Monday, 31 May 2010

Quit Facebook Day

Today is Quit Facebook Day. I’ve long been avoiding Facebook, since I disagree with their privacy policy and terms of service.

Essentially, Facebook *own* all the information you post on their website, forever. They can and do sell your information and photos to third party sites. It’s a huge risk for identity theft. I find it a huge potential risk for much nastier stuff as well.

As a midwife who specialises in working with women who are survivors of abuse, I find Facebook is especially risky; it is *very* easy to track people down through their account, even if you’re using a fake name (using a fake name, is, by the way, against their terms of service, which I highly encourage everyone to read, as well as their privacy policy).

Other companies and governments get access to your info – in fact, that’s how Facebook makes their money – by selling your information. The ads are just a bonus. I might be paranoid, but with good reason. The holocaust wasn’t all that long ago; imagine some whacko getting into power with access to all the information available about everyone on Facebook!

The scary thing is, it’s really hard to delete your account. You can read about that, and how to actually do it HERE. If you don’t want to delete your account altogether, I strongly suggest you go into your account settings and privacy settings, go through every tab and read it all carefully to get the strongest security you can. Check back into those settings regularly – Facebook often change their privacy policy and terms of service, and often when these settings get updated, all your settings go back to default, exposing you.

And do you really need Facebook? A couple of years ago, no one had it – we used email, photosharing sites, instant message systems, blogs… all those infrastructures are still in place.

Anyway, my good friend Strypes talks at length about it all, so if you’re interested, you can read his blog post HERE


  1. Thanks for this information. Wish there was an easier/cheaper way to keep in touch with friends/family overseas..I will be checking that my privacy settings are up to date. Thank you xo

  2. With Grace in Your Heart, there is a very easy, and cheap way to keep in touch with people. email them. Use Skype to make free phone calls over the internet. Post photos on a photosharing site with better privacy and terms of service.

  3. Thanks majikfaerie I have deleted my account and I'm really happy about it. Do you recommend a photo sharing site with a good terms of service?

  4. Ani, I use Flickr, which allows Creative Commons and is free for a limited account.

  5. Thanks, I will have a look at flickr. Unfortunately my family (a very large one!) live in an extremely remote area and don't have a phone line or the internet! They check in with me every so often from internet cafes. We have been using facebook to share photos, but I don't think I want to do that anymore! A photosharing site sounds much safer xo

  6. No, I don't think you're paranoid. I never quite trusted facebook either. Facebook freaks me out a bit - especially about hearing that people could easly track other people down. There are some people from my past... that's where I like to keep them - in my past.

    I only started blogging to get some computer skills and to show off my arts and crafts. I have to pull myself up occassionaly not to put too much personal info on my blog.

  7. I have all be "deactivated" my account on facebook. I stepped way back and no longer post, changed my name on there and email. I am no longer searchable. It's uber private. I just checked it again last night.

    Anway, I have flickr, but what I've found is that if I keep my photos set to private, they won't show up on my blog. I don't know how to keep my account private yet be able to post pics. Any tips?

  8. Okay, I jumped on the ban-wagon and unjoined, despite my facebook addiction. Thanks for the information. :-)

  9. Thaank you so much for this information! I've been wondering for a looong time how to delete my facebook account. I never liked the site, I never wanted to be there, but unfortunately my friends convinced me a few years back. I have deleted my account now, THANK YOU!

  10. Queen Mumma, I think if you want the photos to come up on your blog, then they don't need to be private.
    Another way around this is to upload the photos you want on your blog directly to your blog - when posting your blog, select uploading photos from your computer, rather from a web address. Then they will be hosted by the blog site, completely separately from your Flickr account.
    HTH, let me know if you need help :)

  11. Yeah, I dunno.... I've heard a lot about the privacy issues and conspiracy issues around facebook, and I've got to say that I always come back to my two old men theory - which is this. Way back when I was a super dyke, I was reading in a gay and lesbian newspaper about Fred Nile and his pray for rain meetings around Mardi Gras time in Sydney - which was basically him and his cronies getting together to pray that it would rain on the parade. That year I happened to share a press pass with a friend, and we got to interview the dykes on bikes and lots of other gorgeous folk, and it was raining, and lot of our talk was about Fred Nile and how he wasn't gonna rain on anybodies parade. And then after the Mardi Gras, there was another article from a gay and lesbian newspaper. They'd decided to send a reporter undercover to see what happened at the pray for rain meetings. She got dressed up in a wig and conservative clothes, had a beeper on her if it got too hot, was prepared and anxiously awaited by her friends....and she walked into the meeting....and guess what. It was just two old men, sitting at a table. That was it.

    On reading that it hit me like a bolt from the blue, that all that fuss and energy had been put into two old men, which was similar to the amount of energy I put into the 'moral majority' 'out there' who didn't approve of me and my choices, and who incidentally I'd never met - maybe because they were just two old men. And this approach translated to lots of conspiracy theories and bullying tactics and big brotherness - we give them more energy than the two old men deserve!! They create thier power like the little man in the Wizard of Oz - behind a machine that makes them look big and scary and powerful, but it's just a little man with tricks.

    I really do believe that every single thing and sentient being is connected, and that we are all one, and that you are me and I am you, and that we can all reclaim our power back from scare tactics and just ourselves and the universe to keep going with the flow.

    And besides all that, I've also got to say that facebook has been a real blessing in my life - reconnected me with people I'd lost contact with, and family, and introduced me to many new people who I love and may not have met otherwise, and given me a lot of information that I don't have the time to search out but other people have, and also advertised my art and events in a way that is easy and concise.

    This is just my opinion of course, but I thought it worth throwing in the soup:)

  12. Already deleted my facebook account three weeks ago ;)
    I must say I missed it for the first week. Certain people in my life seem to have lost the ability to send emails and only use fb instead *sigh* Oh well, their loss!
    One thing I used to do before I deleted my account is never upload photos but only post links to where they were hosted elsewhere.

  13. Thanks for that comment, Hellena.
    I had somewhat expected a whole lot more comments from people defending Facebook. Personally, I don't have any judgement against people who use it, I do believe that people should use it with awareness and informed consent. Facebook really *isn't* just two old men doing nothing. It really is selling your personal information, as they themselves outline in the Terms of Service. If people know that and are fine with it; no problem! But as I understand it, the majority of Facebook users are blithely unaware of it's potential "dark side" and the possible risks involved with that.


Thanks for your lovely words, witty banter and entertaining discussion :)