The latest South Park episode paints a pretty good picture of how annoying and obnoxious FB has become.

It used to be a great site to connect with your APPROVED friends and share with them

  • your contact info
  • some pics of what’s going on in your life
  • more or less entertaining random thoughts
  • pretty much staying in touch and messing around (we all did those quizzes, tagged notes and games once…especially if we were supposed to be doing something else)

Then that changed.

As of this week, Facebook users are no longer able to make their profile photos, home towns and friends lists viewable only by approved friends. Those are all public now. Posted content, like status messages and photos, are for the first time “recommended” as a new default setting to be public – for any users who hadn’t edited their privacy settings before. The company told us last night that only 15 to 20% of Facebook users had changed their settings before.

What used to be only accessible to your friends has become available for everyone on the web. People can google it. In the course of time, FB repeatedly changed their Terms of Agreement. They now own the content of what you post, up to sub-licensing it, even after you delete your account! If you think that’s scary, you won’t like the upcoming privacy change: Automatically share your data with ‘pre-approved’ third party webpages and applications.


The reason FB gives is just an insult to their 400M users’ intelligence:
“[…]We think there are some instances where people would benefit from this experience as soon as they arrive on a small number of trusted websites that we pre-approve. […] this has absolutely nothing to do with advertising.”(Barry Schnitt, Senior Manager of FB)

Riiiigghhtt. I’m sure if they wouldn’t make a single buck out of it, they’d still be forcing huge privacy invasions down their customers throats while risking the company’s image. And btw, don’t you just trust them so much more now about how carefully they’re gonna pre-approve third-party pages and applications?

Some of you might think:

So what’s the big deal? If you think it’s bad, then don’t do it in the first place because it will become public.

There is some truth to it. However, Facebook lured people in on the promise that you have total control of who gets to see what you post. As their users went up to about 300M they turned on their own words and sold them out.

Just think if Google one day should decide times are changing and publish your search inputs for the best offer, probably to a buyer who has already purchased your FB profile.

Let’s say I’m an optimistic ‘some bird burped in the rain forest and that’s why people are all soulmates’ kind of guy. This could very well lead to an end of penis enlargements mails in our inbox, yay! However, people usually don’t interpret information very accurately. Furthermore, it’s not about if something you’ve done in the past is right or wrong, that is for each and everyone themselves to determine. It’s about human errors when people judge others.

A common example: You smoked some pot, got drunk or/and stupid at a party and it’s all well-documented through friendly tags. For you it’s part of growing up. Do you think others will perceive it the same way? Moreover, will the person analyzing your data label you in a way that could possibly hurt your future endeavors? If you’ve ever met people in real life, you know that everyone has a different perception of what is ‘wrong’ and what is ‘right’.

Especially in our times, most are not very sensitive towards others. Judging without thinking first, feeling safe behind their computer screens – it has all become an acceptable habit. A good example of how one mindless remark on the net can cost you all the hard work you’ve invested would be Jay Park also known as Jaebeom.

The Kpopstar was driven out of the country for something he said on MySpace years ago in his training days. Training days are rough and most trainees are still very young. A stupid comment in a vulnerable state and you get one of the most popular examples of the past concerning what mindless internet comments and interpretations can lead to.

So how can you defend yourself against greedy Facebook?

The best solution is simply to delete your account! No users = no power.
Nevertheless, we all (including FB) know that most users have become comfortable connecting with friends through the site. So until a new social network site comes out that is user-friendly and doesn’t abuse peoples’ trust, you might prefer less drastic solutions. Here are 2:

  1. Go to http://www.seppukoo.com/. This site will extract all your info from FB and de-activate your account…until you decide you want to re-activate your account again.
  2. Change your name, birth date, country, gender etc. to fake info. Let’s all be 80-year-old grannies living in Alaska! It’s not such a strong selling point, if the data isn’t applicable.
Another suggestion is to erase all private messages from your accounts and basically anything that shouldn’t be seen by a third-party. Private messages were leaked before, FB accounts got hacked before and Mark Zuckerberg has proven to be a douchebag before, repeatedly.

John Mayer always talks about his worries of being perceived as a douchebag when he is at worst ordinary. A real douchebag is someone who cashed in big time by owning the biggest social networking site to date and still would fuck his 400M customers over in a heartbeat.

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