I’m leaving facebook tomorrow.
It’s interesting to see how people react to this. I know a few others who are also leaving, and many seemed surprised that I would take so drastic a measure. But the facebook relationship is an abusive relationship, I’ve discovered, and to continue to participate in it is destructive and enabling.
Founder Mark Zuckerberg has said publicly that he doesn’t believe in privacy. That’s nice. Maybe one day someone will steal his identity and sap his bank account. Perhaps he’ll have kids one day and some savvy marketers will find a way to exploit them for their own needs. Or maybe some compromising photos of him will circulate on facebook before he finds a way to shut them down. That would be poetic.
But his personal beliefs aside, how about the fact that he has utter contempt for people who use his own creation. I believe the phrase he used to describe facebook users who trusted him with their information was “dumb fucks.” Classy.
How about this nice visual showing the evolution of privacy on facebook. Clearly what’s evolving here is how much privacy is shrinking, and there’s no compelling reason for things to go back the way they were because facebook makes its money from selling off information.
And as if all that weren’t enough, it seems there are people out there who make Zuckerberg look like a saint by utilizing facebook as a portal to steal accounts or personal information through spyware and malware.
Yes, I know there are more reprehensible companies to be found, whose products I use while completely unaware of the corporate policies attached. I’m sure I’ve inadvertently purchased articles of clothing made in sweatshops, or purchased a snack food item in this country made by a company that uses their money and power to dictate diets in poor countries. I know for a fact (after the fact, of course) that I frequented in a restaurant that was owned by a person who trafficked sex slaves that were forced to work in the kitchen. But once I was made aware of these offenses I felt obligated to make a decision whether or not I would continue to support these companies and their behaviors.
And in the case of facebook, I cannot.
So while many people have been telling me over the past couple of years that social networking is an essential part of my internet presence as a writer, particularly among a younger demographic, I find myself questioning the importance of the medium and well as the message. The internet is a great tool for communication and sharing of information, and I can see how it can be used to build and maintain social connections on a variety of levels, but as a platform I think facebook has proven to be unfriendly, irrelevant, and ultimately antisocial.
Tomorrow I delete my information and shut my facebook account down. And this will be the last time I ever talk about it.