21 March 2018

Rethinking Facebook

I’m so old that i remember when tourists marveled at how clean San Francisco was.


We’ve all read the recent news about Cambridge Analytica harvesting profiles and other data from fifty million Facebook subscribers and using the collected data to build applications influencing US voting, all of which was revealed by a whistleblower inside Cambridge Analytica.

Meanwhile, Facebook is turning damage control backflips.  even as a Facebook whistleblower reveals that covert data harvesting was routine.

This may be for me the final straw.

Not really so much that i worry about Facebook giving away my profile data.  Oh no, i was paranoid enough when i signed up that the only things correct on my profile are my name and city of residence.  And now i’m seeing the wisdom of lying to Zuckerberg.  Sometimes paranoids are fearful of real perils.

And of course i’ve also been very wary of giving various applications access to my profile and friends list, preferring to do without the app rather than sell my friends down the river.

So yes, i’ve taken measures to protect myself and my friends, but now i’m starting to wonder whether i really want to keep using Facebook.  And not just because it’s notorious for offshoring its profits to shelter them from American taxes.

The bigger problem is that i have a handful of friends who consistently post stuff onto Facebook that i am genuinely interested in, things that quite frankly i’d be highly unlikely to run across otherwise.  So i don’t want to cut off my nose to spite my face.  And still, i wonder.

What would happen if we reverted to emailing each other?  What if i wrote the people whose Facebook posts i quite enjoy that i was dropping out of Facebook and hoping they’d consider doing emails with a bcc list and including me on it?

Is that any harder than posting to Facebook?  All you’d have to do is go through the agony of building a distribution list (or perhaps two or three tailored distribution lists) onto which you could post everything that you’d otherwise post  on Facebook, and how damn hard is that?

Especially considering that you’d be striking a blow for freedom.

So yes, i’m going to be taking my own advice and gradually phasing out Facebook, encouraging my friends to look, instead, at mattegray.net and monitor their incoming emails.

Free, free at last.  Or at least a shred freer.


Meanwhile, an interesting garage door treatment in the Mission.

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