Should You Delete Your Facebook Page?

Authored by Mark Jeftovic via EasyDNS.com,

In 1994, Wired magazine ran a short story entitled “Hack the spew” . This was back when Wired was actually cutting edge and not the insufferable Silicon Valley stroke job it became after Conde Naste acquired it. In it our antihero “Stark” finds himself inexplicably recruited as a kind of data scout, looking for viable consumer trends emerging from the fully immersive, all encompassing data field known as “The Spew”.

“When a schmo buys something on the I-way it goes into his Profile, and if it happens to be something that he recently saw advertised there, we call that interesting, and when he uses the I-way to phone his friends and family, we Profile Auditors can navigate his social web out to a gazillion fractal iterations, the friends of his friends of his friends of his friends, what they buy and what they watch and if there’s a correlation.”

The Spew of course, was the near future analogy of where the internet was headed, and when I went looking to link to it for this post, the piece turned out to be written by none other than Neal Stephenson. That means I read “Hack The Spew” and it made an impression on me before I even knew who Stephenson was or perhaps was on his way to becoming. Few would argue that Stephenson has a gift for seeing the general ambience of our oncoming future. Cryptonomiconuncannily anticipated the impetus toward crypto-currencies; the current systemic dysfunction of national sovereignty worldwide was foretold in Snow Crash; so it follows that all this will likely culminate in something that resembles The Diamond Age.

Today, “The Spew” is not equivalent to the Internet itself, but it is more accurately analogous to say the social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, especially when combined with the twin monopolies of Google and Amazon, collectively are: The Spew.

It is like a global garbage pile of digital flotsam and jetsam, over which peasants scurry around and scour, looking for some morsel here, a crumb there, which can be monetized. If a trend or a trait is detected, even better. Those can be aggregated, syndicated, federated, even rehypothecated and at scale that can yield staggering financial payoffs and perhaps, even steer the course the history.

At least that’s the narrative since the Cambridge Analytica scandal blew up in Facebook’s …face. After a long string of successive privacy fails (a.k.a a pattern of abuse?) this time feels different, as if the chickens are finally coming home to roost for Facebook.

Cambridge Analytica is not unique

Ever heard of Kareem Serageldin? Probably not.

To date, he is the only banker to have been sent to prison in connection with the 2008–2009 Global Financial Crisis for his role in issuing fraudulent mortgage-backed securities (at least outside of Iceland). To be sure, he was a fall guy, a token sacrifice to demonstrate contrition for what was a systemic, institutionalized effort to inflate a bubble whose implosion nearly crashed the entire global financial system.

In this case while Facebook attempted to throw water on this crisis by ceremonially banishing Cambridge Analytica from its system, the longstanding pattern of abuse remains, and is perhaps now, finally, awareness of that is reaching critical mass with the public:

Mark Zuckerberg has issued yet another “Mea Culpa” on CNN, and Facebook will take out full page ads in newspapers to apologize to the public. Yet, by now, “Groveling Zuckerberg apologies” are just part of the Facebook playbook, as Liz Gannes observed back in 2011, after Facebook had just settled with the US Federal Trade Commission over still more privacy violations:

“At this point, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pattern on privacy is clear. Launch new stuff that pushes the boundaries of what people consider comfortable. Apologize and assure users that they control their information, but rarely pull back entirely, and usually reintroduce similar features at a later date when people seem more ready for it.”

It becomes clear, as Futurist (and easyDNS member) Jesse Hirsh made this point on Steve Pakin’s “The Agenda” over the weekend: “Facebook ships with all privacy enhanced settings disabled” — further, my personal findings are that they use obfuscation to make it harder to disable data sharing settings. You have to jump through hoops to do it.

Should you #deleteFacebook?

WhatsApp founder Brian Acton, who became a billionaire when Facebook bought his company hasn’t let that dissuade him from telling the world what he thinks of all this:

Should you? Should easyDNS? Here’s my take on it:

If you are a business: keep your page but don’t be reliant on it

There is a difference between a business who uses Facebook as an antennae to provide additional ways to stay in touch with customers and those whose business model is completely dependent on Facebook. We started our Facebook page when we were pulled into the Wikileaks Crisis as a way to stay in touch with our customers while that entire fiasco played out. We maintain it today for the same reason, and people do frequently contact us through that page looking for support.

But some businesses are completely reliant on Facebook to survive. I subscribe to James Schramko’s Superfast Business Podcast. A recent episode had the founder of Dogtington Post on it, a site I frequented myself in my early days of being a dog owner (our family Husky).

You have to credit the guy with dominating his niche but I couldn’t help wondering what would happen to his business if something substantial changed at Facebook, or if some of his readers would feel “used” if they understood some of the myriad tactics some of these sites routinely use, via Facebook, to drive their own affiliate revenues.

It brings to mind 2 things:

  1. My late friend and one of the original easyDNS customers Atul Chitniswho was among the first to observe “if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product”

  2. My own maxim, which I introduced in the Guerrilla Capitalism Overviewthat there are two kinds of companies, those that feed on customer ignorance compared to those who prosper via customer savvy . I think it is obvious to all, at least now, that Facebook needs customer ignorance to survive.

(Or as Zuck eloquently observed it back in his dormroom days)

YMMV on your personal pages

I read a long time ago “don’t put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want to read in the newspapers the next day”, and that has served me well as a guide over the years.

My basic assumption is that everything I post to Facebook, including “private” messages are wide open, being harvested, data mined, aggregated, used to target and retarget ads to me, build a profile and otherwise compile a comprehensive dossier, even stuff I’ve “deleted”. (If you’ve ever watched “Terms and Conditions May Apply” you’ll know that Facebook actually keeps the stuff you “delete”).

So I never say anything on Facebook or put anything on there that is remotely confidential or proprietary. It’s strictly a water cooler. I like it because it enabled me to reconnect with various groups of my friends and peers over the years, from the kids I grew up and went to high school with in Galt, Ontario to the misfits from the London underground music scene in college, to the tech entrepreneurs from the mid-90’s on.

Would I use it to send anything to anybody that I found myself hoping that it’s never going to leak or be used against me? Uh, no. That would be terribly naive.

So to that end, I’ll probably keep my personal Facebook page, even though I sometimes catch myself spending too much time arguing stupid pointless crap (like politics) with people I’d otherwise never associate with. But that’s a self-discipline issue, not a data soveriengty issue (although it is now also common knowledge that Facebook deliberately codes the platform itself to be as addictive as possible)

All that said…

At least #deleteFacebook from your mobile devices

Facebook harvests your contact lists from your mobile devices (don’t believe me, go here)
There are people in that list that I do not know. There are phone numbers from people who work for my competitors in there. My daughter’s (age 11) cell phone number is in there.

You can “delete” all this here: (but as you know Facebook never actually deletes anything).

Then when you go to “delete” all your contacts you get a message

“We won’t be able to tell you when your friends start using Messenger if you delete all your uploaded contact info.”

They say that like it’s a bad thing. But there is also this curious sentence:

“If you have Continuous Uploading turned on in the Messenger app, your contact info will be uploaded again the next time the app syncs with Facebook servers.”

I had deleted the Facebook mobile app from my phone a long time ago. I kept messenger installed because sometimes customers would contact easyDNS or Zoneedit via our Facebook pages for support.

But Writing this I wanted to turn off “continuous uploading” in the app. Despite this Facebook help article not explaining how to do it, while this third party article from 2016 did.

It turned out I had already disabled continuous uploading but I was surprised to find that the messenger app had defaulted permission to access my phone’s microphone.

After this exercise I simply deleted the Messenger app from my phone as well.

Personal Data Sovereignty is an idea who’s time has come

I think it would be safe to assume, that barring some widespread public pushback (such as the one happening right now), this is The New Normal.

People who may have been complacently oblivious to the fact that their social network was pimping them as mere data points are realizing that they don’t like it as they have their faces rubbed in one data breach and privacy violation after another.

Given the outrages of Equifax, Facebook et al, we may have arrived at the crossroads and we may only get this choice once.

Do we push back and say “NO”, I own my own data, I control who gets it and what happens with it. ?

Or, do we calm down after a few days, or weeks and then it’s business as usual. Next year Zuck will apologize for some other new breach of trust ahead of his 2020 presidential bid, while us “shmoes” go ahead and vote for him.

Comments

whatswhat1@yahoo.com Stackers Tue, 03/27/2018 - 20:09 Permalink

One of my pet peeves is the obfuscation to make it harder to disable data settings and the like. All of the big and medium size  "players" are down with that bullshit.  Doesn't it piss you off when you do an internet search for instructions on how to disable some annoying element and you follow the instructions only to find the selection box is greyed out or the menus don't match up with the instructions.  I know who is posting that disinformation.  It's the fraudulent companies themselves.  Today's game is to spin 'em around, turn 'em upside down, inside out, in order to wear them out, so they'll capitulate without a peep.

In reply to by Stackers

nmewn Sanity Bear Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:23 Permalink

Yep.

If anyone is interested in making rich lawyers even richer, go ahead & get involved in a class action where the fees are discussed privately with the judge and the "victims" out of the courtroom.

As an aside, I never got a Farcebook account (or Tweeter) but Mrs.N got on Farcebook to stay in touch with friends & family but it got to the point where they were getting mad at her for not commenting back or posting...lol...so, she shut it down about three years ago.

In reply to by Sanity Bear

whatswhat1@yahoo.com whatswhat1@yahoo.com Tue, 03/27/2018 - 20:54 Permalink

Each and every one of us is getting the bill for Facebook's micro-targeting algo.  What happens when the "morons" spend all of their income buying fraudulent, useless goods?  They seek out the government for a handout.  And who pays for the handout, we all pay.  Shouldn't our so-called "government" file an action against Facebook on behalf of every tax paying American citizen?  The total cost of public aid is $152.8 billion annually. Multiple that amount by the number of years Facebook has been running their algo fraud.  Divide that number by the number of taxpayers and add penalties, interest, damages and a punch in Zuck's nose. Pay up Zuckerberg or else!

In reply to by whatswhat1@yahoo.com

GUS100CORRINA JRobby Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:12 Permalink

Should You Delete Your Facebook Page?

My response: Probably won't happen because people are addicted to "FACEBOOK PORN" and need their daily (or hourly) fix. 

Facebook users professing to be wise became fools!! SATAN must be laughing his ass off!!!!!

We call this situation "FACEBOOK DERANGEMENT SYNDROME" or FDS for short.

In reply to by JRobby

Buckaroo Banzai cossack55 Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:09 Permalink

There is one decent reason to keep a Facebook page: to prevent an identity thief from setting one up in your name, and then using it for nefarious purposes.

So keep your Facebook page, with just enough of your actual friends listed on it so nobody you know will unwittingly friend-request an imposter.

Obviously, never use it, or post any kind of personal information on it. Just keep it there to cockblock identity thieves.

In reply to by cossack55

cbxer55 Brazen Heist Tue, 03/27/2018 - 20:32 Permalink

I don't even think the real name thing will make a difference. Know how many people I've known in my life with the same name? Even two with the same damn middle initial. When I worked at Rockwell International years ago, there were three people there with my name, one with the same middle initial. Used to get our mail mixed up all the tim, even the ones with a different middle initial. 

So that's a BIG Nothingburger. There could be 100 peeps on The Book Of Flop with my name. How the fuck would I know if they were impersonating me, or not? 

In reply to by Brazen Heist

Baron Samedi Buckaroo Banzai Tue, 03/27/2018 - 22:49 Permalink

Dead-on Buckaroo! When I killed my FB I started getting SMS messages with confirmation codes - that told me someone was trying to hijack the account.  No idea what they wanted it for; I got it to communicate with one crazy friend.

So I assumed this dance will go on until some (probably too heavy-handed) regulatory reform crushes FB ... maybe that will at least take down some (more) $lime with it.

 

In reply to by Buckaroo Banzai

css1971 hedgeless_horseman Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:28 Permalink

No!

 

Post your login details publicly.

 

Deleting something doesn't actually do anything in computerland. It just marks it as deleted and pretends it actually did something. In order to destroy data, you have to overwrite it. Even better if it can be altered randomly, and thereby be corrupted undetectably.

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

pigpen hedgeless_horseman Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:48 Permalink

Hedgeless, delete FB and then install adblocker. I prefer brave browser due to its simplicity and it blocks advertising malware and tracking by DEFAULT on any device and operating system rendering digital advertising model useless.

We should own our data and be paid to use it.

Whoever controls the browser controls the money.

What is advertising worth if your can't serve ad, I don't view ad and I can't be tracked?

Citizens cut off the lifeblood of the goobook surveillance tracking censorship monopolies. Install brave browser or similar adblocking browser immediately.

Cheers,

Pigpen

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

WhackoWarner hedgeless_horseman Tue, 03/27/2018 - 20:33 Permalink

I discovered that I indeed had Facefrig credentials circa 2011.  So I went in to not "disable" but to delete.  Nonsense.

Never used the account but had to jump through hoops to "delete".

Take 14 days?  Yeah as if it ever really goes away.  A company that rapes data has no credibility when they "say" they will delete it.

Lying all the way.

IF you ever signed up for Facefrig...Twitface or anything like that?  Data will never disappear.  Never.  And I suspect that the act of "deletion" will flag your details.

Just saying.

 

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

TheRideNeverEnds hedgeless_horseman Tue, 03/27/2018 - 22:54 Permalink

Hahaha they think they can delete their Facebook accounts.

 

How cute. 

 

They clearly have no idea how the Internet works.  You put it out there (or they take it secretly) and it’s out of your control to be stored forever in cyberspace.  

 

I “””deleted””” my faceberg account years ago.  Still to this day I get notifications via email about events that friends posted, friends I was never even associated with on Facebook mind you.

 

Remember when Obama was using the IRS to target audits at conservatives?  How do you think he knew who that was? 

 

The reason google et all operate without government scrutiny is because the government loves to have all that data.  Sure the NSA intercepts it all anyway but they don’t compliment profiles on every man woman and child, they don’t have an incentive.  Google and Facebook do, it’s literally their entire businesses model.   

Take for example the recent school shooter.  The FBI didn’t go to the NSA for info on him, they went to google and Facebook, had his entire life story and present location within minutes.  

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

Jimbeau Tue, 03/27/2018 - 18:59 Permalink

Doesn't the entity we fear most already have access to all our data? Who is it that we think we are hiding anything from? Just don't be stupid and put any new sensitive info out there, anywhere, if you don't have to... but worrying about the info the the govt already has on you? What would be the point?

brucyy Jimbeau Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:13 Permalink

Indeed. Plus it's not like the US of A was exactly respectful of private informations even before facebook existed..Sadly. But i feel the cat is out of the bag , and hopefully , the masses will take the issue a bit more seriously . One can always dream. (At least , incidentally destroying most social networks would be greatly beneficial for humanity)

In reply to by Jimbeau

SDShack Jimbeau Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:40 Permalink

Yep, the NSA has already been exposed for collecting everything on everyone. Something tells me their Utah Super Computer Facility is up and running exactly to their liking. No need to have the middlemen like Faceplant potentially gumming up the works now that they have gotten everything they needed from this batch of tech whores. Time to pull the plug on this rode hard group and devote fiat to the next hi-tech cyber whores willing to get into the security state bed for less money then Suckerbut and develop the next version of corral the sheeple. Rinse and repeat is what they do with EVERYTHING.

In reply to by Jimbeau

chiron1 Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:00 Permalink

The problem is if you have been using social media for some time ,, they already have you profiled and targeted ,,, so delete all you want but they still have everything!

RagaMuffin Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:01 Permalink

Personal Data Sovereignty is an idea who’s time has come

 

Dear Dirtbag Jeftovich,

The idea is the only one that had a rats ass chance to pass constitutional muster

Strong response to follow

_cygnus_ Tue, 03/27/2018 - 19:02 Permalink

Unless you really love Zucker and Co. passing on your senstive data to third parties and the constant barrage of moms posting pics of their kids everyday, then yeah. You should probably delete that shit.