Today, the 31st of May 2010 is International Quit Facebook Day. It all started after some changes to the Facebook privacy settings were made earlier this year, with peoples settings changed and the default being information shared openly. They also have been working hard on a single-signon system which external websites can use, and link information about you and your friends.
Personally, I find this whole quit facebook day things to be hilarious. To me it simply shows peoples ignorance.
Every other month there’s stories in the news of people getting fired or rejected for jobs due to information they put on the ‘net, Facebook, Myspace etc.
Social networking sites like Facebook have always screamed to me as an identity thieves wet dream. They not only encourage, but beg, plead and almost force you to provide personal information that can be viewed publicly. Facebook for example has a policy of real names only. Stickam asks you to fill out profile information, with a LOT of very personal questions. It has a bar down the bottom saying “You’ve only filled out X percent – more more now!!!” and annoys you every time you log in. I don’t think that bar ever got above 5% for me despite putting at least something in to half the boxes.
These people have simply shown little to no regard for their own privacy, it’s suddenly slapped them in the face how ignorant and stupid they have been with this information. They were shocked and are now looking for someone else to blame for their own stupidity. They’re screaming out to the world “I AM QUITTING BECAUSE I’M SMART ABOUT PRIVACY! WATCH ME DO IT NOW!” on twitter, myspace, etc etc. All I hear is “I WAS A MORON AND CLUELESSLY GAVE AWAY MY IDENTITY!!!“.
Show some brains when you’re online. It doesn’t require much of a clue really. If a stranger walked up to you in the street and asked for your full name, would you give it? If not, then don’t give it to websites. Same goes for your phone number, date of birth, location, likes, dislikes etc. Only ever give out the information you’d give to a random stranger on the street. Use a pseudonym or false information for everything else. Those who know you in real life will know the real information about you, that’s all that matters.
If you’re thinking about quitting, stop for a few moments. Would you be happy using this site if it had no personal information to give away on you? If so, just remove that information and keep going.
Me personally, I won’t be quitting. I have recently untagged myself from all photos. I already use my pseudonym for facebook and I don’t like it and my real name being used together. Sure lots of people know both, but the vast majority who do know both know me in real life as well as online. That was the only data on myself I had to remove. I also got rid of all the books/movies/etc from my profile, but that was only because recent changes made anything listed there start spamming my wall which annoyed me. I was happy to keep that information in my profile if it wasn’t for the wall spam.
I have at least one friend who has left Facebook at about this time, but her main reasons for doing so are separate to the privacy thing. I’m ok with that. It’s not her or those like her that I’m ranting and raving about here.
If you’re still going to leave facebook, make sure it’s for the right reasons. Not just because you yourself were ignorant.