Ten Points About Facebook
It is common knowledge that I don’t use Facebook. Some people are with me on that, and others don’t understand. I’m not sure either group understands why one shouldn’t use Facebook.
There are two basic Facebook aspects to consider. One is the impact on the freedom of the internet, particularly long term, by being a user of the service. The other is the appropriateness of public organizations using Facebook as a way to reach the public. In either case, the choice to use Facebook carries a big responsibility toward other internet users and the future of everybody’s internet freedom.
It is difficult to explain in a simple and plain way how this all works. Even a basic rundown of the importance of open standards and tcp/ip to freedom of speech makes people’s eyes glaze over, regardless of how important it is. In this society we can sometimes discuss the implications of legal contracts and politics, but rarely when they pertain to internet technology because, well, one would need to understand the technology. So, how does one explain the responsibility that the user has towards preserving such freedoms?
A common solution would be to use sloganism and FUD, but since I don’t indorse those I have taken the approach of explaining the things which I think many people will understand without needing to get a grasp on internet protocols and licence agreements. Please take the time to read my article, “Why you shouldn’t use Facebook”. Despite only covering some of the social aspects, (but they are, after all, the most important) I feel that this will provide enough insight for internet users to understand their responsibilities and make up their own minds. I will have this article posted here in a couple of days. Stay tuned.
For the impatient, I have compiled a short list of Facebook facts. I sincerely hope you will not trivialize them, but rather take the time to think about the implications.
Ten Points About Facebook
- Facebook is not accessible to everyone on the internet.
- What is put on Facebook is not really public. Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo! do not index Facebook.
- Facebook is a walled garden available through the internet. It is a gatekeeper of your communication.
- To join Facebook you are required to sign a legal agreement with a foreign corporation. This is a serious contract which is legally binding.
- When you involve someone in Facebook, you are involving them to the same extent you are involved.
- Facebook is a multi-national corporation, but it is not possible to use it without personal danger in many countries. This is because of the design of the Facebook technology.
- Facebook tracks internet activity of both members and non-members. It takes special skills to avoid this.
- Facebook censors content and membership. It acts like a “man in the middle”. This is a discrepancy with a Canadian concept of public space.
- To join Facebook, you must agree to have your information transferred to, and processed in, the United States. You also agree to not provide any false personal information. Again, this is legally binding.
- In light of the previous points, we can see that asking someone to join Facebook in order to communicate with them can potentially be asking them to compromise their ethics and personal integrity.