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Why I quit Facebook

15 June, 2010

Several weeks ago I closed my Facebook account. Why? Because enough is enough. Facebook has proven to be an arrogant, irresponsible company and even though it hurts me to close my account and lose the convenience of contact with some of my friends I refuse to allow that to work in Facebook’s favour to do what they want, knowing that everybody has too much invested to pick up and leave.

I blogged at purecaffeine.com recently about the boiling frog analogy and how social networks change from what you signed up for, cautioning you to be mindful of this and know when to draw the line and relocate rather than as Homer Simpson would say “It’s just a little airborne, it’s still good, it’s still good!”.

People were amused that I was concerned about privacy when I own six blogs and have published over 60,000 tweets through 15 accounts over the past couple of years, all of them public. It’s true that I’m a very open person and share a lot of my life online with friends and strangers alike. But when I used a service like Facebook I don’t appreciate having my expectations undermined by changing privacy models that are implemented without consultation and warning. If I post something on Facebook that I want to be private with my friends I expect it to stay that way. I don’t want to find out the next day that Facebook has decided on my behalf to reveal parts of my profile to more people or share my personal data with third parties without my knowledge.

They have the right to alter their terms and conditions and I signed up acknowledging that Facebook’s policies would change. That doesn’t mean I signed up to automatically accept every change they make! To do so is foolish – it’s like signing a blank cheque. I chose when to get on the train and I chose when to get off once they deviated far enough from my expectations and out of my comfort zone.

Does that mean you should close your Facebook account too? No, not at all.

As someone working in social media I have a responsibility to set an example and to be a trusted source of information on social networking technologies and companies. Part of my decision to leave Facebook was to make a statement and get people’s attention to the issue of Facebook’s less than desirable behaviour and attitudes.

So no, you don’t have to quit Facebook too. But now that I’ve got your attention, you should think back not to the latest tweak Facebook has made but right back to the start when you signed up and think about how far it’s changed and whether you’re still comfortable with how Facebook is handling your private information. If you’re no longer comfortable with it then think about how much you have invested in Facebook and whether the risk of continuing to use Facebook is worth it for the benefit it brings. If so, turn a blind eye and carry on. Otherwise, I suggest you close your account too.

I also suggest you read Stilgherrian’s excellent blog post on why he deleted his Facebook account, along with some great links to other related articles.

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4 comments

  1. […] Read the rest of this blog post on my blog Lounge Sessions. […]


  2. Few people expected that social networks would evolve in a way that will demand flexible privacy models, where you could share some content with a limited amount of your friends and hide it from, say, co-workers…

    I think I’ll give facebook some time to grow up and develop are consistent trustful privacy model where I would know and be able to choose exactly who sees my photos or whatever…


  3. […] Why I quit Facebook (loungesessions.wordpress.com) […]


  4. I wish I could say I had made a decision likes you did, but I was simply deleted by facebook: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/life-after-facebook/

    However, I miss it much less than I thought and I have decided not to open another account and rather spend my time more productively. Amazing how much time I suddenly have on my hands.



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