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Quit Facebook Day

An online event which took place on May 31, 2010.

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"I Wish I Knew How to Quit You!"

  • Jun 6, 2010
  • by
In genral, there are not a lot of "Anti" Holidays or even protests that I particularly like.  I find many of them to be annoying and in several cases, they lose track of what it is they're really about.  At least the Facebook protest isn't exactly one where people could lose sight of the message.  On the other hand, it's a protest and a day that comes as a result of a bunch of people who are basically complaining because they don't have enough sense to... keep their own privacy... private.

I will say I have an inkling of understanding how these people feel.  In my own little write up of Facebook I noted that everything you can do on there is ridiculously simple... except the privacy settings.  They are, in the first place, difficut to find and once you do they're a little shifty and a bit of a pain in the ass to manage.  Likewise, some of you might've had different privacy settings than me.  Is it a problem with Facebook?  Certainly.  Perhaps I don't want my profile set to default from the get go, and maybe the stuff I put on there is stuff I only really want my friends to see.  Mark Zuckerberg said it himself: "What people want isn't complete privacy; it's that they want control over what they share and what they don't."  For the most part people have that control.  On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with say... wanting to change your privacy settings in such a way that perhaps you don't want unneeded SPAM from fake profiles or something to that effect.  That's a problem Facebook has to work on.

And yes, I do agree that Facebook could make, of all things, the privacy settings a little easier to access, and a little easier to use.  Facebook does much more, of course.  The place has often been pretty sneaky about making changes that weren't exactly the best of the best.  There was, of course, that beacon incident in 2007 which was seen as a big invasion of privacy by users.  In many respects... it was, because your information was, during this time, being given to other sites without your actual knowledge of it and you were NOT in control of it.  The question as to what Facebook does with your information once you post it has always been brought into question.  This is the portion that those against "Quit Facebook Day," always forget.  Facebook has a history of taking YOUR information without YOUR permission and using it.  With Beacon it was that advertisers could use your information if they wanted.  Eventually it became something you could opt into... and then they scrapped it completely.  The point being is that, Facebook digging into your stuff and using your information without actually asking you has happened before. 

Yet there is one question I've always been wondering since the advent of social networking.  Have we ever truly experienced privacy or have we not?  With Facebook most people who are already prone to being open... never had that expressive outlet to really put themselves out there to begin with.  Privacy in this manner was, by and large, a default thing.  Before, it isn't like you were able to simply go out there and put all this information out there.  Unless you were somehow famous.

That's not to say there's any justification for "Quit Facebook Day."  There really isn't.  Certainly Facebook has dug into your profile and used your information.  They still do it, to a certain extent.  Those ads that pop up on your page?  Because Facebook went into your profile and got the information to know what they need to advertise to you (instead of just giving it to advertisers this time).  

Of course, the simple solution is that if you don't want this particular information to be used... don't put it on there.  There are plenty of reasons people use Facebook.  To put it into a better perspective I'll share a couple of things with you all now.  The majority of people on my friends list are people whom I've met at one point or another.  They might not all remember me, but I sure as hell remember them.  And I've got no problem hitting that "ignore" button or blocking particular profiles.  I've also got my privacy settings set that in order to see my information we have to have mutual friends, anyway.  In short, unless you know someone I know, you can't really dig into my information.

However, this is also the thing about Facebook that you need to know.  Facebook can dig a little much.  For example, you can put your phone number and address.  And here is where the problem with this, "Quit Facebook because your information isn't private."  Some of your information really isn't.  Such as, oh say, your hobbies and interest.  Things like that.  But come on, guys, is it really such a big deal if people know you liked the movie V For Vendetta?  And if you DON'T want people to know, you can simply not list it there.  My interests aren't exactly things I'm ashamed of.  If Facebook say, forced me to put my phone number on there and then gave it out to someone without my knowing... I'd probably be pissed.  But that Beacon incident was a while ago and while the News Feed caused problems when it first began as well, you can even set certain things not to show up (or hide them, if you want).  

That's not to say Facebook doesn't have privacy issues.  In the first place as much as Zuckerberg seems to like giving control that users can make things more private, he does a bad job of making that privacy accessible to his users.  Especially with how often the look of the site is being changed.  This is because, you have to understand, Zuckerberg's philosophy is that the world should be a more open place to begin with.  When you read more about Zuckerberg... it seems pretty obvious why he made privacy on Facebook so damn hard to grasp.  Since the purpose is supposed to be a more open society it should be no surprise that Zuckerberg is like a grimacing child when he hears that people want MORE of it. 

As I said, however, no one is forcing you to put ANY of these things on your profile page.  Hell, you're not even forced to put up a picture of yourself.  Facebook makes obtaining privacy a real pain in the ass sometimes, but the information you volunteer is entirely your business.  No one is sitting here, pointing a gun at you saying, "PUT DOWN YOUR FAVORITE MOVIES OR I'LL BLOW YOUR DAMN HEAD OFF!"  And if someone IS saying that to you, you have way bigger problems.  Like, I don't know, a gun being put to your head.

It's no secret that Facebook will use your interests to find ads which cater to you.  For example if you put down your interest as video games, for example, you'll eventually see video game ads pop up on your Facebook page.  Just the same however, you volunteered this stuff.  Therefore, if you don't volunteer your information perhaps you'll be able to hold onto it more.  Facebook isn't Big Brother and they're not spying on you.  That would be like complaining that you filled out a job application and then getting upset when your employer knows where you worked before you applied with them.  They wouldn't know this stuff if you didn't put it there.

As far as "Quit Facebook Day," is concerned, I can sympathize with the, "I don't like it when they use my information without my permission," because Facebook has done that before.  But when Facebook has done it, people have been able to stop it without resorting to, "I'm just going to delete my account!  That'll show 'em!"  That doesn't show them anything, really.  There are around 500 million users on Facebook.  Do they care if only tens of thousands cancel their accounts when there are hundreds of thousands of fake profiles anyway?  

It turns out that Zuckerberg and company actually do care to a certain extent.  Yes, Zuckerberg is a firm believer that the world needs to be more open.  But he's also empathetic in that some people actually want to maintain their privacy. 

Privacy is always a very funny subject, though.  As human beings we LOVE to keep our own lives private yet we seem to want to know everyone's business.  If this weren't so then we'd leave people like Tom Cruise or Tiger Woods well enough alone instead of gossiping and filling the air waves with stories about their private lives.  We value our own personal privacy but we seem to want to know everyone's business.  The reason this boycott didn't get a whole lot of people actually quitting Facebook probably has something to do with the fact that deep inside many of us actually like being connected to others and knowing what people are up to.  Human beings are naturally social creatures (not to mention naturally curious creatures).  Everyone of us has SOMEONE we like to confide in, don't we?  A wife, a husband, a best friend... even a goddamn psychiatrist.  Human beings need social interaction.  It's become a fundamental part of life.  We've just never experienced it quite the way that Facebook allows us to.

But when it comes to this Quit Facebook Day stuff, it seems like overkill because you're getting users who either don't know how to use their privacy settings (I know it's a pain to find and manage them guys, but when you do it's not exactly hard to retrace your steps) or their upset that they don't know how much to hold back and how much to reveal.  Then again, many of these people never HAD the option to hold back or not.  Before it's not as though they were really given that choice in many respects.  You couldn't talk about the awesome party at your friends place because you had no one to really share it with in some respects.  Facebook allows you to do that... but it's up to the individual user to learn restrain with the information he or she chooses to divulge.  It makes no sense to blame Facebook because you're in a muddled world where you can't figure out what to put on your profile page and what not to put on your profile page.  You shouldn't have to tell someone NOT to post nude photos of themselves online... but you do.  If people in general are willing to touch an open flame without a sign being there to tell them not to are you really surprised that they're people out there who will post something online without restraint unless you tell them to?

Privacy is always a subject of debate, controversy and criticism with Facebook.  This seems to be because Zuckerberg is, unfortunately, trying to put forward a philosophy... and share hundreds of millions of people in it--a good chunk of whom don't agree with him entirely.  For the most part people are fine with openness... as long as they're allowed to be in control of that openness.  Zuckerberg most certainly understands that and so he's trying to allow people to be in control.  For the most part Facebook DOES allow you to be in control of that openness.  It makes no sense to go on your facebook page, call Jenny a stupid bitch and then get mad at Facebook because that bitch Jenny happens to be on your friends list and see it.  That's not the fault of Facebook that Jenny saw it.  All you had to do was have enough sense to keep the thoughts in your head and out of your status update.  That would be like pounding your own thumb with a hammer and then having the gall to get pissed off at the hammer.  You're holding it genius, learn how to use it!

In short, Quit Facebook Day just feels like another one of those protests where people are more upset that things didn't go the way they wanted them to rather than not.  The difference between Quit Facebook Day and other protests is that Quit Facebook Day is done by people who seem unaware of how to really use those privacy settings given to them... or who don't seem to know restraint in their own thoughts.  Let's be honest, if you don't want people to know it, you shouldn't post it.  Period.  Likewise there are some things that perhaps it's best not to let people know.  If you've got a bad case of diarrhea and you think it's something serious... you shouldn't be posting that on your Facebook page... you should be going to a doctor.  Your health will thank you while your 400 friends will also be glad they're still holding onto their lunch. 

I understand that in the age of social networking privacy has now become an option rather than something default.  On social networking, however, you've got to understand that what you reveal was done by your own hand.  Much like those people who post nude photos, you'd think no one would have to tell you this stuff... but they do.  You are living in an age in which privacy is now your choice.  Don't get mad because you couldn't find the restraint.

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June 12, 2010
I could never get into Facebook for some reason. I used to have a friendster account back then, but I dropped it as soon as I lost interest. I guess I like sites where I feel like I can help folks. Nice review as usual!
More Quit Facebook Day reviews
Quick Tip by . June 26, 2010
posted in That's Beat
Facebook is a wonderful tool. It is so nice to be able to connect and stay up with friends and family all over the world. Thank you FB creators!
Quick Tip by . June 02, 2010
posted in That's Beat
I never posted anything that I wouldn't want people to know about, so it doesn't affect me. I don't see what quitting will solve either.
Quick Tip by . June 02, 2010
I've got 4 kids, 2 ex's, 5 former clients and a number of people directly connected to my employment on FB. What am I gonna talk about?? ?
Quick Tip by . June 01, 2010
I understand the privacy concerns, but I'm not passionate about FB enough, nor do I post enough sensitive information, to care.
Quick Tip by . June 02, 2010
About the reviewer
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #7
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … more
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Quit Facebook Day was an online event which took place on May 31, 2010 (coinciding with Memorial Day), in which Facebook users stated that they would quit the social network, due to privacy concerns.  It is estimated that 2% of Facebook users coming from the United States will delete their account.
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