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 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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  1. Mark Nicholas
    Posted 21 March 2018 at 18:06 | Permalink

    I hear you- should I stay or should I go! I respect your decision, and I can surely send you interesting links in other mediums! I may just stay in FB myself, I’m very interested in maintaining relationships there so I’m rather hooked, despite the pitfalls:(

    • Posted 21 March 2018 at 18:57 | Permalink

      It’s people like you who make me want to stay on Facebook since i find your posts informative or entertaining or both. In any case, i’ll be thinking this through and will have to set up email distribution lists before i pull the plug on Facebook. And for that matter, i don’t have to immediately end my relationship with Facebook but rather, i can just stop looking at it so frequently at first, and then just deactivate it rather than deleting it. Slowly, slowly.

  2. Sharon
    Posted 2 April 2018 at 06:22 | Permalink

    Email is fine, but I couldn’t possibly use it to keep in touch with overlapping sets of people; my small Facebook filter/list shows updates to 100+ contacts, if they care to look. Most of my younger friends/colleagues have quit Facebook, however, and the thing is to post where people are, unless one wishes to keep a private journal….

    • Posted 2 April 2018 at 08:46 | Permalink

      Your point about email is well taken, particularly since i’ve yet to create a bcc email list myself, a job which would be much easier than it would for almost all of my Facebook friends. So yeah, that was not a good suggestion, and i thank you for pointing it out. A solution that i think will work for me is ask my friends to send a Friend request to my longtime companion, Matte Gray, who’s agreed to let me share his Facebook account.

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