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What should you think about when using Facebook? (veekaybee.github.io)
363 points by vkb on Feb 3, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 234 comments

This is an excellent blog post, though it made me sick reading it.

I recently made the switch. I went from trying to limit how much I log in (to once or twice a week), to actually not logging in. I've been cold-turkey for two months (except for a couple of times when I had a very specific reason to check something).

I thought it would be difficult. Turns out it's not so hard, and it's the fear of reduced social contact (or dopamine withdrawal more likely) that was stopping me. If you have a plan to replace the social interactions with other forms, you realise that the rest is just dross. If I really want to know what my friends had for breakfast I can phone them up and ask. On balance, I'd rather not.

I'm not at the point of deleting the account yet. Small steps.

Here were my reasons FWIW: http://blog.afandian.com/2017/01/why-i-am-giving-up-on-faceb...

If you're reading and considering whether or not you can withdraw from Facebook, you can do it!

I'm now over one year Facebook-free. As with most things (especially online things) I don't even remember why it was so appealing in the first place. The fear of missing out fades really fast. And as someone else mentioned in this thread, I feel like I value actual friendship a bit more.

If anyone's interested in really ditching Facebook and preventing it from injecting junk into the sites you visit and tracking you, here's a list of URLs I've added to my hosts file. As the repo's name suggests, it helps make the internet suck less.


Some lists in ublock origin cover this use case, can't remember last time I saw facebook comments on a web page.

Nice post! I deleted my Facebook account about 2 or 3 weeks ago and I haven't been happier. Before pulling the plug though, I spent a couple days babysitting a post deletion script that wasn't as autonomous as I've hoped. However, I was able to delete my first 3 years and last 5 years of Facebook posts and a decent amount of recent likes/reactions.

I think if you really want to make sure Facebook doesn't have data directly from you, you'd need to take the time to delete every possible interaction you can, delete browser cookies, wait a couple days, then initiate account deletion (Facebook makes you wait 2 weeks until your account is actually deleted, just enough time for you to change your mind).

You're assuming the deletion actually deletes stuff. I doubt it does.

I'm hoping it does, that's why I did it. At least I have piece of mind, which may very well be false.

Strange; I've done the opposite. I engage with Facebook now more than ever.

I'm 38 years old. I plan events with friends, I get to see their children grow up, new jobs, comfort them when they lose a parent..

There's never been a platform so emotionally engaging. It makes me feel in sync with their lives, even when I haven't seen them in a while.

It's such an amazing platform.

I think Facebook is the ultimate realization of the American concept of "friendship" (maybe not your specific case) contrasted to the German version of friendship. In Germany, to call someone your friend, it is a great honor, it means something, it is an investment. Here in the states, "everyone is friends!" Yet it feels so superficial. Now we can just check in on them a couple times a day on their posts without the huge investment. It's perfectly American.

Also I am sad to see your thought is being down-voted.

Strength of friendships in Germany can't be granular?

Aren't there just people that have been good to you in the present or past, that you want to see succeed, that you want to root for? Those are the perfect candidates for Facebook.

I'm generalizing something fierce here, but generally speaking, friendship in Germanic countries is highly non-linear. Either you're friends or you're not. My theory is that it's about geographical mobility. When people move around a lot a sliding scale of friendship makes sense. When you and everyone around you are mostly stationary you know who you want to spend time with and everyone else is just noise. Doesn't really explain the Irish, I think, though I don't know much about their geographical mobility.

The Irish aren't Germanic. There's your explanation.

Well, there's nothing magic about Germanicness. If the Irish move about as much as Germans, then that can't be the (sole) explanation for the difference in niceness to strangers.

German language (or more precisely, idiom) maintains distinct meanings for "mein Freund" versus "Freund von mir," the former being far more intimate.

Acquaintances? FOAFs? Former colleagues? A DJ you used to go see 20 years ago? In the US, all of these people get swept under the rug of "friends" in the FB era, and it's in this way that they are less granular if "friend" can mean just about anybody you've ever come across.

> In the US, all of these people get swept under the rug of "friends" in the FB era, and it's in this way that they are less granular if "friend" can mean just about anybody you've ever come across.

"FaceBook friend" maps roughly to "Anyone I have had some form of contact with and either don't actively hate, who says things I'm interested in hearing, or who I haven't gotten around to deleting". It's a completely distinct concept from "friend", in my mind. A FaceBook friend could be more accurately be described as a "contact", the way that I usually see it used.

I know some people who are deep in the FB Kool-Aid, or who label all acquaintances as "friends", but that doesn't accurately describe most of the people around me.

This was none other more apparent in college

See someone from your hallway in your dorm in the library you never spoke to before? Oh dude that's my boy from my dorm right there!

See a classmate out at the bar that you only asked for homework a few times? "Sup dude! It's your boy from chem class!"

And hundreds of other examples similar to this.

I'm from Romania and we kind of do the same thing as they do.

The people you mention are not friends, they're people you know ("cunoștințe" in Romanian). We might casually call them "friends" occasionally but most people only truly call "friends" a handful of people.

This is completely untrue. What you are describing is how Facebook has colloquialized the word "friend." The American concept of actual friendship is no different than the German or the Japanese one. A "true friend" is a pretty universal concept. Nobody mistakes a "FB only friend" for a true friend. There's no reason for you to bash Americans. Frankly you are unlikely to make meaningful connections with any other nationality when you're making cultural superiority judgements like that.

I didn't read GPs comment as passing judgement, just that the American concept seemed different to what they are familiar with. The word "friend" is overloaded here, we just don't have a problem with that because lots of words are overloaded.

Especially on FB, it's like pokemon - gotta catch 'em all!

> I get to see their children grow up, new jobs, comfort them when they lose a parent..

Do you though? I mean do you really get to see all those things? Having been through the loss of a parent and the arrival a new baby in the past couple of years I can tell you from this end of things there is no value in any online "presence" of friends and family.

The people who come to meet our new baby, who brought food, and who attended the funeral are the ones that actually impacted our lives and improved us and themselves. A DM or post in Instagram meant nothing - it feels more like the person is signaling human emotions than engaging in them.

So after the death of a parent, an old, close childhood friend that lives far away sends you a message saying "your mom was a second mother to me" and it means nothing...?

It means something to me. So I continue to use the service.

Those people sent letters and sympathy cards - actual handwritten ones! And they called too - actually spoke on the telephone. I know, it's a little wacky, but it works.

It's the quality of the thought, not the medium for which it's conveyed.

Maybe he means that the person who said "your mom was a second mother" also came to the funeral?

Apples and Oranges. Do you live 1000s of miles away from friends and family so that your baseline is never seeing the people rather than seeing them in person. If you are starting from the former and building up the ways to stay in touch a platform like Facebook can be a nice tool. Modern communications tools make living away from Family much better than anytime in history with email, unmetered long distance phone, video conferencing, chat, sites like facebook, etc.

Nice try NSA!

Facebook is the creepiest site ever. It's way more than the Stasi could have ever hoped for.

On top of that, the interface makes my brain hurt.

You're addicted, you just don't know it yet.

> it's the fear of reduced social contact (or dopamine withdrawal more likely) that was stopping me.

Yeppp. I know exactly how you feel, brother. I gave up Facebook for New Years and will be deleting my account after I set up a blog so I have somewhere to blow off steam and tell bad jokes.

The compromise that helped me overcome the feeling of being cut off was that I will have an open comments section and email address, if my friends really want to stay in touch then they will take time out of their week to come say hi.

It's a lot harder than people think. And the last season of South Park was no joke... When I announced I was leaving Facebook, many people were shocked and genuinely concerned for me. They asked me if it was really necessary, if I couldn't just use it less.

But that isn't an option, it's all or nothing and within a few months I will never let Facebook save another cookie on my computer again.

But I know the concern is partially because they understand exactly what is going on in my mind but they don't see a way out. It's really depressing.

For the hell of it I briefly checked my feed last week and I felt like a recovering junkie, visiting their old friends and seeing for the first time what their lifestyle really looked like from the outside.

> will be deleting my account after I set up a blog so I have somewhere to blow off steam and tell bad jokes

The following is not meant to be critical - honest.

Why don't you channel your desire to be heard in to live interactions instead of an online one which is ultimately one way? It is much more fulfilling, and admitting/accepting that you don't deserve & need to share every thought that pops in to your head is healthy.

I spend a lot of my time around a computer. I work on one and spend most of my free time coding or discovering new things online. So a blog naturally fits into my lifestyle. I don't have to make big life changes to run one, and it's been years since I've had a journal so it will be nice. If I lose interest in it, that's fine.

But, I don't really understand why you assume that I don't participate in much live interaction. Why do you think I left Facebook?

I love hanging out with people and discussing a variety of topics. But I also like to write down my thoughts. I figure some people might like to see them from time to time.

I am currently working remotely from a very rural area so I don't get to see friends much, and I am about to move to a new state. So a blog / online journal will definitely help keep me from going bonkers without the level of social contact I desire.

I recently sent round an event-organising email and slipped in the facebook thing. Not everyone who replied mentioned it, but everyone that did said that they were thinking exactly the same thing.

And if you need an extra kick, you can download an archive all your data. It had previous girlfriends, employers, places I signed in, private messages, ad agencies they passed my details on to, etc etc. All stuff I'd rather let fade away, but I know it never will.

I downloaded an archive, for sure. I was actually just searching it for a specific message before I got on HN.

Sadly I lost the archive from my previous account. Lots of gems in there.

It's amazing the amounts of conversations we have on a weekly basis that we soon forget. We are just passing too much information through our body and mind to catch even a tenth of it permanently.

> Turns out it's not so hard, and it's the fear of reduced social contact (or dopamine withdrawal more likely) that was stopping me. If you have a plan to replace the social interactions with other forms, you realise that the rest is just dross.

This is the problem for me right now. I don't have a plan for replacing the social contact of facebook (and facebook isn't giving me anywhere close to what I need). I'm also struggling with depression right now and pretty socially withdrawn. As soon as the current blues pass and I'm able to come up with a real life third place [1], I hope to start limiting how much time I spend there and eventually quit altogether.

[1] From the article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_place

I feel lucky in that I have a job that involves social interaction, but moving to a new city left me without any "third place". I definitely empathize with the loneliness that can stir up and so many public spaces seem designed around creating new social interactions between people who aren't already associated.

I read an article not long ago about upscale private clubs. I'm strongly attracted to the status/networking aspect often involved, but the idea of a place gather and socialize that doesn't require buying alcohol/coffee/food is appealing. Place it in a neighborhood. Keep the membership fees accessible to the people who live in that community and then offer some small perks that bars/coffee shops don't (e.g. free billiards on a real table). Hopefully, membership would make people a little more open to socializing with whomever show up, rather than the typical bar in which most people stick to their own group.

Does anyone have experience with private clubs (of any kind)? Did they open up social interaction in this way?

Community radio serves this for me-- people uniting over common interests, volunteering together to keep the outfit running, and interacting in unexpected ways.

I feel very fortunate to have this in my life, and really wish there were more things like this for more people--

That sounds a lot like a hackerspace.

It might not be your cup of tea, but religious organizations like churches are one of the most accessible sources of socializing in many communities. In my experience, that's a primary reason that many people actually attend them.

That's a cool idea, yep. My thing used to be volunteering at bike shop. It was free as long as I was working (which I enjoyed) and there was a lot of interaction. Having it fee-based instead of work-based would be cool too.

Volunteering is definitely a good way to meet people (as is joining a dance group or sports team) - but just having a space to hang out, play a social game, and/or talk with people would be nice. I imagine having a small membership fee could strengthen the "in-group" mentality causing people to open up a little.

I found meetup.com is a pretty good place for this, depending on where you are. It's a bunch of people looking for some kind of communal group based on shared interests (programming, political philosophy, SciFi, religion, learning Italian, hiking, etc.). Of course you have to find the right group that fits you, but when you do it's great.

Other places I've had success is with local political/activist groups and hobby groups (dance groups, martial arts groups). Again, you have to try a lot of groups to find the right one, but it's worth it.

It's not always true. In San Francisco the people I meet in meetups are often broken and puts little trust in strangers.

TBH, I never met so many lonely broken people in other parts of the world.

<I don't have a plan for replacing the social contact of facebook

Get a fun job. Like at Walmart. People are invigorating. You have real relationships with fellow workers and the regular customers. Human interaction. Just don't have it be your real job so you can ignore drama.

Partner dancing is fantastic for this, IMO. Any sort of social hobby works, though. The less digitized the better - the fundamental problem is probably something like "by default, what I do is stare at a screen."

I didn't have a plan for replacing the social contact of Facebook when I quit. I lost contact with a lot of people. But it turned out that most were acquaintances, not friends, and I could do without them. My acquaintances now are the people I see every day, the doormen and baristas I meet but don't become close with, and I find this means my acquaintances include more variety of people as a result. And the real friends, I've kept in contact with; there are only maybe 10, so it's not hard to text them occasionally.

Facebook prevented you from becoming acquaintences with doormen and baristas?

Yes. Your experience might be different, but I have a limited capacity for the number of people I can remember basic facts about to be polite, so when I was keeping track of 100+ people on Facebook I didn't have the mental space to keep track of people who I met in my day-to-day.

>"I thought it would be difficult. Turns out it's not so hard, and it's the fear of reduced social contact (or dopamine withdrawal more likely) that was stopping me."

Agreed. People fear they will socially ostracized if the leave Facebook. My experience has been the opposite. I found that FB is a good excuse to be socially lazy. Going to actual social events and meeting new people and having spontaneous conversations is far more gratifying and important. It's easy to delude yourself that you are getting your "social fix" via your FB feed and sending and accepting "friend requests."

There was a time when if you were in a public place waiting for a friend, you would strike up a conversation with a person next to you. Now if you are in say a bar waiting for your friend to show up most people are more likely to use that time to look FB on their phones, rather than interact with unknown people around them. I find this kind of sad.

I also just took the plunge. I guess I'm at about 3 weeks (late next week is one month).

For the past several months, I spent some of my free time going through my history, deleting almost everything I ever posted (note, there's a way to view your timeline by specific year, which seems to include more than the regular timeline view). The few things I couldn't delete (because it didn't give me an option) or that I didn't want to delete (e.g, photos I want to download later), I set to viewable only by me. Then without a peep, I deactivated my account. I probably should have written a script to do this rather than taking all the time. But to be honest, doing it manually was a nice jog down memory lane, even if it was really time consuming.

At this point, I have no plans to reactivate my account, with one exception. At some point, when I decide that "it's time," I'll reactivate my account, download an archive of the remaining items, delete what I can of what remains, and use the "account delete" option (for whatever good that actually does). Then that will be it.

Out of habit, I still frequently catch myself saying "ooh, interesting article, I should post that to facebook. Oh, wait..." Hopefully it's only a matter of time before that stops.

I did the same as you about the same amount of time ago...interesting. A month prior, I requested an export of my Facebook data so I at least have that should I feel the need to look at old pics.

Just unfollow everyone, you won't have a feed. There's nothing to do on there without a feed and you won't miss anything. It takes some time to do it but it's worth it. I still login pretty much daily but leave quickly.

I deactivated my account over a year ago. Facebook will not delete your account, deactivate is the best you can do. Interestingly I went to a Facebook event at their headquarters and when I signed in, there was my profile picture staring back at me. I thought pulling it out of my deactivated account was in poor taste.

Anyway, I can say I'm happier without it. I'm now seriously considering deactivating my Twitter account. Twitter really will delete your account after I believe 30 days of it being deactivated.

It is possible to permanently delete a Facebook account. It's not known whether this truly deletes it, but it's a more permanent measure than deactivation: https://www.facebook.com/help/224562897555674?helpref=relate...

This is a nefarious dark pattern though - I don't think there's any way to find the delete option through menus, you have to search through Google or Facebook's help center.

Ah, I did not know that. As far as I know the UI only offers deactivate as an option.

Thanks, I just deleted my account.

I thought Facebook does delete your account. Do you have a source?

Facebook can remove it from public view however any posts you make are the property of Facebook and so they continue to hold onto it.

My guess is that they don't delete anything due to regulatory and legal reasons.

What possible regulatory and legal reasons would there be that they can't delete your account?

It's not like it's financial information.

Any other service (eg Google) expressly says in it's TOS that they may delete your account whenever they feel like it.

My guess is they don't delete it because your data is valuable to them and they don't want to lose it, though they may use fake regulatory and legal excuses.

I flat out deleted Facebook (the hidden option that truly deletes you). Turned out to improve my social life. I focused on and nurtured the friendships that truly mattered to me.

the hidden option?

Well,the less obvious option I had to Google to find. It doesn't just set my account as inactive, it deletes it so that I no longer appear in friends lists as a referencabl e person.

I would so love to do it, but my use of Facebook is for a specific cause and I login and participate only in a few groups (always with a browser equipped with an ad blocker and tracker blocker). I don't browse time lines or participate on people's time line posts and comments. I don't use the app. I do use the messenger app for one of my FB accounts for convenience (with minimal permissions).

Since I don't use WhatsApp (because it's an FB company and because chat is not a substitute for groups), it'd be very hard to engage with others for my use, find new people, etc.

Personal anecdote: I concluded it was making me slightly depressed, so manually unfollowed everyone (but kept them as friends) and un-liked every single page. Use it basically to reply when someone comments on a post (effectively trying to make it a "write-only" log)

Turns out you apparently cannot do that, as every time I log in, I find myself re-following a few people (2-10) - some of which I had unfollowed long, long before my "isolationist" move...

These 'made the switch' stories always surprise me - seems like an over-reaction. I guess I've never been so 'in' to Facebook that I've felt a pressing need to get 'out'. Sometimes I go weeks/months without engaging much at all, sometimes I browse it daily just to see what everybody's yakking about. I don't really feel like it has a net-negative impact on my life.

I found it interesting for the opposite reason: I've avoided Facebook up to now, but there are enough inconveniences that my resistance is wearing down.

They might be clunky, but I'm sure there are adequate means of doing everything you'd want to do.

The problem many people have is convenience. For example if you are forced to use Facebook in order to log into a Hotel Wifi (as I recently was) then you have to say "I don't want the Wifi more than I want to log in with Facebook". It's not an essential.

Or, it might be more difficult to spend the effort keeping in touch with people on a personal level, but it's not impossible. It just doesn't have the convenience that Facebook gives. But it also doesn't have the costs.

I'm not trying to convince anyone. But I do find it increasingly interesting (as I pay more attention to it) how many people confuse 'convenient' for 'essential'.

I keep a dummy Facebook account for precisely this purpose.

It has taken me almost 8 years to cut Facebook from my life, mainly because I used to log on to tend to my business page. However, like you, I decided enough was enough and went cold turkey 2 weeks ago.

Now 2 weeks later, when FB crosses my mind I am actually happy and sometimes grin thinking of how much I've benefited from quitting it!

> I'm not at the point of deleting the account yet. Small steps.

I'm in the same boat. I hardly use it, but I keep it around because it is the favored way to contact certain people and organize events, and I don't want to miss out.

I console myself by deliberately injecting noise into my profile (e.g. fake likes) every once in awhile.

I've also been out from Facebook over a month now. The last time I did it I was out three years, but needed to join back when I moved to a new country.

This time I also stopped drinking alcohol, quit nicotine (in the form of snus) and deleted several of my accounts, e.g. Gmail and Linkedin. This feels suspiciously easy...


I did something similar. I deleted the facebook app from my phone (originally due to battery usage). Then eventually I deactivated my account. I believe I have been facebook free for two weeks.

I experienced first hand the drug like quality of Facebook when I made the decision to finally quit..I started asking friends if I had an up to date contact number for them as I was planning to leave the site.

Every single one of them, EVERY one of them made it a mission of sorts to keep me from leaving the site.

"Just unfollow people, spend less time on the site"

Well by spending NO time on the site I AM spending less time on the site so hey we both get what we want right?

One friend went armchair psychologist on me about the affair.

It was an interesting week between emails,phone calls and text messages asking me where I had gone and why. "was it something I posted?"

For my part three months later...I've been reading a lot more and my grades in pre-law are improving, and that's all the feedback I needed to know I was on the right track to removing unnecessary cruft from the life.

Yes, it's really bizarre, even the application/website itself has a whole guilt-trip gauntlet when you choose to deactivate your account. Not to mention that you cannot actually ever even _delete_ your data, you can only put your account into a suspended state of stasis.

The only people I know of who have success in their facebookian encounters are:

+ activists + artists (who connect under pseudonyms) + businesspeople (who connect under the umbrella of their company)

Data created on someone else's computer cannot ever be owned by you. Data created by someone else's proprietary software on your locked computer is probably never exclusively yours either.

Yes! Software "ownership" is a fascinatingly blurry ground.

Still though, just because I upload a picture to [f], it is no longer information regarding me? Perhaps it is a greater question of associability of information.

Why is not the great battle of the 21st century the right to privacy? Brand valuability and Information Collection are becoming synonymous.

Last week I permanently deleted my FaceBook account. All my data since 2007 (10 years) and friends gone. Well...apparently my data is still somewhere to be used as metadata...

Still, I must say, this was a liberating experience. I don't go there anymore to see another cat/new born/fake news posts. I don't get get angry with dumb comments. I don't have to see at my friends are eating, selfies, etc..

My closest friends and family are reachable one whatsapp/imessage/phone call away. The other hundreds "friends" I had on FB, I don't even remember their names anymore...

Facebook provides an option to download an archive of your data, you should have downloaded it before deleting your account. Apart from having all your data, it would have been the final nail in your Facebook coffin. To say the least, the data scared the f*ck out of me : they knew me better than any of my family or friends. The ad tracking data was...bang on target, they had facial recognition data, all the locations I signed in from. I sometimes joke that Fb knows more about people than the Government of the user. It's true!

To my knowledge, your account is never actually gone but instead deactivated. Not sure if there is a grace period to that, but as anondon said you can get an archive of all your data (which is what I did before deleting my account).

Facebook provides a real delete option. It's hidden but it's there.


Does this delete your data too? I spent about 2 days the other day running a script to delete all my data way back to 2010.

I'm pretty sure it's a genuine delete button.

No way do they actually delete your information

It's replicated all over the planet many times over and they share it with other businesses and agencies

Even if they did, your friends and family talk about you and they're not going to censor all that information too

It gets deleted. Facebook Ireland Audit Report.

This was the exact option I used.

Permanently Delete it here: https://www.facebook.com/help/delete_account

If you are considering getting off of it for any of these reasons then why haven't you already done it? You feel you might somehow need it, just like a heroin addict has trouble imagining a life without drugs.

It is horrible for your privacy. They collect EVERYTHING about you!

It is in their best interest to manipulate your attention, which to me is terrifying.

It is horrible for your relationships, cut the acquaintance you met 5 years ago that YOU WILL NEVER SPEAK WITH and force yourself to make more intimate connections with the people that actually matter.

It is horrible for your mind, you have a constant bombardment of instant gratification and self reinforcing ideas.

Gotta love the fact that when you're not logged in to FB, clicking on that url shows you the FB login page with a parameter where to redirect you next, which is normal enough, but it also has the referer URL (this HN comments page) as another parameter. They want to know who's linking to their delete page!

(OK they probably have that in every login page redirect, and the cleverer way would be to silently record the HTTP header...)

I de-activate and re-activate every few months, probably for emotional reasons since I read a lot about online privacy. I didn't know we can permanently delete it, glad to see fighters out there forcing them to make this option cause we all know they wouldn't give the option otherwise.

Thanks for sharing the link.

Not long ago I was sitting with some long time friends I hadn't seen in a few years. It was one of those really great visits in which you remember exactly why someone is an important person in your life.

One of the things we ended up talking about was physical photographs and how our families had developed a natural curation and annotation system. "Keepers" get sorted and labeled on the back with names, dates, brief notes, etc. and placed in albums. There were a bore when we were younger, but now we appreciate having some long-lasting artifacts of our families' lives and history. This is a nice thing and differs in importance to my every day interaction with personal media.

If I had the talent, I would make a small journaling tool for myself. All I would ask it to do is remind me once a week to select a favorite photograph and make a brief note about who's in it and why it's important. Really, just 30 second a week. Then, one a year a nice, archivally printed photo album would show up on my doorstep with all of these photographs arranged and discretely tagged with names, dates, and notes. That's it.

I like it. My wife subscribes to a service that will automatically print and mail her a small printed photo book for every X photos she favorites on her phone. It doesn't have the nice tagging and dates and notes, but it creates a chronological hard copy series of photo books that are great to have around, without requiring much forethought.

What's the service?

Chatbooks[1] - they're not glossy or high quality, but then a lot of the time the photos aren't either beyond the associated memories. And they're cheap so you don't have to stress over whether to hit the favorite button.

[1] https://chatbooks.com/favorite-photo-books/

That service is pretty close.

It's also where I feel my otherness. My father was a professional photographer, I grew up playing around in the darkroom, so I do recognize that I have a bias toward high quality photo prints. One of those 'ignorance is bliss' things maybe.

The photos wouldn't need to be large, but the quality would need to be there or else I won't value them long term as distinct from digital files (which still command many advantages over physical media).

Even though Facebook by itself doesn't seem to provide much value anymore, it's incredible how much of a platform lock-in the have. For example, Facebook login becoming essentially a universal identity provider. The worst thing is even when you create a new account under a different name they still manage to track you down, and start suggesting adding friends from the old account. I wonder how they do this, by tracking cookies and fingerprinting your browser?

It's interesting how identifiable you are just by compounding information provided by the browser: https://amiunique.org/fp

Browser fingerprint plus IP and/or geo location and I'd think you could get a fairly accurate guess of who you are.

Interesting link. You can go even deeper with more data like resolution of your screen etc... And almost be able to track someone. It's kind of crazy.

There is a JS project based on that and that gives you an ID based on the fingerprint. [1]

[1] https://github.com/Valve/fingerprintjs2

Edit: I just saw that the link provide even more data like this. Just my list of font is a > 99.9% of uniqueness. Multiplied by all the other likelihood, it's getting close to having the signature of every person on internet.

I've wondered this too. I have friend suggestions for my work colleagues, even though my Facebook email is my own private address and I've never emailed them from that address. It's amazing and bothersome

Have you used it on mobile and shared your contacts? Might they have had access to your location(GPS or maybe to which wifi you're connected).

Interesting article: http://fusion.net/story/339018/facebook-psychiatrist-privacy...

Or they just suggest people based on common locations that you and they visit and where they spend their time.

The mobile app's contacts seems very likely. I didn't realize it would spy on those, but not surprising.

The people who were recommended to you might have looked at your profile.

You've probably shared an IP address (work).

That one is highly unlikely, as I work remotely

Can't use Tinder after you disable your FB account.

>For example, Facebook login becoming essentially a universal identity provider.

Yep, this is the #1 reason I still have a FB account. Until recently, I needed it so I could use Tinder. I have a great gf now, but just in case that fails, I'll want to be able to reactivate my Tinder account, and I need my FB login for that.

The only other reason I have a FB account is so I can be "friends" with some family members and some other people, because they use it. In practice, however, I never actually look at anything on there unless someone tells me "I sent you a FB message about such-and-such!".

The funny thing is, these are exactly the things I think about while on facebook. By being online for almost two decades I've developed a 6th sense for sketchy services and the whole UI of Facebook screams "SCAM!". The periodically reoccurring messages harassing you into uploading a picture of yourself, the prompt to denounce people who you believe are using a fake name or the vaguely described privacy settings don't help either.

I only log in when I get an e-mail notification for a message I've received. Some time ago you could simply reply to that e-mail but that doesn't work anymore. Furthermore, you can't say: I just want a notification in case of a message. You have to accept some other stuff as well. I've told my spam filter to delete every e-mail from facebook that doesn't include "message" its the subject.

I deleted facebook app from phone (android) and occasionally was visiting facebook website after notifications received. And apparently you cannot neither read nor reply to messages via browser anymore, you asked to install messenger app and it's not a "BETTER EXPERIENCE VIA APP (thank you, continue to site)" type of modal, there is no tiny text option to proceed with web

> And apparently you cannot neither read nor reply to messages via browser anymore

You can, but they try to make mobile users think you can't; you have to either use the desktop version of messenger.com (e.g., with "request desktop version" from a mobile browser) or use mbasic.facebook.com

just use Firefox :)

It's interesting how annoying Facebook becomes when you don't come back for a while; push notifications on your phone, if you have the app installed, and emails about what you missed.

> the prompt to denounce people who you believe are using a fake name

They actually do this? That's pretty scary

Facebook has always been based on real people using real names. Originally, it was your official university email address. That's what makes it much more useful than Twitter or Reddit etc. If you want to be anonymous, use a different site.

Just making sure you know you can read your messages at messenger.com and avoid the rest.

yeah, it's better. Still, I want to minimize the contact I have with FB. People who know me know that I don't like FB. If someone sends me a somewhat personal message on FB I've no qualms to to reply to this person via e-mail (when that person has a gmail address it's a tough decision, though ;) )

I left Facebook three years ago or so. It did not offer any value for me - and I couldn't stand the quality of "information" on that platform. To much crazy stuff in my stream, things I am not interested in, stupid games, ads, click bait, and so on.

I also left twitter months ago. The people seem to be better there, but I have the image of twitter being a bad company. And the time spent there didn't provide enough value to me. It was too easy to get disrupted at work. And after keeping apps closed, the service became useless for me.

Most of the people I have contact with are developers, and like 99% don't have a Facebook account either.

Can someone make a browser plugin that will send fake data to facebook? Instead of hiding your own behavior, might as well poison their database.

I like this idea (a sort of adnauseum for facebook) but I wonder how trivial it would be for facebook to filter out obviously random/fake/noisy data given the mammoth set of real data they already have. Maybe introduce some more subtle off-by-one errors into their data or just make it a tiny bit fuzzier? Hopefully one wouldn't need a detailed knowledge of their data structures to do something impactful, although the action itself might be a useful symbolic gesture even if it doesn't have an actual impact on their data collection.

Yeah some kind of slow incremental behavior shift towards something would be more insidious. Maybe allow the user to define a rotating theme of the week. This week I like dinosaurs, so the plugin will slowly ramp up dinosaur related behaviors (whatever that may mean :)). Next week I like unicorns...etc.

This works.

What I do is randomly give shit data to them, some of my real friends confirm it who are in on it. Sometimes I just copypaste whatever random shit I had in another tab - then delete it, sometimes Like things I dont like, but not too often. Ive even uploaded my own pictures (nobody actually visible) from years ago with modified Exif data - its for shits and giggles as they say. Accept those weird friends, but not all, send some friend-requests myself. Comments no, no real messages initiated by me, most of the times try responding with other methods. Facebook only in incognito mode on full screen at all times with windows user-agent.

Been doing this for 3-4 years already. Was fun but now I visit it every other month or so.

Instead of transmitting obviously fake data, record the genuine data of other users (randomly and anonymously, of course) and retransmit it. It poisons the association while being much more difficult to fuzz out.

A few of us were joking about poisoning the location tracking database of site along a similar vein. Have an app masking your location to some place in the pacific ocean to any app running in the background asking for location (without the user's intent of using it).

Why stop there? Create a service that will spoof GPS coordinates, check you in, and post generic photos of fun places to be, so you can outsource your social bragging through automation.

On Android, Xprivacy uses hooks provided by Xposed to "MitM" a lot of functiom calls. Don't want an app to know your phone's serial number? That function call returns a spoofed one. Same with GPS location.

I love Xposed. I just wish using it didn't mean I couldn't get regular Android updates (I have a 5x).

You can certainly do that with a jailbreak.

I treat everything I do on Facebook as public and permanent information. With that mindset the experience is rather pleasant.

Not public, privately own by facebook (and partners and clients) and aggregated with everything that is actually public and every other privately own data they could gather.

Then used to target you in every possible ways.

I get most of the personal data concerns, but what exactly is the issue with targeted ads?

Changing your behaviour.

Ads are a hostile action.

Genuine question : do you think a privacy oriented social network where users pay a small annual fee (around $5) would work? Think Whatsapp (use phone number as an id, no native discovery, only connect through phone contacts, encrypted user data only to prevent database leaks from causing damage) + Facebook (feed like feature, share photos, videos, direct messaging, group messaging). No user tracking, no ads, just a no bullshit social network where the average Joe would feel right at home and also one which the HN crowd would use, assuming social networks have a place in their lives.

Not a chance. You want people to pay for that ? Even free alternative social networks like Diaspora or Ello failed to gain any traction. The network effects are just too strong.

The next wave that will eventually unseat Facebook (the product) will have to be something entirely different. And it might even come from Facebook (the company).

Agreed. app.net was such an attempt to offer a paid alternative to Twitter, and that went exactly nowhere.

I'm not sure it has to be entirely different. It could gain traction if it was better, and if it initially attracted the attention of a specific userbase (which would counteract the network effect).

As much as people say they hate how much social networks track them, it's really the thing that makes them work so well. The more info Facebook has on you, the better it can work for you. A privacy-oriented social network isn't social at all, it's...4chan. It would basically just be a forum, and we have plenty of those already. You could go minimal privacy, but then where is the line drawn?

People want to be able to find their friends, so you need some way for discovery to happen. If there's no tracking locations and relationships, then how do you do it? Usernames are the only privacy-concious way to accomplish that, and then you've just described MySpace. Facebook works because when you drunkenly befriend someone at a party, you can find them the next day online. It's bootstrapped discovery. Like it or not, that's what most of the world likes about Facebook.

Google almost solved this problem with G+, but they did it by scanning your email contacts. Is that still a privacy breach?

I don't think you can get such a service for "average joes."

Though...Bloomberg Chat meets your criteria (ex-fee). It consists of ~300K financial users who pay ~$25K/year/terminal. Many argue this is the killer feature of Bloomberg. I agree. It's like an exclusive, digital country club.

... Though the privacy is more from non-Bloomberg users than from Bloomberg itself. Eg: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/may/10/bloomberg-gold...

The paywall is not the only entry requirement though. You can't click 'Pay' and enter. It's more in line with academia discussion boards that require university mails.

Are you drawing a distinction beyond self-checkout v. calling a sales rep to setup an account?

I'm not following.

I think he means that even if you have the money, you need to be a member of a financial institution to be allowed access.

> do you think a privacy oriented social network where users pay a small annual fee (around $5) would work?

I don't think it would work in the world we live in because people are long used to getting things for "free" (from the days of "free email"), where they exchange their attention and personal information for some services. Somehow people have also been trained to avoid even tiny costs in monetary terms (one reason why iOS App Store pricing is always a bad trap for most developers). In my own experience, the cost-benefit ratio takes a longer time to analyze and convince myself of in certain cases.

But if there were such a platform, I would certainly want to try it if it provided similar features (not lagging like Google+ and not including features in "New" that were in "Classic").

When Ello started a few years ago, I really wanted to use it and see it grow fast. But it turned out to be a platform that self-targeted some niche artistic crowd and didn't focus on features I wanted (like groups).

I keep pushing people in my circle to try new things as much as I can possibly do (like Telegram, Wire, Signal). So I'd be very interested in breaking out of Facebook.

Hate to say it but I think the lack of privacy is a big part of what makes social networks sticky in the first place. Facebook noticed that I went to a restaurant and now it suggests other similar places; uses social graphs to suggest new friends; tracks my clicks to give me a more engaging feed...

MySpace died because they weren't evil enough.

I believe there is room for a private social network that is peer-to-peer, encrypted, with no central servers and an open spec. It would make my world a better place, but I don't think it can be monetized. (Maybe donations? non-profit?) Also, privacy breaks down when you run a client on Windows 8 or above. :-( I think a lot of tough computer science challenges are inherit in this model. And yes, there is the network effect dilemma, but I don't require mainstream adoption to use it.

>I believe there is room for a private social network that is peer-to-peer, encrypted, with no central servers and an open spec.

We already have this. It's called "Diaspora". It's a great idea using all the things you talk about: decentralized, peer-to-peer, etc.

No one uses it.

>but I don't require mainstream adoption to use it.

Then I encourage you to set up your own Diaspora account. Maybe if enough people do so, it'll eventually get somewhere.

hmmmm... Diaspora would fit my (paranoid) requirements if every account was hosted in a unique pod on the local device. But, that's just me.

Diaspora is many steps in the right direction and looks like a great alternative to fb. (Slightly disappointing to see support for non-privacy oriented social networks being baked-in. I guess that's a strategic move.)

I don't think it would work unfortunately.

The average person just doesn't care about privacy at all.

I always feel that I come across as a tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy theorist when I'm trying to explain to friends why I don't use Facebook.

App.net tried this, though it was $50/year. Unfortunately they couldn't make a go of it: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13387723

The opposite may work. Paying users to use your site. After all, the data is supposedly insanely valuable, we're doing unpaid work for FB in a very real sense.

Facebook publishes ARPU numbers every quarter. Users in the US and Canada were worth $19.81 each in 2017 Q4, with $4.83 being the worldwide average. [1] This pays for the programmers, storage, offices and other costs.

Facebook had a net income of $3.6bn from 1.86bn monthly active users, or $1.93 per user.

I don't think many users are going to work for what Facebook could reasonably pay out of that....

Worse, any remotely attractive payment might well lead to the rapid creation of billions of fake accounts.

[1] http://static2.uk.businessinsider.com/image/589259d8dd0895fb...

Why would you spread it out evenly? Of course that makes no sense.

It's more like, you pay out to the users that generate a lot of views, and after a threshold. If 1/100 users is a great content generator, the idea that they may make $100/mo is very attractive to switch (and take their followers with them).

As for fake accounts, you bundle in the proof-of-identity stuff and whatever else current networks use to keep bots out. It's its own engineering problem.

So you don't think there's enough clickbait fake news on Facebook, and you want to incentivize its creation?

I don't subscribe to the theory that "fake news" won Trump the election, so I find this criticism of the idea incredibly asinine and besides the point. As a left-winger, I see "fake news" trotted out mostly by bitter liberals who refuse to accept any personal blame for the democrat's loss.

If anything, I place more blame on "legit news" and their "80+% WIN!" predictions for Clinton, ensuring that anyone who thought about casting a protest vote stayed home.

Maybe if it offered free accounts for your family members.

Many people in the tech industry don't realize the tradeoffs they are making by participating on FB. This is to say nothing of the nontechnical crowd who make up the overwhelming majority of the site.

My wish is that mainstream news media would cover these issues. It'd be great if most of FB's users thought about the troves of personal info that they are providing not just about themselves but their friends as well.

UK press has been covering this, and the EU has frequently shown itself ready to push back: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jan/10/whatsapp-...

There is a solution that can help you get here, and it worked for me: unfollow everyone and everything.

By unfollowing everyone except a handful of boring sites that barely ever publish anything, my newsfeed has become very boring and I rarely feel the pull towards it or any of its addictive power. The end result is that when I do log in, I only see notifications for a couple of groups full of my friends or interests that are truly relevant and I don’t waste any time scrolling.

At this point in my life, Messenger (not from the main site, but from its own site) and Groups are quite convenient, and both are a bit necessary for me at the moment, so I can’t quite disable Fb, but I’m very happily giving up on the feed for good.

I might eventually quit altogether, but this method has worked for me quite well for the last few months.

This works well for any follow or subscription based network. Taking the instant gratification and new-content-every-five-minutes aspects out, just leaves you with something that does not incentivise you to keep returning so often (and therefore waste your time).

I have several friends who would benefit a lot if they stopped following hundreds of accounts, keeping their feeds and brains busy with "nothing."

For anyone thinking of doing this, you actually have to manually unfollow everyone. There is no Facebook API method to unfollow friends or pages.

I ended up deleting my account anyway.

Another comment has mentioned poisoning the FB database with fake clickstreams, etc.

It looks like skillful black hat marketers have already succeeded at poisoning FB's content. Read this Vice story, then delete your FB account and delete the cookies from your browser. Friends don't let friends use FB.


The video referenced in that article is truly amazing/disturbing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8Dd5aVXLCc

Fascinating read! I am enlightened.

Start using other apps with better privacy for communication. Get a real website or blog for your PR needs.

>Get a real website or blog for your PR needs.

Btw if you weren't already aware... a lot of small businesses (e.g. mom & pop restaurants, handymen contractors, yoga studios, etc) actually did have a real website but they abandoned them and only maintained their Facebook pages.

The behavior pattern is the same: the "real website" whether it was a CMS built on PHP-Drupal or a Wordpress blog was too complicated for owners to mess with. (e.g. "uh, what's this domain renewal email I just got from Godaddy have to do with my website?!?") The real website then suffers "digital rot" or they expire.

Facebook pages are easier. Therefore, advising them to maintain real websites isn't going to convince them. They've already "been there done that" and saw no value in it. As far as privacy and data collection, businesses don't care -- it's their public storefront.

>> businesses don't care -- it's their public storefront.

Until they land in the news for something and then people can go back and start digging up and doxxing people at the company and any other nefarious information they can get their hands on. ANY information on a business FB page is like a gold mine for social engineers. Everybody on FB eventually "over shares" information they think is safe, but its really not.

The original post was more directed at the individual human FB member.

One problem with FB sites for businesses is loss if identity since the platform looks the same.

I get that small physical shops that don't want to pay for a webmaster etc may have problems updating their sites. But I do miss seeing their original sites.

Twitter and Instagram are ok channels. The problem with FB is the privacy of its individual real person members and their families and friends. When did we sign up to get directed ads etc?

Zuckerberg probably had that idea early on, but the FB members had to accept new terms several times to continue using the platform.

Right now I am working as some kind of developer/marketing/communication 5 legged unicorn and Facebook-based PR is the go-to strategy for everything and anything. I also hear some organisations thinking out loud about completely ditching their websites in favour of Facebook/Twitter presence. (tourism sector)

It's madness. And only works because the train is already rolling and most people are blind of what FB is doing behind the curtains.

Twitter is actually OK in my opinion as it is obviously a more PR like channel by design. (Also Instagram for showcasing new products etc.)

I think that FB sites are a poor substitute for well designed unique websites with depth and relevant information.

The question is how to get viewers or subscribers. But since FB started out as a "personal/friends" service I think that ads and PR will soon be perceived as spam. When people start waking up that is.

The walled-gardenness is what annoys me. It's your communication and publishing medium owned by several big corps. Want to post piratebay links? Facebook blocks you from doing that. Want to post a link to a Chrome extension that lets you filter FB, remove ads, hide posts based on keywords? They block that calling fbpurity.com a malicious website.

Want to post a pic of the Statue of David? Too much nudity. The Vietnamese girl running away from napalm? Same.

Twitter and GMail ar a bit better, but the worry is there. Some Chinese people were worried because their phone disconnected after they said particular keywords. Coincidence, or actual real time monitoring? On Facebook we can see that they are actively monitoring and censoring us, but we keep using them!

Imagine of things like the pipeline protest get classified as "terror events" and Trump-supporting Zuckerberg (Facebook hosted a party with right wing website The Daily Caller, who used Facebook Live Video to spread Trump propaganda to great success, guess who wanted to celebrate that) agrees that talking about it amounts to "support of terrorism". The current occupying regime can even provide fake evidence to suggest "terrorist level" aggression, and if the people on the ground want to refute it, hah, which communication medium do they want to use that would allow that attempt?

> It's madness. And only works because the train is already rolling and most people are blind of what FB is doing behind the curtains.

I basically gave up explaining that because I have to explain how to use FB as a promotion tool and I can't undermine it at the same time because I would lose credibility and leave people more confused than when they came.

> Twitter is actually OK in my opinion as it is obviously a more PR like channel by design. (Also Instagram for showcasing new products etc.)

No, unfortunately it really depends on the niche/market you are following or trying to get into.

> I think that FB sites are a poor substitute for well designed unique websites with depth and relevant information.

> The question is how to get viewers or subscribers. But since FB started out as a "personal/friends" service I think that ads and PR will soon be perceived as spam. When people start waking up that is.

Ditto. With websites we have full control of our statistics and data. I sometimes think that messenger/bot will be the demise of social networks. If somehow marketers can get people to subscribe to bots (with a common API that would abstract whether you are using whatsapp, telegram, etc.) then social networks leash would loosen a bit. That would mean we would be back to something looking a lot like e-mail but whatev'.

I am not tailored for marketing anyway so I am pretty sure I am talking bs.

What exactly is their "strategy" besides just posting every single PR news piece on their FB feed?

Or am I just naive in believing it's something sophisticated?

I don't have yet the whole vocabulary figured out. This is first hand report from a colleague working in another autonomous sister branch of my org. The plan would be to go full FB/insta/twitter only and it's still in the 'what if' stage.

That said, WhatsApp is a pretty good secure messaging app even though they got bought by Facebook.

Can you trust anything by FB? Signal seems ok. Haven't looked too closely at it though.

Whatsapp adopted Signal's security mechanism last year. https://whispersystems.org/blog/whatsapp-complete/

That's good. But FB ownership is black clouds in the sky...

Well I don't see why FB would put so much work into this and then go back on it later. But if they ever do you can be sure it will be big news.

Bit unrelated, but there's a working way to get rid of FB addiction. Just start unfollowing everything that you see in your "news feed". It's not visible to anyone, and you will gradually (a couple of weeks in my case) phase out of FB, just because there's nothing to see there.

But the very first step, for sure, is to admit that you have the addiction.

I did this maybe a year or two ago. I un-followed all of my Facebook friends. No more Facebook updates, no changes to any of my relationships (e.g., nobody gets "unfriended",) more time to focus on my own stuff.

And you can re-follow people any time if things get quiet.

If you're looking to use Facebook less (but can't bring yourself to quit) I just launched a tool for that!


The iOS version is a web app because Apple rejected our native app. They said any app that encourages you to use your phone less is not appropriate for the app store.

Did you bring up the number of apps which either block a tone of sites with a simulated con or notify you until you reopen the app to keep you off you're phone?

We're going through the appeal process right now. We've gathered lists of web content block apps, workflow style apps, and icon skinning apps. I'm not familiar with that last category of apps (notify you until you reopen the app to keep you off you're phone). Can you give me an example?

The linked "Blue Feed, Red Feed" from WSJ is impressive and scary.


A long while back (2012?) i deleted my Facebook account without really thinking it through, and i lost contact with a bunch of people i'd met during an overseas period. I still find that a bit of a pity, but ultimately (as cynical as it sounds) life goes on, and i've found more compatible people whom i care more about in the meantime.

However, a few years ago i recreated a Facebook profile (this time a pseudonym with initially 0 friends) because some of the events i'm interested in (local music/art galleries for example) only publish their events on Facebook, it seems. No mailing list available, invariably. This is a pity, because i don't have friends to rely on to drag me to the good gigs (i like to keep up-to-date with local experimental music, for example, which my friends don't care for).

And, the problem too, is that inevitably, i've made one or two friends with that account, partly with my previous FB experience in mind, and partly because they seemed belligerently anti-email (and texting isn't practical when you're in another country). So now i'm far from being back to square one, and i only look at Facebook about once every month, but i still would love to just get rid of it, except i don't really know how to handle musicians and artists who only publish their upcoming events on Facebook. But aside from that, the comments are spot on. If people can't be arsed to email me if i prefer email (and i, too, believe that i am easily google'able), they're probably not really worth chasing.

Does that exist? Like-on-Facebook-and-relay-via-email-as-a-Service?

A related question is "Should you sign up for Facebook today?". Five years ago I killed my Facebook account (and LinkedIn and G+) and it hasn't bothered me, but... am I missing out on something?

Facebook it the only way I see my second cousin's kid's piano recital. It is a valuable way for me to know something like that happened (they live more than a thousand miles away). It lets me keep up some of the people who I went to high school with - we were not really friends but we had a connection. Facebook is the easiest way to ensure my parents (300 miles away) see pictures of their grandkids doing cute things.

Unfortunately it sucks me into political fake news and lots of other bad things. Blocking all games helped greatly.

On balance the real purpose of Facebook: keeping up with distance family and friends; is a very useful part of life. Thus it is worth it.

This is me - only I'm on the other side of the Atlantic from family. In fact, this was the only reason I signed up for facebook 3 or so years ago. It is also the reason I have some loyalty: The main drawback of other social networks is the lack of cross communication between chats and some people's pages.

You are not missing out on much.

The only productive use of Facebook is to keep in touch with people. If you do this using alternative methods (Whatsapp, email or direct phone calls) then you save yourself from the continuous stream of garbage that is the news feed.

I log into Facebook once a year or so. Twitter, never. HN and Reddit I enjoy. Am 30. Don't feel bad.

I don't feel bad, I'm just curious what I'm missing out on by not taking part in something that's very popular. I love Twitter.

I've never used Facebook, see no reason to start.

I occasionally get pushback from some relatives who tell me I'm not taking part in family stuff. That probably matters to some people, depending on their family dynamics. I simply point out that I also publish stuff online in places they don't choose to look.

I also miss out on some community chatter and the occasional event with a couple of orgs I'm involved with. I don't personally care.

In general, my calculation is that my life is noticeably better without it. I'm not someone who needs constant human contact, in fact, too much is bad for me. I'm also apparently pretty far off-median on the Bell-curve in terms of the value I place on my privacy. YMMV.

You could suggest a private service if they want your participation.

Something like http://spokt.com

Currently, if you're in the US, you're mostly missing out on people re-posting articles about politics, rants about politics, expressions of solidarity with protestors and so on.

Zuck: "Facebook is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers." Oh, well, but they seem to be hooked in there anyway: http://web.archive.org/web/20150826205104/https://bosnadev.c...

The US government definitely has at least "indirect" access to Facebook servers.

What does "direct access" mean exactly? Does having to enter a password constitute indirect access?

You argue either way over whether or not something "is", or "has been".

It's the "will be" that you should be wary of.

I think facebook is the most dangerous spy of the world. let me tell you a story, once I was setting with my friend and he was using his facebook app in android phone, and suddenly I saw, "Invite your friends to facebook" and the number and name down this statement was personal contact, and she don't even know what facebook is? you would wonder how I came to know about that number so quickly, becuase my nameing convention for contacts is very different i.e. like I write "C" before every classmate contact and "F" before every friend things like that. and then I stopped using facebook in my phone.

I keep my social media accounts locked down and off search engines, so I was surprised to see my name, photo and a link to my profile appearing in a Facebook list of people with my name when I self-Googled. The problem seems to apply to localized versions of FB (it-it, en-gb) so it is probably a bug.

Google Plus had a similar problem, but for much longer. Even though my account was locked down, the people who had me in their circles were showing up in Google search results for my name, so I deleted my Google Plus profile, and advised my friends and family to do the same.

I nuked my Pinterest profile after it was scraped despite being locked down.

FB also did something rather disturbing the other day that reminded me why vigilance is critical. It generated a (private) music video about my friends, but freakily, the person who it started up with was a secret crush -the attraction was mutual but never went anywhere-from 15 years ago (we became FB friends a few years later). The two of us don't interact much on FB, so it must have inferred this based on her ongoing views of my profile, or vice-versa. My wife has no idea about this crush, and is friends with the other person. Our circle of mutual friends does know about it, but has kept it secret for years. Having it appear on my FB timeline would have been awkward, to say the least.

Never used Facebook, though I'm postive they have a lot of data on me, for which I never agreed to share with them, cannot see, have no way to opt-out of, etc.

You can "opt out" of a lot of the data collection by editing your hosts file. facebook.com fbcdn.com etc.

Multiple people maintain lists of Facebook and other surveillancecorp domains.

My take. I have been using FB since 2007 I was a sophomore in high school. A couple years ago I didn't use FB as often as I did, but just this past year I started to use FB more frequently.

The change has to do with the people I actually network with on FB. I always have friends, real life friends on my FB, but most of them aren't very active on Facebook. This past year I met a bunch of new friends and they are the social bunch. I started to post more of my social life on Facebook. It's been fun to actually see what's happening in everyone's life. With the recent political shit storm in America, FB is becoming more active.

I also started to follow a bunch of pages ranging from food to inspiration quotes to news page. They have been helpful to get me through my day, learning new perspectives and finding more interesting things.

I've used other products such as quora, flipboard, etc but they don't provide the same conveniences as FB does. I have family members actively on FB (my father and my sister in particular), and I enjoy sharing my moments with them.

I know there's a lot of privacy concerns with using FB but I simply try to accommodate it. I believe in controlling my privacy but I also enjoy using the product. As far as I am concerned, if I am not leaking my social security number or talking shit about my work on FB, I am not too concerned.

But in the future when I become a parent, I would certainly be concerned of the safety and the privacy more and more, specifically how it is easy for someone to look at another person's profile for as long as the profile is shared with friends and friends. Fake news and the left/right war on Facebook are also quite problematic.

I think it's interesting that despite deep and widely-publicized privacy concerns, Facebook's users have mostly been loyal to the platform. Myself included.

Data collections seems necessary to monetize the platform. Are there any alternatives, or do we just need smaller more close-knit social networks?

I think about it as a simple Message and Event's calendar that my friends have access to me once per week when I look at it.

Also occasionally use it as a login systems for sites I don't want to sign up to.

What else does it do? I unfollowed everyone/thing from my wall ... which seems to improve it somewhat!

I still use Messenger, but my Facebook account is deactivated. I finally gave up after clicking "Hide all from..." for the 10,000th time. It seemed like an increasingly losing battle. The more I unfollowed, the more it showed me things I didn't want to see, and more ads! My entire interaction had devolved into scrolling slowing and clicking "Hide all..."

So tell me how you got your feed to stop being full of bad things? :)

I just did about 25 per day for what seemed like forever but I wasn't about to let it win!

There are extensions that will eradicate the feed for you.

Going on two years without Facebook. At first I thought it will be hard to stay in touch with friend but it is the opposite, I get to hangout more often with my friends, our conversations are more intimate, we genuinely want to know what happened since we last saw each other. As far as news goes I subscribed to news paper, have dozen email subscriptions which delivers it to my inbox every morning.

I started making photo albums again and putting my pictures in there whenever friends come over I get to show it to them.

As far as cat videos goes I get to watch them on YouTube

To be honest it has been the most productive time of my life since I deactivated Facebook and my friendship has become stronger

Moral of the story yes you an live without Facebook

Nice Post! Learned a lot. Thank you!

I've removed my Facebook account 3 years ago and never looked back. Everyone who should be in touch with me have my e-mail address and mobile phone number, other's who actually want to take a sniff into my life try to trick me creating one, but hey - I've been there, f*ck off. Nonetheless I relocated to the US, Boston, 7 months ago and haven't acquired any meaningful friendship with anyone, I still don't care. I better off read Literature and Philosophy rather than infinite stream of non-sense.


I wonder if the edge case has been tested wherein someone turning 18 retroactively withdraws consent their parents gave when uploading information about them while they were minors. Taking photos of other people and data mining them, especially minors, seems like something that is very probably illegal in at least a few states. Would be very curious if on someone's 18th birthday they can actually force Facebook to delete everything they have about them.

I've always had the wrong birth date on Facebook because I'm not comfortable with sharing too much personal information with that company. So people have been congratulating me on the wrong date. Which doesn't bother me at all because keeping track of peoples birthday is impossible. But I've gotten the impression from some that I've broken a taboo and that they think it is deceptive of me to have the wrong birth date displayed.

>As you are crafting your message, Facebook collects your keystrokes.

Does anyone have evidence of this? Not surprising or difficult, of course, but while watching ajax traffic and typing into a status box I don't see obvious posts with either the text I'm typing or obscured blobs. On the other hand, there's plenty of ajax traffic polling for updates and sending other analytics.

I recently got the option to save post drafts, so I could type something, it would save it automatically, and I could continue that post in another browser if I wanted (similar to Gmail's compose window). But the option was very visible. I can't recall if I dismissed it forever or it disappeared by itself.

If they're malicious they could wait a few minutes before reporting what you were thinking of posting.. or they're using websockets, which you may have missed.

"A similarly-sized company of 15,000 might have 5 data scientists" - this is so far off the mark I don't even have a response.

The definition of data scientist is really skewed. It's a buzz word every hot shot identifies themselves with.

Deleted FB years ago and haven't missed it one bit. Get out while you can and block all FB domains via hosts or on your router.

Does anyone have suggestions or best practices for using facebook securely (ie to maintain an account but not let it be linked w/ all of your other browsing activities)? I was thinking something like hosting a hardened/non-fingerprintable browser from a VPS/cloud provider somewhere and only using that to interact with the site.

Ghostery (they may be evil, it seems they've mutated into a company selling "insight" about 3rd party tracker blocking, insight they gather from their users usage of their browser extension!) blocks close to a thousand 3rd party trackers. Yes there are that many.

Even without an FB account, it's interesting how Fb probably has a profile of you from your friends. If you have 5 friends who use FB and they upload party pics of you 6, FB can probably nake a profile of that "ghost" through your friends' characters. E.g. All 5 like metal, all 5 checked-in to a metal concert/the FB app places them there, and there's a pre-concert photo of you 6, the machine can conclude the ghost (you) probably like metal too. And it already has your face in its face recognition database...

Noscript can block js from Facebook, except when you're on Facebook.com.

How do we know facebook doesn't serve up tracking scripts from other domains?

With respect to tracking you throughout the interwebs, Amazon is as bad. It pisses me off when I look at a pair of shoes then start seeing amazon ads on every site I go to for months, hey remember the shoes you looked at?

Related: Now Facebook has been pushing the Moments app to share photos. I don't want to use it but a lot of people around me do. Can anyone recommend an alternative photo sharing app?

Google Photos works well.

That's true, I'm currently using them. But of course Google comes with their own set of privacy concerns as well.

That's true. I've been considering the idea of building my own personal replacement for several Google services - Keep, Drive, and Photos mainly. Haven't decided it's worth the effort yet.

I would love a self-hosted Google docs clone, that I can access from an Android App and the web. That would also replace Evernote.

I've been tempted to look into things like ownCloud (https://owncloud.org/features/), but I just haven't been excited by what I've seen so far. What I'm thinking of is more of a single user web app that I build myself so that a) it does exactly what I want and nothing more, b) I know exactly how it works and what it does with my data, and c) there are no other users to support.

Instagram ? :)

What I think about when I use Facebook: don't use Facebook.

I usually think, why am I on Facebook? I just want messenger to open already.

I think it is very simple. We should think positive update status. If we won't tracked as a 'blacklist' we should have decorum or ethical.

I should think, can I beat Facebook? If no. So give up. If yes, make something interesting than Facebook.

Facebook is good for one thing only: organizing political protests.

Damn you, Tinder.

Whether you realize it or not, your posts are being analyzed by everyone.

Use a free service like Rep'nUp to identify all unprofessional posts, images, and tags. You can then link back to each post and curate if needed.


Please clearly disclose if you have an affiliation with this service.

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