On The Daily Show a couple of days ago Jon Stewart said the US Government’s less than forthright approach about drones and its assurance that it was keeping Congress informed on its use of them, was akin to “Facebook telling me how much they care about my privacy”.
We all get the joke, but the frankly sour taste of our Facebook experience hasn’t stopped 500 million of us from using it every month.
And Jon Stewart’s riff comes only a week after it was widely reported that thousands of users of other websites – from CNN to Pinterest, Reddit and other social media – besides lots of sites – found themselves being redirected to a Facebook error page and were powerless to do anything about it while it was happening. And how freaky and disturbing is it that those Facebook users weren’t even trying to go anywhere near Facebook at the time but only onto these other sites?
So I for one have had enough. I’ve closed down my Facebook account once and for all. True, I don’t feel I’m giving up much, since I’m one of the users who kept the account mainly as an extra and easy way to be found online, since we all know Facebook represents the single biggest database of contact information on the planet, bar none.
But what about the risks to those of us who are the majority of active users? Who update our walls and post anything to everything about our lives, as naturally as breathing, from the youngest of us to the eldest (remember, you can have a legitimate Facebook account as young as 13 – and frankly how many of us at that age felt fully aware of privacy and data issues?). Those of us who may understandably think nothing of telling our Facebook friends – and often prying others when we forget to correct our privacy settings – what we’re doing, thinking and saying and where and why and how – with all that this entails? I mean all the relentlessly private data of our lives comprising links, facts, numbers, pictures, times and dates that exposes us to … what, exactly? We don’t actually know, in the long run.
Is the willingness of one billion of us active users to share anything and possibly everything on Facebook potentially leading us into a zombified nightmare world, in which we expose ourselves to a corporate behemoth in a sort of twisted take of Hunger Games, making masochists of us all?
And what will happen to those of us who have the truly private details of our lives exposed and hacked into via our email and other web-based content, just because we have all been easily led for convenience’s sake into using Facebook access details as the master key to enter all of our other data accounts?
When that happens, will Facebook – as it did last week – simply characterize that Titanic of a disaster as just another “error” and no harm done? When frankly it’ll by then be too late because our private data is already in the hands of criminals and spammers or – god forbid! (ahem) the corporate consumer big business world set to exploit our private details to the max and it’s too late for us to do anything at all about it?
So here’s the real question: are you sure you’re still happy to be playing about on Facebook’s slippery, sloping tentacles as it wraps them around our lives and our world (Goldman Sachs ain’t got nothing on them!)? Fancy the risk of getting swallowed by the monster’s mouth and losing your own privacy once and for all?
When are we going to say, enough is enough, once and for all, and F*c* Off, Facebook?
This article was first posted on February 16, 2013