailed photos, jokes, games, and personal news to great lists of friends and family.

For me, it was a complete waste of time. I never did give them much info, and whatever I did give them has long since escaped into the wild, but it was absolutely no heartache for me to delete my account.

So in my view, you're really not missing anything by avoiding it.
May. 13th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
My thought on the matter is that old friends or extended family don't have contact info for me, online or otherwise, then it's because I want it that way. Of course, that doesn't stop former friends that I cut out of my life a decade ago still trying to track me down or get info on me from my sisters, who are on Facebook; heh. Or, worse, actually, when my dad (who deals in the field of information security and has very good reason to not want personal info on the web) had a major health scare recently and the first thing a cousin did was post on Facebook all "omg I hope my uncle [dad's name] doesn't die" -- fucking headdesk. I think that's the worst thing about the internet: you can be as private and cautious as you like but anyone else can post your personal stuff regardless.
May. 13th, 2010 09:23 pm (UTC)
Very true. In that sense, the internet is a perfect mirror of society. Word gets out. It's just that, of course, on the internet it gets out farther and faster and sometimes with much more devastating results.

The idea of keeping a secret has become almost laughable. I imagine we're moving toward a time where the very concept of a personal secret will just disappear.

On the upside, it's harder and harder for governments and corporations to keep secrets from us.

IDK. It's a brave new world. I try not to let it scare the crap out of me.
May. 14th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
This is good to know. Thanks!
May. 14th, 2010 02:41 am (UTC)
Glad to spread the word.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )



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