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Facebook is slowly going away

I’ve begun to curtail my Facebook usage, and delete or move out most of the data. Chat is disabled, and only I can post to my timeline. People can still message me privately, but I’d prefer to be emailed directly instead. Most of my photos and timeline posts are gone. My private message history is deleted, and I’ll now be purging it periodically. I want to delete Facebook altogether, but not just yet.

It’s not news that there really is no privacy on Facebook. Their business model is based on selling your personal data. I’ve been careful about what I post, but after almost six years of use, enough info has accumulated to form a fairly detailed picture of me. I’m not interested in having my private life for sale, especially when I don’t get any of the proceeds.

Control is as big of an issue. The user agreement gives Facebook a right to use anything you post for any purpose. That means that my own photos and text pass out of my exclusive control, and can be sold, edited, and distributed without my permission, and without compensation. I’ve decided not to accept this any more. Even if I want to make something publicly available, that does not necessarily mean I want to relinquish legal control over it.

I’ve been thinking about these issues for a while now, but the trigger point was an email my girlfriend got about the Fraley settlement of a class-action lawsuit against Facebook. Apparently, Facebook has been using users’ name and photo in third-party advertisements without their consent or knowledge, and that spurred a lawsuit in California courts.

This is only the most recent of a long string of abuses. I won’t chronicle those here, because others have already done it. Here’s just a few links:

https://www.eff.org/search/site/facebook

http://stallman.org/facebook.html

http://www.laresinstitute.com/archives/4005

This blog will now become my primary means of public communication. Private messages will take place by email and phone.