So you're still on Facebook? Here are three good reasons why you should delete Facebook today.
It’s been a rough year for Facebook. First, it was the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Whistleblowers revealed that personal information from over 87 million Facebook users was sold to Cambridge Analytica, a political data analysis firm that had worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Then it turned out Facebook had been scraping call and text message data with its Android apps for years. Everything was stored in Facebook’s databases.
And now, The New York Times has revealed internal Facebook documents that show the social network gave Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify and others far greater access to people’s data than it has disclosed. In some cases, companies were allowed to read, write and delete users’ private messages, and to see all participants in a message thread.
Shocked? Not Shocked
That Facebook could - and would - do a lot of sketchy stuff with whatever you posted on the social network has been known for a long time. After all, personal data is the very core of their business model. And as we all know, if you’re using a free service, you are the product. Everything you post, and everything you do, can - and will - be sold to the highest bidder. By accepting Facebook’s End User License Agreement (EULA) you allow them to use the data you give them for profit.
But the three incidents that have been revealed this year show that Facebook’s use of your data goes way beyond what you’ve agreed to. If you’re American, and your data was sold to Cambridge Analytica, there’s a good chance you involuntarily helped Donald Trump land the presidency. Whether you think that’s a good thing, I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure this kind of use of your data isn’t covered by the EULA.
If you’ve used the Facebook Android app, your call and text message history is now in Facebook’s clammy hands. And it has undoubtedly been sold to someone. I suspect that you didn’t agreed to that when you accepted the EULA either. But Facebook simply didn’t care, and collected everything anyway.
Private? Not Private
On top of all this, The New York Time now reports that some companies have been allowed to read, write, and delete your private Facebook messages. Here’s a logical train of thought when creating a Facebook account: “It’s OK that they do whatever they want with everything I post on my public timeline. It’s public anyway. But I’m sure they don’t snoop in my private stuff. After all, that’s what private means, right?”
That’s what you’d think. But no. That the companies have been authorized to read your private messages is bad. But that they have been allowed to write and delete private messages is just outrageous. What if someone working at Spotify has realized they could doctor private messages so they look like they are from their ex-girlfriend? Wouldn’t it be tempting to send some to their ex’s new boyfriend?
Nuke It From Orbit
A company so reckless with your privacy cannot be allowed to know anything about you at all. Delete your Facebook account today. It’s not like you’re really missing out on anything if you’re not on the social network. People only post the most flattering version of their life. It’s all a big, fat sham. It’s even a good chance Facebook makes you depressed. And if you really want to know how your cousin’s third grade teacher from back in the days is doing, then pick up the phone. Or write a letter. The postal service could sure use the job.
Deleting your Facebook account is not rocket science. It’s easy. There are tons of guides on the internet showing you exactly how to do it. Here’s one from The Verge: How to delete Facebook.
Practicing What You Preach
I deleted my Facebook account for the first time back in 2011. Then, I rejoined the social network again in 2016. The reason was to draw more people to my ramblings on this site. That worked well, and the number of visitors increased. Not having Facebook as a way to promote the site isn’t ideal, but that really doesn’t matter.
The irony now is that I could really use a way to spread the word that ya’ll should delete your Facebook accounts, and that Facebook would have been the best tool for that. ↩︎