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Notes : No, I'm not on Facebook

No, I'm not on Facebook -- but I once was.

Some years ago, I did succumb to the Facebook peer pressure and joined the site. Unsure of any other value, this did cease the flood of invitations by email. Eventually, I added a photo, listed my contact information, and confirmed friendship with, well, my friends. In time, I became increasingly cynical: Why should I have Facebook friends when I can have real friends? Is Facebook only a popularity contest? Did I have an interest in spying on old pals' online social lives? (Simply, no.) Perhaps most importantly, how does publishing a network of my (virtual) friends erode my privacy?

I rather support online communities which harness the Internet as a modern communications medium. Yet, I remain blind to whatever perceived value encourages millions to log their most intimate social life to a central database, particularly one so actively marketed for data mining.

Early in January 2008, increasing spam from Facebook and heightened privacy concerns overwhelmed a tenuous compromise with others' convenience of finding me. This conviction to maintain control of my personal data was only reinforced when my attempts to unsubscribe from the network were unsuccessful. Appallingly, while deactivation is possible, deletion of an account is not. A few email exchanges with info@facebook.com suggested only that I deactivate the account so I might come back later. Displeased, more poignant requests led to removal of my login from the site, though it remains likely that my history is stored, and available for purchase. These procedural details have been discussed elsewhere: 2054 Steps to closing your Facebook account.

More recently, the New York Times has covered Facebook's account policies: How Sticky Is Membership on Facebook? Just Try Breaking Free.

Created: 08 Mar 2008
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2009