A quieter, more private web

January 7, 2021 - By

It’s a noisy world isn’t it? The conflict, confusion, and controversies of 2020 continue (published on March 283rd, 2020). As a result I am all-but off of Twitter, additionally I’ll be shutting down my Facebook-related accounts in the coming days.

If you know me from one of these contexts please stay in touch; [email protected] If you have been in contact on Whatsapp I’m using the same phone number for SMS and Telegram. Alternatively I’m on Discord, and Hangouts.

Some FB Privacy Background

If you use Whatsapp you may have had a recent completely-normal-looking privacy policy update. Usually these are a bit dull, but there are a lot of privacy implications to this one, granting Facebook access to your information. You can read more about it in this Ars Technica article, but some of the data FB will now be able to collect will include Other people’s phone numbers stored in address books. It irks me that my use of this makes a decision on behalf of my contacts who are intentionally not using Facebook.

Many people don’t place a lot of trust in Facebook, and combined with the recent political unrest in the USA (the Capitol Building incident from January 6 was apparently organized on a Group using that platform), I have been seeing a bigger reaction to this change from the web development community; many migrating to Telegram or Signal (both have privacy and encryption as key features). Migrating to other chat platforms is something everyone should consider.

This following tiny unreadable chart brings a nice visualization to just how much Facebook is collecting compared to some other services, find a bigger vesion and text here

I’ve enjoyed these platforms for what they are on face-value, but digging deeper it’s just not worth it.

Should you delete any of your accounts!?

I decided I would make a final post on FB to say goodbye, and leave my contact info for my 800 closest friends. The post had some good conversations in the comments. One was along the sentiment of “should I cancel other accounts? Twitter? Google?”

This is a REALLY good question. I think it’s a “follow the money” situation, and also evaluating what value the platform brings to you. I haven’t used facebook for a couple of years, so to me it’s not worth it – if I haven’t missed the socialization during a year-long lockdown, I probably won’t miss it next year either.

Facebook monetizes by keeping your attention as long as it can, monetizing off of ads; and possibly selling data in some form (I’m not sure it’s known in what way; like if it’s just demographic data like how many women 25-40 in Canada drive Toyota or whatever; but google that Cambridge Analytica scandal from a couple of years ago), and being family/friend/interests oriented they get a lot of your data in your posts, photos, videos etc.

Twitter also does ads, but they don’t have as much of my data (just stupid dad-jokes and developer thoughts). Google does a TON with ads, but weaving them into the tools I use to do life – and apparently no humans there can read my sensitive data etc. I say “apparently” because there’s no way to be 100% sure, but I trust Google more than I trust Facebook, which is a personal feeling, which is of questionable worth!

There’s no perfect stuff online except for that which we build ourselves. It’s just a “cost benefit analysis” situation each of us has to make. I feel very strongly that my contacts need to be kept out of facebook to respect the friends who are deliberately not on social media.

Backup Your Stuff!

If or when the time comes for you to consider leaving Facebook don’t forget to backup your data (if that’s your kinda thing). For Facebook it’s in the Settings, for Instagram it’s here.

Such sweet sorrow

There are people I will miss online. But this is how life works. We meet, connect, love, and lose. Changing jobs, moving, and other life events separate us, and we lose touch of all but our memories. Facebook kind of takes this away and creates a weak bridge of connection. Maybe I should lose touch with my buddy from grade 11 chemistry, then when we have a serendipitous meeting 20 years from now it can be a more genuine reunion? And thankfully there are those connections that no life change can separate – these are the closest and truest friends. Facebook has cheapened the word ‘friend’, but it’s been a great free service that has had its place in my life. Thanks friends for liking my stupid jokes.

Categorized in:

This post was written by ArleyM