I laughed when I saw a status update yesterday that read, “Make sure you hug a white person today. Between the new Pandora and Facebook changes, it’s been a hard day for them.” There’s so much going on in the world right now, and Facebook is such an insignificant part of it. So many people (including myself, at times) put their energy into wanting to change the wrong things.
But at the same time, I am very tired of Facebook.
I signed up for Facebook a long time ago, back in 2004. Back then, you could go through lists of people and their profiles. I didn’t really care very much for it then, and didn’t update it. In early 2005, my friend Shark said, “Are you on Facebook?” I said that I was, but that I didn’t do anything with my profile. “Oh, you should,” he said. “It’s awesome.” So I started messing around with my profile, and before you know it, I was logging into the damn thing multiple times a day. I told him the other day that I totally blame my Facebook addiction on him, while he hardly ever logs in anymore.
I really dislike what Facebook has become these past five years. Back then, Facebook pretended to care about your privacy. You could hide your profile picture from people you didn’t know. You could block items from appearing in your newsfeed. You could hide status updates from certain people. Then Facebook decided that they wanted you to “share” everything with people. There’s been a consistent and disturbing erosion of privacy all while Facebook pretends that they care about privacy.
Let’s be real here – Facebook doesn’t give a SHIT about privacy. The most egregious flaw of Facebook’s stance on privacy is their opt-out, not opt-in policy. If I had known what a behemoth Facebook would turn into, I likely never would have signed up.
The latest changes are causing more of an uproar, with good reason. I’m disturbed at the idea of the real-time updates on the right-hand status bar. Last night, I made a comment on a friend’s status update that had been quoting a Chumbawumba lyric. No one else on that thread understood the reference, but I did, so I added a lyric of my own. Five minutes later, another friend made a status update saying, “Someone just quoted Chumbawumba on my Facebook friend’s list. Time to quit Facebook.” Now, don’t get me wrong – the person making this update is one of my best friends, and I found the comment hilarious. But I’d had no idea that people could see me trolling Facebook at 1 in the morning. To me, that was the more serious issue – that people could see what I was saying on other’s status updates, that my activity was public when I wanted my browsing to be private.
What if I had been saying something about someone else on my friend’s list, thinking that since there wasn’t a common connection between these two people, I’d be safe?
That’s why I’m taking a break from Facebook for now. I don’t know yet if this break will be permanent or not. I need to figure out the privacy settings (if they even exist) that will keep my browsing private. But why should I have to go through so much effort to keep my browsing private? That should be an automatic right given to me as a user. I shouldn’t HAVE to spend so much time and energy making sure my private life stays private.
My Facebook break needed to happen, anyway. I was getting way too addicted to checking for updates, even when I already hate everything it stands for. I hate the forced “sharing.” I hate the fact that people think the most insignificant shit is worth posting about. I hate that I am judged based on what I say or do on a social networking site. I hate how a simple networking tool is being used to feed the ego and disturbing vision of Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t want to be part of your social experiment anymore, asshole.
In the meantime, I’ll be with the many people making the jump to Google+. You can find me there.
I really, really am hoping that Facebook is the next Myspace.