Love It Or Leave It: STFU About Facebook

Another Facebook redesign, and another wave of hysteria. Good grief. The pattern has become too frequent, to predictable, and altogether too insignificant.

First, if it really sucks so bad, if it really harms your life, if you’re really afraid they’ll change the profit model and “force you to pay”, then just leave. Get out. Take off. I don’t know of any friends on Facebook who have actually voted with their feet on this one and actually left. Well, honestly, maybe I do, and just didn’t notice them leave; I don’t miss them on Facebook, and apparently they don’t miss me, at least enough to drop me an email (yes, email, that loathsome snailmail of the FB generation).

Secondly, this is the first redesign that actually seems focused on improving privacy and the control thereof. Personally, I’ve had all my FB settings on “Friends Only” since it first became an option, several iterations ago, and as such, this newest “upgrade” really changes very little for me. If anything, I do believe things are improved a little, in that I can now (partly) defeat the “smart feed” and actively pull more content from people I want to see more from.

Thirdly, these “services” are really products, bought and sold in a marketplace. You’re dumping almost everything about your life into private servers owned by private companies driven by strong private financial gain. Worried about paying for Facebook? Google? Hotmail? These companies are already profiting by mining your personal information. In return, they are offering you a “free” service, which you are under no obligation to make use of. Is this nefarious? Not at all. When Google reads my email in exchange for excellent “free” webmail service, I consider that a fair trade.

Lastly, and most importantly, you cannot lose what you have not got, and in this case the lacking item is an expectation of privacy in a glaringly public place. No, I’ll correct that: in a glaringly private space, albeit owned by someone else. Right now, someone somewhere is sitting at their laptop, on an unsecured and/or public wireless network, uploading some scathing and virulent critique of Facebook’s privacy abuses.

Those of you readers who plainly perceive the irony at play understand all too well, while those of you who don’t probably never will.


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