Friday, July 18, 2014

To Facebook or Not to Facebook?

I was on Facebook for several years and enjoyed it probably too much.  It is endlessly stimulating, especially if you have lived in several places.  Nonetheless, it is addictive, and for that reason I closed my account in order to focus on people I regularly see and touch.  Besides Facebook's addictive qualities, the fact FB would change your privacy settings without notice was a very bad sign.

No regrets.  That spring Mark Zuckerberg revealed to the world during his initial public offering that there are many reasons to dislike Facebook, especially the company's indifference to anyone's privacy.

The devil's bargain of the 21st century is that we can find all sorts of people and things on the internet so long as we don't mind all of our inquiries being tracked, measured, weighed, and sold.  My wife had a Facebook account briefly, but found Facebook's crawling algorithms to be downright creepy: FB suggested dozens of friends scarcely connected to her few friends on the platform.

Because I have started my own law practice and once had a few hundred FB friends, I am considering getting another account.  Today I saw on LinkedIn these articles by Chris Chan and was reminded of why I got rid of Facebook two years ago:

"Why I Quit Facebook and We are Sharing Much More than You Think"

"An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg"

I recognize the irony of my discussing these LinkedIn posts with people from all over the world on a Google account.  Google has plenty of critics too, and like LinkedIn, will sell your information to the highest bidder.  Google, however, does not have a "face" as Facebook does.

Mark Zuckerberg is a hacker turned entrepreneur turned billionaire who cannot help but tell you that he is taking your photos, videos, connections, friendships, business relationships, affiliations, families, conversations, love notes, politics, recipes, and religion to the bank (which he can now afford to buy).

As Lord Acton said, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."  A faceless corporation can be far more dangerous than one with a face, but a young narcissist's face can reveal much.  This crystal ball is not pretty.

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