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Ten Points About Facebook

February 13, 2012

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

  1. Facebook is not accessible to everyone on the internet.
  2. What is put on Facebook is not really public. Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo! do not index Facebook.
  3. Facebook is a walled garden available through the internet. It is a gatekeeper of your communication.
  4. To join Facebook you are required to sign a legal agreement with a foreign corporation. This is a serious contract which is legally binding.
  5. When you involve someone in Facebook, you are involving them to the same extent you are involved.
  6. 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.
  7. Facebook tracks internet activity of both members and non-members. It takes special skills to avoid this.
  8. Facebook censors content and membership. It acts like a “man in the middle”. This is a discrepancy with a Canadian concept of public space.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.


5 Comments leave one →
  1. MartinB105 permalink
    June 27, 2012 7:44 am

    This article is such a load of FUD. The point list is a set of observations that are meant to imply some sort of reason to avoid using Facebook, yet quick and simple rational reasoning of each point shows that almost every single point is entirely devoid of any negative consequence – or at least any that exceed the consequences of using any other online service, including your ISP that allows you to access the Internet in the first place.

    Let me take your points one by one:

    1. Applies to pretty much everything on the Internet.
    2. People either know this already or simply don’t care. And why should they?
    3. And? Your ISP is also a “gatekeeper of your communication”.
    4. Same applies to pretty much any service or software available on the Internet.
    5. And? It’s their choice.
    6. Citation needed.
    7. Why should I care what Facebook knows about me? Who cares if they target ads at me that get blocked anyway?
    8. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. A minor problem, but the only point on your list that is actually a real problem.
    9. Same as point 4.
    10. Same as point 5.

    • Vanillacide permalink
      June 27, 2012 8:48 am

      I do not use Facebook because I have no need for it because I do not have a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, nor am I insecure or have low self-esteem either.

      • MartinB105 permalink
        June 27, 2012 11:13 am

        You may be surprised to learn that lots of normal people who don’t have mental disorders or issues just want a convenient way to stay in contact with their family and friends.

        To that end, Facebook is a perfectly reasonable tool that works very well for them.

        So let’s not pretend that mental disorders and issues are prerequisites to Facebook membership, because doing so says much more about you than it does about Facebook users.

  2. Gumbrush permalink
    June 27, 2012 3:48 pm

    To Martin:
    I really think you need to get over the natural instinct to defend your decision rather than admit you might have made a bad choice.
    If you are really not intelligent enough to see why Facebook is clearly a Very Bad Thing (TM) I sincerely hope I never find myself in a situation where I need to rely on or trust you for something.

    • MartinB105 permalink
      June 27, 2012 8:52 pm

      The burden is upon you to prove that my decision is bad, if that is what you believe. Unfortunetaly, you don’t seem able to do that.

      I understand that it’s very challenging for you to prove this in the face of the fact that – like millions of other Facebook members – I’ve yet to suffer any negative consequences of my decision to use Facebook over the many years that I’ve been a member.

      In fact, the reality of the situation is that Facebook has done no person any serious wrong. If it had, there would be widespread stories and news about it, but there isn’t. If there were, you’d surely be providing references to support your view.

      The fact of the matter is, no-one is complaining about the consequences of using Facebook beyond the paranoid and far-fetched hypothetical scenarios that can be applied to any online service, that haven’t actually happened in reality.

      Apparently, the “clarity” of Facebook as a “Very Bad Thing” isn’t quite as clear as you seem to believe, as a billion users seem to have missed it.

      So there you go. That’s the reality. If you can’t accept that, then you may be suffering from some kind of paranoid delusion and may need to seek some help.

      Those are facts and they can easily be observed.

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