It seems that every time I post about Facebook I can’t help but be condescending about them. I loathe Facebook more than any other technology company out there today – more than Microsoft. It is then only natural that every time I post about Facebook I get a message in one form or another asking why I hate them so. A fair question, and one that I shall now seek to answer in a more reasoned way than I have in the past.
First and foremost I think the lack of privacy that Facebook promotes is egregious. Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said on numerous occasions that he believes, well here are his words:
I’m trying to make the world a more open place.
Which would be great except that instead of having well founded reasons why he is trying to do this he simply tries to force it on his users. Of course he absolutely has a right to do so, Facebook is a free service and if you don’t like what they are doing you can and should, leave. Anybody who has been a long time Facebook user can attest to the fact that with each passing ‘new feature’ users get less and less control over their privacy. In that very same interview where that quote was taken the interviewer states just how PRIVATE Zuckerberg is himself…
Many people have told me that if that is the way I feel I should not blog or use Twitter – except that with both of those services I have no expectation of privacy. I know that unless I password protect my blog, and turn my Twitter feed into ‘Private’ – everything I say will be public facing. My problem with Facebook is that it is supposed to be a closed network that values privacy of the users, except that they don’t.
What are friends of friends and why the hell should I let them see my private photos and status messages? Why the hell does Facebook get to do whatever they want with my photos when I upload them? Why aren’t more people pissed off about this?
If I am perfectly honest what pisses me off the most about privacy settings and Facebook is how little they seem to care about it all. I am fine with changes in privacy, but if you are going to do that you need to make it clear why you are changing it, if there is a way to keep that data private, and if not allow the user time to delete that data before the changes take affect.
Nothing used to annoy me more than ‘friend requests’. I am fine with anybody reading my blog or following me on Twitter, because again I have no expectation of privacy there. What I am not fine with is the assumption that most Facebook users have, which is: If I send you a friend request and you deny it, then you are an asshole.
That is total crap. We use the word ‘friend’ because there are such things as people that are not our ‘friends’. Since when did it become OK to demand someones friendship and brand them a pretentious asshole if they denied such friendship. There are people in this world that I genuinely hate and never want to be ‘friends’ with. Further than are a lot more people in this world that I simply do not know – by virtue of what being a friend means we are not friends if I don’t know you.
Every time I hang out with people younger than myself I am reminded just how screwed up this concept of Facebook friends truly is. There have been many a fights over relationship statuses and friend ship requests. I just do not understand the mentality that Facebook has created, where every person feels entitled to be friends with every other person. I will not be a part of that.
Lack of Respect for Others
Facebook has the same problem that plagues most blog commenting systems – people feel like they can be real assholes when they get to hide behind a computer screen. Have you seen some of the stuff that is posted on peoples walls and as comments to things others have posted? It can be rude and nasty at times.
What it all boils down to is a sheer lack of respect for each other. There has been a culture derived on Facebook where it seems like ‘anything goes’ and that is really a sad thing. Facebook used to be so neat and a great tool, then is slowly started to erode away to nasty comments on photos and the like.
Facebook feels like high school all over again – I did that once and I won’t volunteer to do it again.
To put it simply: I, in no way, trust Mark Zuckerberg. The guy is shady, and is not the person I want in control of any of my data. I have never met him, but I have read a ton about him, interviews and the like, and even before The Social Network came out I didn’t trust him.
I am not saying that he should never be trusted. What I am saying is that if Zuckerberg is given the choice between going bankrupt and shuttering Facebook, or selling all of your data to marketing firms and keeping Facebook alive…well which do you think he would choose?
I quit Facebook back in mid-May of 2010, it has not been a year yet, but it has been a significant amount of time. What I can tell you is that not a single relationship/friendship that I have has suffered because of it. There has yet to be a single instance where I regretted quitting Facebook.
I have regained a couple of hours each week not having to visit that site. Drama stemming from stupid comments on Facebook have gone to nil in my personal relationships. I have come to realize that Facebook is irrelevant for me.
Everyone and their Mom1 is on Facebook. Which sounds like it would really make any social network shine, and then you realize that the older generations still don’t quite “get” social networking… which brings me to:
I Respect People More
Given that practically everyone is on Facebook, that meant that most people I know and interact with were my ‘friends’ on Facebook. That meant that people that I had previously respected started doing stupid crap like:
- Hiding easter eggs on my wall.
- Posting / Playing FarmVille
- Posting/ Playing all the other crap games.
- Poking me.
- Showing off pictures of them wasted.
- Posting about being wasted.
Every time I saw one of those posts I lost a little bit of respect for that person. I am not joking here, I simply cannot respect someone that spends 20+ hours a week playing FarmVille.
That’s All Folks
Being on Facebook is your decision, not mine. If you are on Facebook and enjoy it, great – good for you. I however loathe it and nothing is going to change that. I don’t think any less of people that still use and sign up for Facebook – just so long as they don’t complain about it. If you complain about Facebook man up and delete it – don’t deactivate, delete.
My mom to my knowledge has not yet joined. ↩