Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quit Facebook(?) Day

The news is out, May31st is the day people are supposed to delete their Facebook accounts. This is being done because the people who operate Facebook are not to be trusted with our confidence. Our privacy has been compromised again and again. If its not our photographs and uploaded media content being used for advertisements, it's the bugs that allow us to read the chats of those on our friends list. Then there is the rather unclear instructions on how to change our privacy defaults, or the very fact that Facebook has decided to make 'public', not 'private'. As well, there was that incident early on when the company did wholesales changes and turned the defaults back to public.

Couple this with the fact the founder, Mark Zuckerberg has had a few incidents of ethical faux pas, you can understand why people are beginning to lose faith with the company. In fact Mr. Zuckerberg is involved in an investigation into securities fraud, always a good thing to be involved in.

There is one page that gives 10 reasons to leave Facebook. As you read, there is a sense that the problem with Facebook is that the founder commenced it while still in University and he neglect to attend any of those Ethics classes he should have attended. If you read the book "The Accidental Billionaires", you get an understand of some of the issues which are truly haunting the people behind Facebook. Yes he did screw people over and he has paid for it and I suggest he will pay for it in the near future. I hope that this will be part of a lesson he does need to learn. It is without reason one word used in the subtitle is 'betrayal'. If you haven't read the book, go look for it at your local library and read it.

One of the issues facing any one attempting to organize the leaving is that it seems the statistics are against you, one newspaper pegs the number of visits at over 1/2 a billion. That a huge mass of people. I believe what should be rememebered and someone should remind Mark of this fact; Facebook is popular right now, but if something better should come along- just consider My Space. It was once thought unbeatable, but it has lost a lot of people and publicity.

I want to say, I'm not going to join the boycott. I have a few reasons, first of all, it is a good way and place to keep up to date with family and friends. It's also a good way to share media with family and friends. As both groups get spread out over this fair Dominion, it's the way to keep in track with everybody. As for privacy, I think Leo Laporte, who by the way, has left Facebook, said it best, consider everything you post on facebook and public and only post that material that is public. Don't post material that is either embarassing or could be used in a court of law. If it is illegal, it could end up in a court of law. Understand it for what it is, a means of keeping in touch. If you are worried about privacy, learn all you can about Facebook's privacy setting and put everything to the place you feel comfortable with, and stick with them.

Now a few things Facebook could do; the first is, damage control and serious damage control. Right now people are losing trust and the company must prove that it is now going to take privacy serious. Second, appoint a CEO, that is a Chief Ethics Officer who will go through all the new strategies and warn the company of the dangers if they screw with people again.

In the Privacy settings, put a 'Save Changes' button at the bottom of the page, so that when people are done changing the settings, they click it have the assurance its being done. If its not there, people might get rather suspicious. Right now, Facebook can't afford to alienate or get people suspicious.

Don't be so cavalier with the attitude towards privacy, people still care about privacy. Even though Mark Zuckerberg may think privacy is dead and buried, a lot of people disagree. Then there are those IM exchanges when Zuckerberg gives his opinion of people who trust him. Listen, Facebook can disappear overnight. To ensure that doesn't happen, it needs to be aboveboard in its deal with its clientèle and give them respect.

As for the Quit Facebook Day, I doubt there will be many, even if there is a couple of hundred thousand, it will pale with the numbers of people still using it. However, remove the smug look, see this as a wake up call, a wake up to do better.

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