I left Facebook on June 16, 2013.
I hated to leave – ever since I’d been in touch with former classmates, and people from my original home town, an extraordinarily special place, I have really cherished my Facebook contacts, old and new, as my network has grown and thrived.
I had to do it, though. I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy any longer.
Reason 1: Privacy
Facebook regularly changes its privacy settings and policies, sometimes without advance notice (though they’ve improved on this recently). OK, so do Google, Twitter, and the rest. But Facebook also has managed to change the default settings, so that people who thought they had set their privacy, once and for all, had to go back and learn new settings in order to get back to where they were before the change. While they were doing so, of course, posts that were intended to be limited ended up, sometimes, being public, or reaching a wider audience than intended.
Add Facebook’s absolutely horrendous user interface and myriad settings found under different menus throughout, and I, a content professional, had a hard time navigating through them. Imagine if it were my Aunt Matilda (if only I had an Aunt Matilda ;-))
You might, legitimately, ask if I thought the other social networks, that I am not leaving, are any different? See this article in The Consumerist for a comparison of how the different social networks respect, and defend, users’ privacy, and you’ll see that Facebook, while not alone, is hardly near the top. Thanks to Guy Kawasaki for pointing this one out.
Never mind about PRISM – there’s a whole raft of posts about a whole raft of social networks lurking in there somewhere, maybe another day…
Reason 2: Censorship.
I have spent all my life in the communication world, half of it working in theatre, film, video, and radio, as an artist, producer, journalist, and manager, the other half of it in my current profession of technical content professional. I am a died in the wool believer in the value of general culture, in free speech, in open, transparent communication.
Facebook, however, has consistently censored art museums who display nude images on their pages. I am speaking, here, of major art museums, such as France’s Centre Pompidou or the Galérie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, both of which have been the victims of account suspensions, and threatened with account cancellation by Facebook, for posting images from current exhibitions. Read more here.
Wake up, Facebook, what century are we in? Do we need to put fig leafs on all the Greek statues again, as in the Dark Ages? Isn’t the nude portrait a classic art form throughout occidental history?
Or, are we pandering to the basest, least common denominator prudishness of some American puritans? Isn’t Facebook supposed to be international? Shouldn’t there be GLOBAL standards for what is acceptable?
Reason 3: Total Hypocrisy
Speaking about standards, Facebook censors nude art works, but was willing to ignore consistent misogynist, hate postings that promoted violence against women. It took an organised campaign to get them to change their policies on this, while they arbitrarily and automatically censor art works simply for having nude figures.
Money talks? Whose? Read the story here.
All of these reasons, taken together, made me decide I can no longer stomach the amoral management of Facebook. Yes, I’m leaving for moral umbrage! Does that sound terribly old-fashioned and “impractical?”
If you think so, ask yourself if you’re not part of the coming crisis. Please. I really mean it.