Please all, what’s the big hype all about? I’ve freely given my private information to an American Corporation and I’m surprised they’ve used it for their benefit? Really, WTF? I heard that some in the USA are calling for a Senate investigation into Facebook’s business practices, and with the other side of their mouths they’re planning to equip school teachers with guns. Why on Earth is anyone incensed at what seems to be a normal corporate business practice and quite OK with more guns being proposed for a society already riddled with them?
There’s no need to quit Facebook – just start lying; Worried about exposing your data, but don’t want to delete your account? Here’s a crazy idea that just might work To delete or not to delete, that is the question Facebook users are now asking while weighing the pros and cons of breaking up with the social-media giant.
For any other product, this would be a cinch. If you have a pair of shoes that always give you blisters, they quickly get mothballed. You don’t keep stumbling around town in agony. You realize the shoes are a bad fit and you move on.
But the fact millions of users can’t bring themselves to erase their Facebook accounts shows just how deeply this behemoth has wormed its way into our lives.
Facebook is hurting us and we don’t care. When a company such as Cambridge Analytica is able to secretly harvest personal data from 50 million FB users, my first thoughts should be: “Wow, I need to protect my privacy. I need to escape this cesspool of fake news. I need to flee the mind-control marketing and ads that are often targeted with such eerie precision, it’s as
if Mark Zuckerberg was hiding behind my couch and heard my wife say we need to steam the carpets. I need to get out before I become a stooge in a future Russian propaganda campaign that tricks me into believing my neighbour is a satanist or Justin Trudeau is the greatest prime minister ever. I need to be free.”
But what I actually think is, “I can’t delete my Facebook!”
That right there is the FB Paradox. It’s why the new #DeleteFacebook movement, however noble, will never reach critical mass.
Maybe we were fools to voluntarily surrender our data in the first place.
Maybe we should have realized sharing personal details with a global corporation was a terrible idea.
But the truth is, it’s too late now. I can’t quit you, Facebook, not when leaving feels like abandoning family and friends.
How will I keep tabs on distant relatives with whom there are no other established lines of contact? What am I supposed to do – pick up aphone and call? How will I see the photos of nieces at Disney or learn a former colleague is off to a new adventure in the Middle East? How will I know when someone I haven’t seen since Grade 11 is poking me?
How will I add a smile emoji when my dad accidentally wishes someone a happy birthday by writing on his own wall?
So instead of “to delete or not to delete,” is there a third option?
I believe the answer here is a resounding “maybe.”
Now, look. I’m no tech expert. I won’t pretend to grasp Facebook’s proprietary algorithms, or even know what “proprietary algorithms” means.
But if the central fear is that Facebook is now treating our data like a rented mule, what if we changed the rules? What if we corrupted our own data to make it useless?
Stay with me. What if you tinkered with your settings and monkeyed with your birthday, your sex, your city, your job, your relationship status? What if you started “Liking” stories you hated and clicked on ads for products you’d never buy? What if you fictionalized your digital existence until the Real You and the Facebook You became strangers?
If you did that, your data would be worthless.
Which would make it priceless.
Granted, this may be confusing to those on the periphery of your friends’
I mean, if I suddenly tell the world I am actually a Caucasian lesbian senior who lives in Albuquerque and volunteers with the NRA, my inbox is sure to clog up with a few baffled messages. But for the people who really know us – the inner circle nobody wants to lose – this act of personal disruption would be obvious.
Our loved ones would know this was just a clever ruse to throw off any evil and faceless data miners who may be inclined to aggregate and weaponize our info in the years ahead.
“Why did you just say you’re now single?” my wife will ask.
“I did it,” I will reply, “to protect you!”
Ultimately, this is all about managing the FB Paradox.
On Monday, despite the ongoing scandal, the Angus Reid Institute released a survey that found only 10 per cent of Canadian FB users plan to delete their accounts.
But 73 per cent want to “make at least some change to how” they interact online.
I can think of no better way to change than to don a disguise. Go nuts and turn into someone else. Do it for the peace of mind.
As always, Facebook only knows what you tell it.
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