jumping ship

I’ve left Facebook for good. In recent weeks I shed applications, then later removed most of my data (photos, posts, etc.), with each surreptitious nudge that they’ve given us in their relentless quest to end privacy. Previously I was irritated with the constant change in Privacy Policies on FB, but now I’m finding the tradeoff (giving up intricate data about myself – to whosoever – in exchange for the convenient social connectivity the site affords) is no longer worth what it once was.

For those of you (and I know there are many of you) who are also considering this move, you might want to consider some of the following (I did):

  • Not totally convinced that you should quit the FB habit? Consult Gizmodo’s Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook. You’ll be glad you did. The kicker, for the cynic in me: “the Facebook application itself sucks”.
  • If you’ve installed any Applications on your profile (or had FB do it for you without you realizing it), it might make sense to revoke any permissions you’ve granted (known or not) to them to access/reuse your data. I think this should be done in addition to and in advance of FB account deletion. Why do I think so? Well, recently a developer discovered a data hole in a recent API released by FB to its developer community. All of those “companies” who build FB apps have access to your Events schedule (and god knows what else), and this apparently, whether or not you’ve added the application to your profile. It may yet be that you cannot revoke the permission you’ve granted to (or had stolen from you by) these entities. At any rate, it can’t hurt to try and revoke as much as possible. Seeing that privacy is such a dirty word over at Facebook, I wouldn’t put it past them to just be lax about pretty much any user data they come across…
  • If you have a profile on Friendfeed (or any other property that Facebook owns), it’s probably a good idea to delete your presence there, too.
  • Have an exit strategy. You don’t want to lose contact with all of your friends or those high school dropouts to whom you have no other connection except FB. Take down email addresses, phone numbers, IMs, and any and all other contact deets for your FB friends (the ones you really want to keep, of course). Remember that Facebook doesn’t own your sociality, nor your social capital.
  • Finally, do the right thing. Don’t follow those misleading links within the Facebook privacy settings pages to remove your account. Go directly to this link to delete your FB account. It will vanish instantly, and will (supposedly) be permanently deleted in 14 days’ time.

Take a deep breath. There’s a whole world wide web out here that we forgot to attend to while we were tokin’ from the Facebook bong. And it’s just getting started.

Besides, Facebook jumped the shark over a year ago. I predict a whimper.

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