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So you want to delete your Facebook account

So you want to delete your Facebook account

“if the platform you’re using is free, is not showing ads, and is not tracking your usage, then you should be questioning how they generate revenue”

Facebook’s use of user data has been plastered across headlines for the last several weeks.

A story about a company called Cambridge Analytica precipitated what became a massive snowball. In early stories, Cambridge Analytica (a data firm used by some candidates in both domestic and international elections), was accused of hacking the 2016 election by stealing user data.


Of course, that’s not true. Cambridge Analytica was privy to the data of some 50 million Facebook users because those users gave them express consent through a third-party app. The information they mined was only a fraction of the data available to Facebook.

Chris Kavanagh has a fantastic read on the details of the Cambridge Analytica scandal that I highly recommend if you’re looking for an in-depth, but reader-friendly explanation of the story.

As the Cambridge Analytica stories gained traction and were thoroughly questioned, it became apparent that the culprit here wasn’t a data firm, but the platform itself.

The extent of Facebook data mining is troublesome given the reach their reach, as is their obvious preference for progressive content. Facebook also made it incredibly difficult to navigate their privacy settings. Unless you’re a savvy user or have a “how to” guide, figuring out how to opt out of sharing your information is the furthest from intuative.

These are issues that should and will receive attention (finally!) moving forward and may result in a complete revamping of the social media and digital ad world. Exciting times, these are.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve always assumed that everything I put on the internet has the potential to become publicly available, none of the Facebook privacy kerfluffle was revelatory.

I’ve been surprised that so many are surprised to learn information they’ve shared can be easily accessed or used by the platform. So I thought I’d share a little bit about how these platforms work so you can decide how you wish to proceed according to your preferred level of privacy.

If you are not paying, you are not the customer

Facebook generates revenue by selling ad space, ad space that can target user’s likes and even predict their wants, all with alarming accuracy. Selling effective ads requires copious amounts of user data to provide results to their customers (publishers, not you). Whether that’s selling more widgets or garnering more clicks, Facebook ads have become an incredibly precise way of reaching otherwise unreachable people.

So you want to delete your Facebook account…

I’ve seen many people talk about deleting their Facebook accounts in order to switch to other less invasive platforms. And that’s great. Competition in the marketplace is always healthy. But if the platform you’re using is free, is not showing ads, and is not tracking your usage, then you should be questioning how they generate revenue because it’s gotta come from someone.

And deleting your Facebook account won’t fix the internet’s many privacy pitfalls

For this one, I’ll turn to Mashable:

But there is no way to undo the damage that’s been done. Scores of developers could still be hoarding our old Facebook data and there’s nothing we can do about it.

Moreover, it’s not just Facebook you should be worried about.

Almost everything you touch in your digital life is tracking you in more ways than you know. Search engines, advertisers, e-commerce platforms, and even your wireless carrier and internet service provider (ISP) have an uncomfortable amount of information about who you are, where you go, and what you like.

They may not be turning around and selling that data to political operatives, but they are engaging in their own kind of profiling.

“Any of the common big platforms that we use on an everyday basis is collecting various kinds of data about us that is being used to develop personalized profiles about us,” says Luke Stark, a postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth College and privacy researcher.

Even streaming services like Netflix get a read on you based on the types of programming you watch. Algorithms. They’re everywhere.

Messaging functions are not lockboxes

“Private message” capabilities on any platform are not lockboxes that function in internet oblivion. They’re monitored and logged by the staffers of the employee. Facebook monitors chat for criminal activity. Message accordingly.

The golden rule of the internet is…

The internet is forever. If you don’t want anyone to know, don’t put it on the internet. Period.

And if you don’t want anyone knowing any of your personal data that they can’t look up in the White Pages, then it’s probably best to avoid social media, Google, smartphones, and any other bit of technology that asks for your information.

There are plenty of handy guides on how to protect your information and lock down your accounts so that others can’t access your information, but in the age of cyber warfare, data mining, and massive private data breaches (Equifax anyone?), it’s best to remember the golden rule of the internet.

Go forth, and internet accordingly.

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Comments

Morning Sunshine | April 10, 2018 at 8:24 pm

“If you are not paying, you are not the customer” This. So many times THIS.

I don’t think it is that they collect data, but the depth to which they do it, and the social engineering they are attempting to do, which is the problem. FB ties in with most other platforms, so it isn’t even just limited to what happens on FB. There is a part of your settings which has rated how your political leanings are, this is for virtually everyone, and their reach goes beyond just yourself.

Even people who are not on Face Book can have data mined by them through friends that are on it. It is things like this which shows the ugly tactics they use. We are becoming less and less free, and privacy has become a word without much meaning in today’s society.

I’ve heard it better as “if you aren’t paying for it, you’re the product.”

Funny how everyone has their panties in a bind because Cambridge Analytica purportedly helped the Trump campaign. They’re the JV team compared to what Obama’s organization did with Face***k data, and Face***k helped them knowingly. Anybody who uses Face***k and thinks they have conservative values is lying to themselves, one way or the other.

Just stop. Twitter too. You can communicate with everyone who is important using email, personal blogs, etc. Take a walk. Smell the flowers. Play with your kids and dogs. Read a book. These centralized social media platforms are poisonous and they must be destroyed.

    YellowGrifterInChief in reply to Paul. | April 10, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    they must be destroyed

    Are they a Death Star? On what basis do you justify destroying them?

    Are you going to use the government? How about attacking them with all your guns! Why don’t you use Facebook to organize a boycott of Twitter and Twitter to organize a boycott of Facebook?

    I guess it is Okay to get hysterical about a threat on the internet, but not about – I don’t know – Climate Change?

      Dude, you need material. You’re so predictable, you’re boring.
      Try burning some tires or something.

      In his defense, there actually are threats on the internet.

      Take a deep breath and read my post again. I stated why (they’re poisonous) and proposed the solution for destroying them… for people who don’t like being manipulated and censored to simply stop using them. If enough people stop, they’ll begin their slow, painful deaths. These platforms are all publicly traded, VC-funded data-selling hamster wheels… as soon as their “eyeball” counts start to drop the pain for them begins.

It should be illegal to collect and store this information. The idea that we have agreed to it by clicking on terms of use is a preposterous lie.

I was told back in the early 90’s that trying to get something off the internet was like trying to get pee out of a swimming pool.

Oh if Bill Hicks were alive today. His thoughts would be precious.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHEOGrkhDp0

I’m disappointed that “cool Zuck” was wearing a suit. I didn’t know he even owned a suit. What happened to the tee shirt?

    The suit? It came from, Rent A Suit 4 Nerds…

    That’s where all the rich hipster nerds go.

    Perfect for special events like…funerals, court appearances, or the occasional congressional testimony…

I see that the “It wasn’t our fault” Facebook spin is already starting.

This was nothing more than a company which noticed that Facebook was so interconnected, that it essentially had NO real security for its users. Cambridge was able to get people to allow it entry into the system by simply asking. After all, Facebook had been telling people for years that their information would only be shared with people in their group. However, what people did not realize is if Joey allowed X to access his page, this granted X membership in all the groups to which Joey belonged. And, as Joey enjoyed access to the data of all of the members of these groups, so did X. And, why should Joey worry? Hadn’t Facebook, and other social media companies, been telling people for years that everyone in social media was their friend?

The biggest selling point of Facebook was that it allowed a person intimate access to the information which another person had put into the system, just by becoming a member of that person’s network. This was what the users apparently wanted. And, this is what they got.

As it were, for conservatives, I wonder what information someone would find useful. I don’t really care if they track the stuff I read or the sites I visit or the things I purchase.

I quit using the iPhone some years back, as a phone. I never even take it with me when leaving the house. It did piss me off to find out that Nordstroms and maybe some other merchants were trying to track me around in their stores. That alienation makes it easier to go Amazon Prime.

As to the government tracking online information? Haha, how effective has the government been, with any resources? Hell, the IRS has been breached, just like banks and credit reporting agencies.

Let them choke and vomit on their data analysis. In the redux, they know nothing about any of us.

    CaptTee in reply to NotKennedy. | April 11, 2018 at 11:55 am

    And you don’t think that Amazon is tracking you and your purchases?

      done lot of packet sniffing on router and rooted galaxy s5(which is now destroyed due to falling under plow truck…don’t ask…) and LG G2 (both checked wifi on and off) and saw nothing when tracking for app turned off. saw it with app tracking turned on.
      looked at both phone logs and live monitor of phones on my wifi in no cell signal area on router (bridged to modem, using router netgear FVS336Gv3) and saw nothing when nothing expected. .
      if you have evidence/stories of amazon app tracking location/etc when feature ((yeah…nice damned feature ) is turned OFF please post so I can examine and make decisions.

        did forget to mention did NOI check purchase from amazon account (I have prime accounts) was only checking if app sent location data w/o actual app open purchase being made.

Since Zuckerberg said that each person owns his/her data, maybe Facebook should pay for the license out of his $70 billion.

It’s partly that they profit off of scraping data, but look what it has done under the guise of bringing people together. More division than ever and a bunch of millenials choosing what content is “good.”

Next we’ll have some high school kids lecturing as if they are Solomon.

    I recommend anyone wishing to hear Camera Hogg opine do so while his calendar permits.

    YellowGrifterInChief in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | April 11, 2018 at 12:04 am

    How much do the stations that carry Limbaugh pay for their licenses? Maybe he should pay a lot out of his fortune for the exclusive use of public frequencies.

    Trump is 71. Maybe he is too old to be telling us what is “good” considering that he is an ignorant man who has learned little in his long life.

    DaveGinOly in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | April 11, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Users are providing FB with the raw material from which FB makes its money. Users should be paid a royalty for FB’s use of their data. Of course, the ULA says otherwise. But progressives are all about “fair,” so why aren’t they in the forefront of such a demand? It would only be fair to give the owner/provider of personal data a cut of the money made with it.

Information.
Free to Democratic Party candidates. Barely available to Republican candidates.
Wonder why that is true? Wonder why these amazingly rich robber barons think it is so important to empower the political party that is attempting to destroy the Bill Of Rights and end capitalism?
Hmmmmm

Don’t care about them targeting me for advertising. That happens all over the internet.

Don’t care about them using my user data: Learned long ago that if you wouldn’t be comfortable seeing it plastered on the front page of the NY Times then you shouldn’t post it on FB or any other social media platform.

What pisses me off about FB is their shameless censorship of content. Since they changed their algorithm, I get nothing but cultural marxist propaganda in my feed. Haven’t seen a single thing from any source on the Right in a couple months. Zilch.

They also censor users and groups based on viewpoint. The shadow-banning is particularly insidious. You go from getting hundreds of responses to your posts to just a handful overnight, and from then on, and you don’t know why.

They are deliberately choosing which advertisers we see, which news sources we see, and which posts we see from friends and groups based entirely on political point of view.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating. If you have a Facebook account, then your every move is being tracked. In fact, a great many applications and such do the same to you. If you have a cell phone then your movement can be tracked and your cell phone can have the speaker turned on and off without your knowledge allowing people to listen in on you and your surroundings. Cell phone microphones are so sensitive that, using computer enhancements, they can hear conversations that the user of the cell phone cannot hear while standing there.
>
People who use Seri, Alexa, or a similar device must understand that this unit is on 24/7 listening to everything. They identify you by your voice print, as well as those commonly in your home, and collect information this way. Additionally they record those who come into your home and should their voice print be known via a Seri-like device in their own home, then the data collect becomes even more efficient and pervasive. Your face is collected on the many cameras around town and you can even be identified by how you walk and other ways. Your computer camera can be activated without your knowledge and used to spy upon you. The list goes on.
>
The bottom line is simple. You are continuously spied upon and the statement that whatever you write in any form on the internet being there forever and such as a fundamental truth. You are being watched and monitored in many more ways than you can imagine and giving them even more information at your own expense makes their job even easier. Don’t be naive and take simple precautions if you want to maintain some degree of anonymity while keeping some of your privacy.

    Mac45 in reply to Cleetus. | April 11, 2018 at 11:24 am

    It is actually worse than that. This intrusive spying is essentially unlimited, in today’s society.

    Not only is your smart phone tracking your location with date and time stamps, but the camera can be activated without your knowledge, as well as the microphones. And, it is all stored in the “cloud”. All of your texts and browser actions are recorded. our phone conversations are all monitored and recorded. Email, the same thing. Your ISP monitors all of your internet actions. All of your electronic payment activity is monitored and recorded. Your electricity, water and other utility usage is continually monitored by “smart” metering devices. Even the newer cars are connected and are being monitored. This includes speed, brake usage, direction of travel [if there is an installed electronic compass] and the interior cabin audio can be monitored and recorded. Smart appliances are now wired for sound and also can be used to monitor your activities. Your laptop computer camera and microphone can be used to monitor your activities remotely. CCTV records your progress through many areas, both as a pedestrian and as a motorist. If you use controlled access on your parking garage, this makes a record of when your vehicle enters and leaves. And, now some companies are chipping their employees.

    And, this information is ALL in the hands of anonymous third parties. It is truly a brave new world.

Don_in_Odessa | April 11, 2018 at 6:15 am

Deactivated my account yesterday. Not so much because of the privacy issue. Rather, because of the censoring issue of anyone with a different political position that gains a substantial following. Zukerberg is lying weasel when he testified the platform is neutral. I won’t support him or his company.

Use the Brave browser, duckduckgo for searches, and mewe.com for social networking.

    buckeyeminuteman in reply to hrh40. | April 11, 2018 at 7:48 am

    I’v ebeen using Brave for a few months now. It’s good, has some hiccups though but nothing show-stopping.

buckeyeminuteman | April 11, 2018 at 7:49 am

The photo of him on the booster seat getting grilled by Cruz and even Durbin is hilarious.

Tor Browser. DuckDuckGo. ProtonMail. Darkens me about as much as can be. Allegedly 😀 😀

Powerline just posted that they are moving off of Facebook for commenting. I went ahead and deleted my account.

Kimberlee Kaye: Cambridge Analytica was privy to the data of some 50 million Facebook users because those users gave them express consent through a third-party app.

That is false. If Dr. Alex asks for your data for academic purposes, then sells it to Steve for political purposes, that is not consent.

Facebook is basically a spying company.

I don’t even have an account but it is spying on me / has a profile on me from all of the information that others have put on the internet about me.

It ought to be heavily regulated and illegal what Facebook is doing, but I suspect Facebook to itself be acting in concert with law enforcement and/or the CIA.

Your honor, the accused did not have a facebook account, therefore we know he/she/it was up to something bad.

Sometimes trying to remain in the dark is what brings on the spotlight.

Seminal wisdom from the wayback machine.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltmMJntSfQI

Apple CEO Tim Cook said Facebook’s got it backward. Asked on MSNBC what he’d do if he were in Zuckerberg’s shoes, he said, “I wouldn’t be in this situation.” Consumers can pay for privacy, he said, and asserted that Apple makes better products because it sells them directly to consumers rather than selling users to advertisers.

So how many Facebook users would abide a paywall? I expect the answer is “Not enough!”

That would require critical thinking skills that most facebook users lack.

Facebook moderators — all the romance of the Tonton Macoute

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