Recently, one of the C4C Facebook page's admins remarked that the page was scheduled to be archived. Neither of us has the slightest idea of what that means or what, if anything, to do about it. I suppose that if torture becomes a burning political issue in another year or so, the page might be resurrected, but for now, I think it's gone rather quiet.
So my main reason for joining Facebook in the first place has evaporated, and although I've enjoyed the occasional contact with friends and family there, the time has come for me to deactivate my account.
Why? Well, here's one reason:
So, you click over to Facebook, and check out what's happening. Then you go read news sites or other web pages, and since you didn't actually log out of Facebook (and who ever does? It's a pain to remember your super-secure, tough, impossible-to-crack--you hope--password every time you want to reenter the site), Facebook was tracking you and collecting information that is worth a fortune.
Facebook has admitted that it has been watching the web pages its members visit – even when they have logged out.
In its latest privacy blunder, the social networking site was forced to confirm that it has been constantly tracking its 750million users, even when they are using other sites.
The social networking giant says the huge privacy breach was simply a mistake - that software automatically downloaded to users' computers when they logged in to Facebook 'inadvertently' sent information to the company, whether or not they were logged in at the time.
Most would assume that Facebook stops monitoring them after they leave its site, but technology bloggers discovered this was not the case.
In fact, data has been regularly sent back to the social network’s servers – data that could be worth billions when creating 'targeted' advertising based on the sites users visit.
And--think about this for a second--the sort of information they were gathering about you is the sort of information that, were you to be accused of a crime, a police officer would have to get a court order to obtain; but because you voluntarily used Facebook you were just handing over all of it gratis and without any reservation of your rights.
I find that troubling.
Then, of course, there have been recent changes that have made the site more cluttered, more difficult to navigate and read, and harder for the user--because, as many people point out, the user isn't really the customer; it's all the people who mine the data about you who are Facebook's real customers. So making the site user-friendly is never going to be a primary goal, unless Facebook messes things up so badly that users quit in droves (and they make it difficult to quit completely--you have to submit a request if you want your account permanently deleted). And there are more changes looming on the horizon which may impact privacy:
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said its new features create "frictionless sharing."
But they are causing friction with some users and consumer groups.
Facebook unveiled last week services that make it easier for its 800 million users to share more information about themselves and their lives online. The social networking service showed off a dramatic redesign of users' profiles, a timeline that charts in chronological order all the information users have shared in the past. Facebook also said that third-party applications would — with users' consent — automatically share every action users take, such as the songs they listen to or the videos they watch.
Privacy watchdogs are urging the Federal Trade Commission to look into the new features that they say push users to share more than they may feel comfortable sharing. [...]
Privacy watchdogs aren't the only ones who say Facebook is stripping away its users' privacy. Writer Ben Barr of technology blog Mashable in a blog post said, "We're at the point of no return."
"Facebook's passive sharing will change how we live our lives. More and more, the things we do in real life will end up as Facebook posts," Parr wrote. "And while we may be consoled by the fact that most of this stuff is being posted just to our friends, it only takes one friend to share that information with his or her friends to start a viral chain."Viral chain--or something like this:
Oops. Our story so far: A mom posting on Facebook about the messy condition of her sons’ bedrooms unwittingly tipped athletic authorities that they didn’t live full time in the district, resulting in their high school football team, Perry County (Linden, Tenn.), forfeiting three games. The Vikings, ranked third in division Class 1A, had been 5-0 overall, 2-0 in league.I'm not saying the family shouldn't have been following the rules about school districts--they should have been. But this is still troubling, not to mention horrible for the boys involved.
There are so many ways that "passive sharing" of posters' information could end very, very badly; a viral chain is only one of a whole host of bad possibilities. I can only imagine how many improper uses of what ought to be private information could come up--but, again, as happy social networking users (or company owners) point out regularly, the information you post on Facebook is not really a relatively private conversation between friends and family; it is a wealth of data for which advertisers are ready and willing to pay.
With all of that, with my growing discomfort with the site, and with my general dislike of the raiding of privacy in the name of advertising and marketing, I've decided to go ahead and deactivate my Facebook account later this evening (and I'll probably go back and request a permanent deletion soon after). I'm just not comfortable with the idea that things I don't choose to share with a public audience might be shared anyway, and I highly dislike the notion of a corporation spying on my Internet usage (for the record, I'm also uncomfortable with the government doing the same). Frankly, I waste enough time on the Internet without having to waste it at a place where my interactions are going to end up being sold to the highest bidder. And since I never really used it all that much anyway, quitting Facebook is, for me, just common sense.