Today, May 31, is Quit Facebook Day. There are over 26,000 people signed up to commit to delete their Facebook accounts today. Whilst it is a very tiny drop in the ocean compared to the 500million or so Facebook users, it is a significant number.
As shown by the numerous links in my previous post on Facebook Privacy, there has been a public outcry over the current state of Facebook privacy. Thankfully, Facebook has responded and said they will simplify their privacy settings. Whether this about-face is due to the outcry or to the Quit Facebook campaign we won’t know for sure, but it is encouraging at least.
There have been some excellent posts today from people saying why they are quitting Facebook today. Some excerpts:
Facebook itself has changed, from being a private network between friends to being a commercial experience, where your supposed “relationship” with brands and TV shows are intermingled with your relationships with people. This is perverse. But this, and other changes have made Facebook, for me, a place I no longer wish to inhabit.
The other reason I’m quitting Facebook is to recover some balance in my relationships. The siren call of Facebook is that you can maintain “relationships” with people in your life merely by dipping your toe into the stream of bon mots that flow past. I don’t think is true.
Jason Langenauer @jasonlangenauer
…when I look at Facebook, I see a goldmine. I can see millions of people logging on, interacting, sharing their interests, their behaviours, their likes and dislikes not just with their “networks” but also with Facebook. And maybe even with Facebook’s partners. It is this latter form of sharing that concerns me.
For most of us, joining Facebook meant entering a social compact – we’d share the content, context and contacts of our lives – and we’d do so using Facebook’s social networking platform. We’d be able to control who had access to what we share and Facebook could monetize this in ways that worked in good faith…
Changing this compact now is difficult – and has not been communicated well. Rather than being transparent about their intentions, Facebook have opted to spin the changes, suggesting that the world has changed and that Facebook is moving to accommodate this.
Gavin Heaton @servantofchaos
No, Facebook, if I delete my account everyone will still be able to contact me. Any time they like. Don’t lie to me.
Over the last several months I have become increasingly aware I didn’t like the organisation behind it and I’m not comfortable with it.
Mark Pesce, @mpesce, as quoted in the Australian
One of the themes through these articles is that Facebook has become less about connecting with people and more about mining your data. I understand that, and I’m willing to work with that for now, as I still get enough benefit from the connections I have with friends and family on Facebook.
What I have done, however is lock Facebook down to private settings around posts and photos (I actually have only ever uploaded 2 pics to Facebook). I have also deleted almost all 3rd party apps, and almost all of my “likes”. I will probably further reduce these over the coming weeks.
I will ensure that I do not use Facebook Connect or “like” any page from within or external to Facebook without a very good reason. Hopefully that will reduce the commercial tracking of my information.
I may be in denial and heading down the wrong path, but I will be vigilant over the coming months and re-assess if I feel further erosion of my privacy, or seemingly bad deeds by advertisers and the like.
Yes, I tweet, and all those tweets are public, and yes I get the occasional business type spam of someone trying to sell me stuff but that is quickly dealt with via the block button. Someone may be scraping all my tweets to see what I’m interested in, but at the moment there is no easy way for advertisers to target me with that information.
So it’s time to be “Alert, but not Alarmed” and just be more careful and judicious with my Facebook usage over the coming months.