Tonight, I quit Facebook.
No, I did not just delete most of my personal information. No, I did not make some personal vow to abstain from using Facebook. No. I quit Facebook wholesale; deleted my account for good; kicked that bitch to the curb.
And damn, did it feel good!
You see, I had deleted almost all of my personal information about a month ago, finally concluding that the sketchy Terms of Service (and even sketchier “Privacy” Policy) combined with the willful provision of all of my personal information made that data quite public and open to abuse.
Who was using my information? Toward what ends were these mysterious entities using it? I did not know, and Facebook would not tell me, and so I concluded that so much of my personal information in the hands of, potentially, so many advertisers/”developers”/employers/parents/friends/less-than-friends/the government/etc. was not something I wanted to continue. So I got rid of most of my personal information.
Then came the News Feed protests, with people getting quite pissed about this new “invasion of their privacy.” Um, wait a second: you’re on Facebook, you’ve provided all your personal information on your own free will, and the News Feeds did not make it visible to anyone to whom it was not already accessible. I did not understand the complaints and calls for “protection of privacy” on Facebook. Its inherent structure means that you have no privacy: third parties are able to view and analyze your personal information, for their own dubious ends.
Facebook will sell your information, Facebook will use it to target ads to you, potential employers will scrutinize the photos of you in various states of drunken stupor, and pretty soon your parents and little sister will even be able to friend you. Privacy? Yeah right.
I watched as one group protesting the News Feed reached over 750,000 people. I was surprised. But still, I hadn’t heard of anyone with the balls to just cut the cord instead of putting up with the increasing creepiness of Facebook and the brusque dismissals of Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg.
Well, with the news that Facebook would “soon” become, in effect, a prettier version of MySpace, open to everyone on the Internet with an email address, I decided that the days of Facebook as a college social-scene organizer were finally over. I pulled the plug, and feel very good about it.
Maybe now I’ll be able to get to know a lot of my Facebook friends for real, instead of just online.
Damn, it feels good!