tl;dr: fuck facebook.
Earlier today I had to create a new profile so I could “gain” access to the developers’ stuff for a project I was recently assigned to.
I didn’t see any harm in using my personal email. One that I haven’t linked to any facebook account before. So there I went. I created a new profile.
I accepted the only friend request from a colleague, and a couple of hours later, I opened facebook again. “I’ll just take a look”, I thought. But oh boy, I immediately saw worryingly specific friend suggestions.
Friend suggestions that included people from the work, which is understandable, given that my only friend was from there.
Friend suggestions that included… my family? Old college acquaintances? People I haven’t talked to or known about in more than 6 years? I got suggestions for people I wasn’t even directly acquainted to, but through other people.
I understand facebook exploits their users’ data as technologically (way beyond the ethical and legal realms) possible in their attempt to engage users. But this just felt ridiculous.
I’m genuinely amazed at how we allowed and maybe even encouraged this type of behavior. This level of accepted intrusion.
I have a guess: these people have the facebook app installed, and my number in their contacts. Then facebook does the rest: A has a linked telephone number, and B has A‘s number in their contacts. Suggest B to A —and more probably: suggest A to B.
I hate the fact that I have to use my telephone number to validate my status as a developer who wants to use the facebook api. Anyways, I’ll deactivate my account and register with a completely different email and name.
(Update: I only used that account during one day, I deleted it afterwards.)
I originally just quit facebook, but not other of its products (namely, whatsapp and instagram). But this recent interaction with the brand and its main product, makes me want to quit using those as well.
I know that sharing the information about something doesn’t make the people you shared it with hold your same opinions. But I’d encourage everyone to read Mindf*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America , by Christopher Wylie, and Permanent Record , by Edward Snowden.
Also, Richard Stallman’s Reasons not to be used by Facebook .