Facebook Suicide

The more Facebook infringes upon people's privacy, the more people need to kill their connection with the social-networking site.


You'll never find me on Facebook. You may scoff at my refusal – I used to do the same, rolling my eyes whenever my elders claimed resistance to the latest internet phenomenon – but Facebook is a scary, commercial dead-zone that's killing our real-world relationships.

Like most Americans in their mid-twenties, I am a child of the computer age. That I did not immediately jump on the Facebook wagon is not due to an innate dislike of technology or an irrational fear of the web, but merely because I graduated from college before Facebook became a university fad. I was, like an ever-decreasing number of people, happily oblivious to this social networking website. But then something troubling happened: my wedding photos appeared on Facebook.

In a typical website, a user may upload a photograph, write a funny caption and that's it. But in Facebook, users are asked to identify who else is in the photo. This is the crucial difference that allowed a friend of a friend of a friend to view pictures of my wedding a bridesmaid had uploaded. Although neither my wife nor I had ever joined Facebook, our names, pictures, social connections and wedding photographs were already in its database. With 60 million users busily adding information about their hobbies, political positions, employment, education, friends and plans for the weekend, you too might be in Facebook without your knowledge.

My first reactions to learning about my presence on Facebook were contradictory. On the one hand, I felt the thrill of social connectedness – an exhibitionist feeling of delight at having my existence confirmed by a third party. But I also felt violated and confused. Having never used Facebook, I couldn't understand how my wedding pictures had gotten there or who was now able to view them. And I became concerned about what Facebook will do with the information it's collecting about me.

In a recent Fast Company magazine article, Facebook's vice-president of product marketing and operations explained that while companies like Google are concerned with "demand fulfillment" – helping a consumer find the product they want – Facebook is cornering the market in "demand generation" – subtly encouraging individuals to consume products and services they'd otherwise not care for.

The first step toward demand generation was encouraging users to share information about their interests, favorite movies and books, and political beliefs that would allow Facebook to send advertisements targeted to their demographic. The second controversial step that Facebook took is to partner with dozens of online retailers so that when a member buys a widget on a partner's site, all their Facebook "friends" find out. This sinister system would be akin to my computer automatically emailing my address book when I purchase a book online.

By turning members into consumers who involuntarily advertise to their friends, Facebook hoped to extract profit from social interactions. However, by commercializing friendships, Facebook has irrevocably destroyed its image. Now a vanguard of the anti-Facebook movement is developing out of an increasing disenchantment. No longer a fun, harmless place to hang out, Facebook has become just another commercial enterprise.

Because Facebook has intentionally made it very difficult for users to leave the site, demanding that they manually delete every bit of information that they added into the system before their account will be removed, a growing number of users are fleeing by committing what has been called "Facebook Suicide." By manually removing their Facebook friends before deleting their account, indignant users ensure that their friends are fully aware of the real reasons why they are leaving.

The movement could reach epidemic levels if more users kill off their electronic selves rather than submit to corporate control over their friendships. Facebook, and the other corporate lackeys, will then learn that they can't exploit our social relationships for profit. From viral growth will come a viral death as more people demand that Facebook dies so our friendships may thrive.

68 comments on the article “Facebook Suicide”

Displaying 31 - 40 of 68

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Whale

A social networking site directly opposed to the CIA and the military-industrial complex would be cool too.

Whale

A social networking site directly opposed to the CIA and the military-industrial complex would be cool too.

jm

Oh, jeez. This article is definitely overreacting and ill-informed. For instance, the partnerships with other websites to have your actions posted are voluntary. For instance, I can make a post on Livejournal and voluntarily decide that I want to share the info that I posted there on Facebook. I can voluntarily post that I bought some book from Amazon. Initially, there were some screw ups with that, but were quickly corrected due to massive complaints with the Facebook population (you screw over a customer base that big, in a medium that is designed to allow easy grassroots gatherings, and it will virally bite your own ass *with* your own ass). Besides which, you have to voluntarily associate your accounts at these other places with your Facebook account for it to even give you the option of voluntarily sharing your actions, many of which are not consumer-related at all.

So your wedding pics are online? Welcome to the internet. Since the early days of it, people have been sharing information about people who aren't them. What can you do about it? Ask the person posting the pics to take them down, if it bothers you. If you were signed up to Facebook, you can remove any tags of yourself as well, regardless of who tagged it, and once a tag has been removed it can't be re-tagged. What info does Facebook gain from your wedding pictures being tagged about you, when you're not signed up? At most, a name and email. From their privacy policy: "We do not provide contact information to third party marketers without your permission." Also, regarding any one-time emails that Facebook sends re: invites etc., "Your friend may contact us at [email protected] to request that we remove this information from our database." So do that, instead of complaining about a site you don't really understand the operations of. AND, before complaining about the privacy policies of a site, actually read and understand the privacy policies of the site.

Personally, for me, Facebook has kept me in greater touch with my friends, has helped me find out more about things going on in my local scene, independent shows, free movie screenings at universities, helped with organising events, and generally all around makes it easier for me to find out about non-corporatised culture in my community and relevant to myself and my circle of peers, which I would've figured Adbusters would, y'know, like. Yes, I find getting irrelevant Coors ads (for instance) periodically in my news feed - but that just really shows that my information is essentially useless to them for marketing, if their 'targeted' marketing has no advertisers looking for my information. As for the regular ads that almost every site has these days - well, that's what learning about how to use a HOSTS file is for. Repeat with me: "ads.ak.facebook.com 127.0.0.1".

All in all, this article reads like someone wanting to show up their moral superiority by not being part of the big bad, by coercing others via poor information that their opinion is better, when really they are just taking a stand and saying, "I refuse to join Facebook, because I haven't joined Facebook, and I will come up with a justification later that suits my imagined principles."

jm

Oh, jeez. This article is definitely overreacting and ill-informed. For instance, the partnerships with other websites to have your actions posted are voluntary. For instance, I can make a post on Livejournal and voluntarily decide that I want to share the info that I posted there on Facebook. I can voluntarily post that I bought some book from Amazon. Initially, there were some screw ups with that, but were quickly corrected due to massive complaints with the Facebook population (you screw over a customer base that big, in a medium that is designed to allow easy grassroots gatherings, and it will virally bite your own ass *with* your own ass). Besides which, you have to voluntarily associate your accounts at these other places with your Facebook account for it to even give you the option of voluntarily sharing your actions, many of which are not consumer-related at all.

So your wedding pics are online? Welcome to the internet. Since the early days of it, people have been sharing information about people who aren't them. What can you do about it? Ask the person posting the pics to take them down, if it bothers you. If you were signed up to Facebook, you can remove any tags of yourself as well, regardless of who tagged it, and once a tag has been removed it can't be re-tagged. What info does Facebook gain from your wedding pictures being tagged about you, when you're not signed up? At most, a name and email. From their privacy policy: "We do not provide contact information to third party marketers without your permission." Also, regarding any one-time emails that Facebook sends re: invites etc., "Your friend may contact us at [email protected] to request that we remove this information from our database." So do that, instead of complaining about a site you don't really understand the operations of. AND, before complaining about the privacy policies of a site, actually read and understand the privacy policies of the site.

Personally, for me, Facebook has kept me in greater touch with my friends, has helped me find out more about things going on in my local scene, independent shows, free movie screenings at universities, helped with organising events, and generally all around makes it easier for me to find out about non-corporatised culture in my community and relevant to myself and my circle of peers, which I would've figured Adbusters would, y'know, like. Yes, I find getting irrelevant Coors ads (for instance) periodically in my news feed - but that just really shows that my information is essentially useless to them for marketing, if their 'targeted' marketing has no advertisers looking for my information. As for the regular ads that almost every site has these days - well, that's what learning about how to use a HOSTS file is for. Repeat with me: "ads.ak.facebook.com 127.0.0.1".

All in all, this article reads like someone wanting to show up their moral superiority by not being part of the big bad, by coercing others via poor information that their opinion is better, when really they are just taking a stand and saying, "I refuse to join Facebook, because I haven't joined Facebook, and I will come up with a justification later that suits my imagined principles."

Anonymous

Oh how ignorant you are, what do you want? what the hell are you reading the article for if you do not want to hear adbusters comments? would you prefer the comments were censored?

Anonymous

Oh how ignorant you are, what do you want? what the hell are you reading the article for if you do not want to hear adbusters comments? would you prefer the comments were censored?

zero

I thought of posting this article on my facebook page, since every article of adbusters can be posted on facebook... its funny yet quite meaningless.

Its idea is abolishing all internet global relationships by viewing it as harmful when it really isn´t.

anywho..

by the way if you don´t want anybody to see your photos, besides your friends that can be done.. so its not as explosive as the author says it is.

.

I got in touch with a whole bunch of friends from childhood and saw them in REAL life... and i keep on seeing them because of facebook, so HAH

zero

I thought of posting this article on my facebook page, since every article of adbusters can be posted on facebook... its funny yet quite meaningless.

Its idea is abolishing all internet global relationships by viewing it as harmful when it really isn´t.

anywho..

by the way if you don´t want anybody to see your photos, besides your friends that can be done.. so its not as explosive as the author says it is.

.

I got in touch with a whole bunch of friends from childhood and saw them in REAL life... and i keep on seeing them because of facebook, so HAH

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