Why I no longer use Facebook
People keep asking me why I'm not on Facebook. You might think it's because I don't like you, or I don't want to keep in touch with you, or because you did something wrong. And that's generally true. I don't like most of the people I know on Facebook, I don't want to keep in touch with them, and they did do something wrong. But if you're reading this, you're either one of the exceptions, or you're a stalker. Or you got here from Friendica/Diaspora.
I do miss Facebook a little. I miss waking up to new photographs of my imaginary wife, Preslava. I miss the latest videos from Anelia. I miss arguing with racist Americans who think all anglophone cyclists are clean, and all Spanish ones are dopers. I miss having such a diverse range of people that my page can simultaneously contain paedophilia, rape, poo, and quantum physics. so some things, I do miss.
A good test is this: If you know my email address, the URI of my blog, or you've made your way into my "understand my posts", "good people", or "quite good people" aspects, then I don't hate you. So, what else could it be?
I don't like my privacy being arse raped by a giant green supermutant
Believe it or not, Facebook has a couple of niggling privacy issues that make me slightly uncomfortable. First, there's the very basic thing of privacy settings not actually working. If you set your privacy on a per-post basis, it doesn't actually work. You can verify this by all the fuckwits who commented on my posts when they shouldn't have been able to see any. You can tell if somebody shouldn't have been able to see my posts by checking their profile to see if they've ever posted an ASCII art ribbon, used the phrase "lol", or ever said "I hate liars". If they've done any of those things, they shouldn't have been able to see any of my posts. Yet they did.
Worse than that, every time you upload a photograph, facial recognition software is used and and shared with law enforcement. You might think "I've done nothing wrong, so that's fine", but that's a stupid thing to say. Imagine yourself advocating free speech in China, taking part in the Arab spring, or knowing stuff and thinking about things in modern Britain. It's easy to see how this can - and is - misused. "Don't upload photographs then" I hear you cry. But I don't have to. You can upload photographs of me, and the same thing still happens. It's bad enough that you can jeopardise your own privacy. It's unforgivable that you abuse mine. Uploading a photograph of your children is bordering on child abuse.
And it continues. You know those like buttons on pretty much every website you visit these days? They're used to track every website you visit, even if you're not logged in. Do you really want this information being made public? Imagine you're ill, and you visit the NHS website. Oops. They use the like button. Now Facebook even knows your medical worries. Even if you trusted Facebook with that information - which only an idiot would - do you trust the companies this information is sold to? Do you trust the people who make the apps - yes, including the survey spam, fake like buttons, and other viruses you keep clicking like a demented gibbon even though I've explained to you how retarded it is - to use your personal information for good?
And it gets worse - ever installed a Facebook app on your phone? Well, it's been reading your text messages.
George Orwell would surely think such technology would be too unrealistic to include in 1984, yet here it is in real life. Oppressive regimes no longer need secret police, they just read your Facebook profile. Don't believe me? The USA is happy to admit doing it right now.
You might find this graph of the amount of data Facebook gives away about you persuasive. Likewise, if you'd like somebody's phone number try this.
This is just a small hint of a smidgen of my problem with Facebook
There are, of course, many other issues. I want to be in control of my data. I want to be able to decide under what terms you reuse it. If you upload a photograph to Facebook, they can do whatever they like with it. It's right there in the terms and conditions. They do too - they use your photographs to sell other people's products to your friends. Without even asking for a model release form. When I download my data, I want all of it, not just some of it. When I delete posts, I want them to stay deleted, not to return a few weeks later, as they did - and you likely witnessed this yourself as I deleted every single post from my account one at a time before finally closing it. I don't mind being advertised to. I don't even mind if it's somewhat targetted. Placing a cycling ad on a cycling page makes perfect sense. But when I'm viewing a music page, and I'm getting cycling ads, that can only be because they know enough about me to single me out as an individual.
And mostly, I don't like the kind of imbecile you get on Facebook. It really is the home of the lowest common denominator.
I use Friendica now. My data is mine. My privacy is graded as I see fit. I can set each post so that some, all, or even no people can see it. There are no advertisements at all. I even host my own server, and you can too if you want to.
I can no longer offer my implicit support to a company as evil as Facebook - and the specifics are different, but these principles all apply to Google+ (arguably, to an even worse degree), and most other social networks too - by existing as a member of their company. By staying, I make it harder for you to leave. I make it more important for more companies to set up a presence there. I support something so 100% against everything I stand for, just because you find it easier to get hold of me that way.
No more. Join me at KakSte, and we'll have everything Facebook has and more. If you still don't want to, fine. Email me. But don't ever ask me to support an unethical, immoral, probably illegal company again