Against Facebook

I’m not about to pretend that you’re not already aware of at least some arguments against using Facebook, and I also don’t believe I’ll be able to make you act on any changes in belief; but here are some thoughts from people I respect. Links included.

Jaron Lanier

Question: “How [do you] respond to the argument that without viable alternatives, walking away from Facebook or social media more generally is a privilege?”

JL: “If you’re privileged enough to have the option of walking away from social media, and yet you don’t, you’re failing to use your privilege to defeat a system that traps other people who are less fortunate than you.” - Vox interview, Eric Johnson, Kara Swisher 2018


“His most dispiriting observations are those about what social media does to politics – biased, “not towards the left or right, but downwards”. If triggering emotions is the highest prize, and negative emotions are easier to trigger, how could social media not make you sad? If your consumption of content is tailored by near limitless observations harvested about people like you, how could your universe not collapse into the partial depiction of reality that people like you also enjoy? How could empathy and respect for difference thrive in this environment? Where’s the incentive to stamp out fake accounts, fake news, paid troll armies, dyspeptic bots?

I finished this stark but exuberant account not fearing for the future so much as amazed the world wasn’t already even worse.” Zoe Williams, 2018 about his book 10 Arguements for Deleting your Social Media Accounts Right Now

Richard Stallman

When Facebook sees two useds are in the same physical location, it may suggest that the two ‘friend’ each other. This can cause lots of trouble for people in certain circumstances. But remember that the NSA is doing the same thing, and doesn’t let you opt out — except the way I do, by not carrying a mobile phone.

Facebook’s new patent suggests that Facebook may be planning to use the computer’s camera to detect its useds’ emotions. It might already be doing so.

The NSA tracks Americans’ social networks, and Facebook is just one of its sources.

Wikipedia

“A 2014 study of “Emotional Contagion Through Social Networks” manipulated the balance of positive and negative messages seen by 689,000 Facebook users.212 The researchers concluded that they had found “some of the first experimental evidence to support the controversial claims that emotions can spread throughout a network, [though] the effect sizes from the manipulations are small.”213

“In an effort to surveil the personal lives of current, or prospective, employees, some employers have asked employees to disclose their Facebook login information. This has resulted in the passing of a bill in New Jersey making it illegal for employers to ask potential or current employees for access to their Facebook accounts.155

“In December 2018, it emerged that Facebook had, during the period 2010–2018, granted access to users’ private messages, address book contents, and private posts, without the users’ consent, to more than 150 third parties including Microsoft, Amazon, Yahoo, Netflix, and Spotify. This had been occurring despite public statements from Facebook that it had stopped such sharing years earlier.176

“In December 2018, it emerged that Facebook’s mobile app reveals the user’s location to Facebook, even if the user does not use the “check in” feature and has configured all relevant settings within the app so as to maximize location privacy.177

Around the Web

Facebook Employees Had Access to ‘Hundreds of Millions’ of Users’ Passwords – Time, Patrick Lucas Austin, 2019

Facebook’s value crashes $119bn - the worst one-day stock market fall in history – Independent, Ben Chapman, 2018

Fixing Facebook May Be Impossible – Lauren Weinstein, 2018

Facebook is gaslighting the web. We can fix it. – Anil Dash, 2011