Saturday, March 24, 2018

Facebook, and why it's unnecessary

When Elon Musk had his Space-X and Tesla Facebook pages deleted on Friday, I cheered. Here, one of the most brilliant minds in America - possibly the world, decided to completely remove his company to be associated with the ever-darkening aura of Zuckerberg's data mining empire. I giggle at the thought of other high-profile companies decide to ditch the Facebook forever.

Back in 2009 I joined up for 2-3 months before I realized this was complete shit. I found their site layout inefficient and confusing. A co-worker complained to me about my brother posting a sexually explicit picture on my facebook wall. My brother is a wonderful person and has dark humour, and I never really thought it was that bad. But my colleague was a devout Christian and found it offensive.  Back then I never had a smart phone with facebook apps. It was a blackberry with shitty built-in apps that nobody used. Remember that phone? The stupid one with the sliding front glass to reveal a tiny keyboard below it? The blackberry torch. It was a  complete pile of rubbish.

When I was using "Facebook", I never posted often and never told it my birthday or anything else. I never "tagged" or "poked" anyone. Then one fateful day I decided to remove all the add-ons to my profile - even the wall. I deleted my posts and "friends". I sat back for a few minutes and wondered who's getting the best deal here - me, with random chats with colleagues and such, or facebook - silently data mining, collecting my information, tracking me across web sites and platforms, all along, selling this data to third party companies with my permission. (It was in the end user agreement).

I decided to delete my account permanently and contacted Facebook support to have myself removed from their database. It took 2 weeks of constant requesting, but after it was done, I never received any e-mails from Facebook at all.

What's more seriously evil about Facebook is the site is designed to suck as much time from you as possible. It is what you would call a dopamine addict's nightmare. Feed you random news and likes, you get a rush of good feelings and then you try to chase it with more  useless content and pictures.

Here is an actual quote of communication between Zuckerberg and another student, just shortly after the site went live back in 2004:

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don't know why.
Zuck: They "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb fucks 

Yeah. That should tell you everything you need to know about Zuckerberg and his company - including Whatsapp and Instagram (I refuse to join either of those). The most important thing to him is money and sucking as much time from Facebook users as possible - to consume ads of course...which feed his which he sells personal information to advertisers and analytics companies like Cambridge Analytics (what a scumbag CEO that guy is). Fuck everything about that company.

Stop and think: Do you want your face, your name, your image - to be claimable by this asshole and sold and associated with advertisers without your explicit permission? Any image, video, or post becomes property of Facebook. They own it. All of it. And that's why I refuse to post any of my content to that platform.

But an even bigger menace is Alphabet and it's child company Google. They collect even more information from its user base to sell advertising and promote services such as Youtube. I would be perfectly happy to pay $100 a year to have complete anonymity from the internet. In Europe it's called the "right to be forgotten". I think everyone deserves this if they want it.  And guess how long I stuck with Google+ ? About a week. Completely useless.

You want to catch up with a friend? Let's go for coffee. Need to vent? Send an e-mail. Phone someone. Visit them in person (shocking I know). Pretty soon people will think it's crazy to even go on vacations.

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