Killed My Facebook Account

Udated: 6/14 (added views on privacy changes, updated privacy settings)
Update: 5/13 (added analysis link, other links)
Update: 5/12

Many, many reasons for doing so. I’ll update this post later with a FAQ on why. This is going to be an extremely long post and will be updated quite frequently. I’ll probably make it sticky.

1) Why?
I want to control my own online identity, not leave it to a private company with questionable ethics that is accountable to very few. I also don’t have confidence in the technical/security aspects of the site. This has little to do with privacy and I’ll even post links to embarrassing photos.

2) Privacy is dead. Anyway, you have almost 200,000 Twitter followers.
Again, this has little to do with privacy. The ask-for-forgiveness later model of the Facebook system is too much for me. The only thing I care about on Facebook getting out is my email address. And we have already seen this info provided and exposed through two XSS attacks on Yelp.

I’m not going to pin this on Facebook, but the day I deactivated my account, I began to receive hundreds of spam messages a day. I think this has more to do with the poor security of the Yelp site.

3) But they upped your privacy capabilities and made them easier to control.
True, I can now hide my friends and my interests. This move does very little to actually prevent that information from being displayed (you are still listed as a member of the interest group and you are still listed from your more privacy-challenged friends). The simpler controls actually sound nice and I can blow away permissions for the 100+ apps in one fell swoop. Nice. I am contemplating creating a new, bare-bones account that will redirect people to my website. I will continue to hold out and see if there are any more slip-ups.

Bottom Line: Facebook does not respect its users.
Not just with privacy, they have a cavalier attitude that they are smarter than the average user (which is probably true given the Read Write Web spectacle). Here are a few examples:

  1. Embedding originating IP addresses in emails.
  2. Excessively changing privacy controls.
  3. Opt-out schemes on many new features (see below analysis).
  4. Tricking users into oversharing (see below analysis).
  5. Using circular logic to back up the default-to-everyone.
  6. Turning a blind eye to the social game offer schemes.
  7. Extracting usurious fees from profitable partners (Zynga).
  8. Claiming to be open by embracing and extending open source projects and protocols (see my Salmon post).

And I could go on for a while. I have seen the future and it scares me.

Read a great analysis of the recent facebook privacy changes.

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