I have been pondering over a decision to completely delete my FaceBook account since early spring of 2018 when Cambridge Analytica scandal came out. This week, with FaceBook admitting yet another opening for 3rd party companies to access users’ private data my decision has been made. I will be removing 99% of the people on my friends list instead of removing my account completely.
Treat FaceBook as a public forum
No matter how much I wanted to completely delete my FaceBook account and protect myself from intrusions into my privacy, I still find some value in participation on this platform. I do find useful and valuable information in several public groups that I participate in, sharing information with people that I have common interest with. Sometimes I use market place feature in the effort to declutter my home of items that still hold value to someone else in my town. I also find local events, announcements from the town government useful as well. Because I still do care to receive this highly localized information, I do not want to completely remove my account. Any communication
Messenger is off limits
Messenger has always been a feature that I found extremely intrusive and I have used it only on rare occasions when friends or random strangers send me a message, so I have that annoying notification in the upper right corner, a visual indicator that someone has sent me something. Messenger wants to have access to all your contacts on your phone, to replace encrypted and protected text communication that you get from your telephone provider, and wants to replace your wallet. The intrusion into your life never ends. I think that using a messenger on your phone is an equivalent of never looking your home.
How to stay in contact with me
It’s really not that hard for my friends to reach out to me. I have had the same mobile number and the same email address for over 15 years and I do not see that changing. Everyone that knows me well know that I am very prompt in replying back. For anyone else that doesn’t have my contact information, I am extremely easy to find because I am a small business owner. All you have to do is search my name in your favorite search engine and you will see different ways to reach out to me. I also like Twitter quite a bit and I will remain active on that platform. For my friends and family overseas, I use Viber.
Over the next week or so, I will delete 99% of the people on my friends list and keep only closest family members in my circle. With that, I hope to minimize the probability of a data breach from profiles that are associated with well over 1,000 people in their own friends list.
Data breach offenses
If you search for “Facebook privacy breach” in your favorite search engine, you will get a huge list of news articles. I am highlighting here the latest data breach, but I am sure the we will continue to see more of it (from 5 ways FB shared your data).
“Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without consent, the records show, and gave Netflix and Spotify the ability to read Facebook users’ private messages. The social network permitted Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and it let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts as recently as this summer, despite public statements that it had stopped that type of sharing years earlier.”
I changed the setting on FaceBook to make my friends list visible only to myself, but obviously that is completely irrelevant because a major search access was given an access to it. This is a complete breach of trust for me. Even though I feel I cannot completely purge my account, keeping my friends list to handful of people will hopefully dramatically reduce the risk of data breach for me.
Pick up the phone, or type me good old fashioned email and stay in touch, my friends!