Social media used to be all about digital flirtation, keeping your friends close, and organizing cohesive events. I loved using AIM and Facebook chat for live bantering with friends. I found it super weird to "Facebook stalk" other people, but lo and behold, at some point, I ended up subconsciously scrolling the same useless feed on public transit, essentially doing the same thing everyone else was doing... Wow, I can't believe how long I was on the Facebook platform - over a decade of all of my stupid pictures, comments, and chats archived on the cloud for anyone to peruse.
In 2019, I can no longer support a company whose profit incentives are aligned with harvesting any and all user data by all means. Privacy is vitally important, NOT likes and follows. I'm a creator, not a consumer, and I damned-well better be remembered for making dope shit, rather than pretending to flaunt my clout on the internet.
I built a few apps on Facebook's OAuth v1.0 graph platform which leveraged its famed social network. Anytime a single user signed up for my service using Facebook, the app would automatically scrape that user's digital fingerprint and their entire friend list via Facebook's API. This was the network effect Facebook wanted to sell me, but damn, I didn't realize how much data they actually had. 10,000 Facebook user signups could give you almost 1 million network points of their friends. Depending on the permissions I requested on the app, I could have scraped an entire network of very personal user data.
I can only imagine how many terabytes of data the most popular apps using Facebook's API have been able to scrape. This is enough data to build an entire prediction network of your interests that know you better than you know yourself!! (Facebook already knows when you're pregnant) Facebook and Instagram are the most effective data inception tools for advertisers and political propaganda. What's crazy is that this data can now be weaponized against common consciousness: Cambridge Analytica, Flat Earthers, Anti-Vaxxers, etc. If you are still receiving your news from the same, partisan news networks on Facebook, I can guarantee you that those media companies, along with fake Russian bots, are using basic clickbait psychology to manipulate your screen time and influence. The Dunning-Kruger effect is amplified through the basic sharing, liking, and following functions of social media. Hell, there is now an entirely new advertising business designed around influencers and affiliate marketing.
Sadly, on social media, we're all seeking out people's opinions to validate our own biases, yet we rarely test our own hypotheses against people of the opposite viewpoints. Both the right and the left political think-tanks drift further and further apart, as a result of sensationalist, clickbait, fake-news headlines driven by popular influencers in digitally, segmented communities. These echo chambers of thought are already fragmenting our physical, human communities, for online, we usually only befriend and follow people whose ideas resonate with our own thoughts.
Fuck. Facebook is the best manipulative spying tool of all time. Governments lust for a tool which allows them to create lifetime profiles on all of their citizens. Now, we're all doing it for free. We're all working for Facebook. And look, Facebook has no economic incentive to STOP collecting as much as possible on us. In Q1 2019 alone, Facebook made $15.08 billion in revenue. On their quarterly statement, Facebook has already financially accounted for a $3-5 billion dollar fine by the FTC. Unfortunately, this fine will not economically, incentivize Facebook to make any meaningful changes. As long as the data profits are larger than the fines, Facebook's cavalier stance on privacy will continue.
But wait, what about Zuckerberg's mission to take privacy seriously? He promised private interactions, encryption, reducing permanence, safety, interoperability, and secure data storage. These buzzwords surely must be good, right?
WRONG. These pillars of privacy are for keeping your data secure, but these pillars say NOTHING about revising data collection, data sharing, or ad targeting practices. What's even more concerning in Zuckerburg's manifesto is that Facebook intends to merge its WhatsApp, Instagram Direct, and Facebook Messenger platforms. Undoubtedly, this unified messaging infrastructure will contain all the best parts of WeChat /s. After all, Zuckerberg wants to build the WeChat of the West.
What could possibly go wrong? If you guessed implementing a massive governmental PRISM surveillance system, then you wouldn't be that far from the truth. Are you prepared for an Orwellian 2019? Read on..
- Do you know Facebook lobbies against privacy laws worldwide?
- Do you know if your photos have geolocation metadata attached, that Facebook knows your exact location? (Suggestion: remove location tagging preferences from your photos, thank me later)
- Do you know if you have Facebook open in a tab, that it will track every single website you visit in that browser, even if it's in a new tab?
- Do you know that Facebook Messenger tracks every single letter you typed on your keyboard? Every thought that you regrettably thumbed on your phone is permanently recorded on their intranet.
- Do you know Facebook even tracks mouse movements on your screen?
- Besides the obvious facial recognition patterns Facebook has added, do you know that Facebook tracks you through the dust on your camera lens?
- Do you know that the Facebook Android Messenger app even scrapes your phone call log? Why does it need this info?
- Do you know Facebook has been using shell mobile apps to further track its users?
- By the way, do you know Brian Acton (WhatsApp founder), Brendan Iribe (Oculus founder), and all of the Instagram founders have left Facebook?
- Do you know Facebook's Ex-Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, called social media's effects "not neutral"? Hmmmmm, I wonder why he left.
And remember, this is only the information privacy investigators have uncovered. Imagine the 3D telemetries being harvested through Facebook's VR spin-off, Oculus.. They crave a digital mold of your entire body.
If these aren't enough reasons to leave Facebook, I don't know what the hell else will get your attention. You've given up your privacy for likes, convenience, and "keeping up" with your friends. We (by we I mean millennials) are setting a privacy and communication precedent for all future generations.
Facebook is one massive hack away from leaking more information about you than you know about yourself. Do we really want a Black Mirror reality of social credit systems based on a user profile's "score"? Do we really want to end up in a censored world where every bit of your personal information is transferred and consumed by Authoritarian governments and AI??
This is why I'm deleting my Facebook. Zuckerberg is not the person I wanted to trust with all of my data. I'll be posting my pictures on secure, password-protected channels in which my friends can peruse.
Seriously, just reach me on a secure line from now on:
What makes me sad is that Facebook undoubtedly has archives and backups of backups of all of their old users. I yearn for the day of a decentralized, privatized social media platform that everyone can participate in and get paid for.
You can delete it too. It's time. #DeleteFacebook.