Technophile

There’s no point deleting your Facebook account

Mala Bharghava | Updated on: Mar 21, 2018
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It’s a world where fake is the new currrency and trust is the new deficit

So this is what Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘more open and connected world’ is like? It’s a world where a project from a college kid managed to change human society into a massive marketplace where each unsuspecting user is a product to be sold and re-sold millions of times. It’s a great big warehouse in the sky from which we, in bits of data, can be harvested, hounded, manipulated, and treated like ‘dumb***s’. It’s a world where fake is the new currrency and trust is the new deficit.

All that has been created while mouthing soppy platitudes about a better world, in which everyone loves everyone. All that while rubbing shoulders with the world’s heads of States and most influential people.

But social networks are a natural consequence of the internet, of being online. If it hadn’t been Facebook, it would have been any of the lesser networks — for network we must, because now we can whereas once it wasn’t even a pipedream.

While most are outraged at the scandalous Facebook-Cambridge Analytics harvesting of data from millions of users, there are still some wondering what the fuss is about and why they’re being encouraged to leave Facebook. “So? We said goodbye to our privacy long ago,” said one poster on Twitter. “If I delete my Facebook will it stop me from getting marketing calls?” asked another. There’s been a proliferation of quick how-to articles with guidance on deleting Facebook accounts — logically located in Settings and very easy to find anyway. Deleting the platform will save you from having to shower instant praise on pouting selfies and drooling over baby photos, but you’ll also be left out of what’s happening with friends and family that you’re not in touch with all the time but care about nonetheless.

It really is a more open and connected world but one where the trade-off is every morsel of information about you, every emotion you ever expressed — knowingly or unknowingly — and every memory, every place you visited, and every moment you celebrated or lamented. That’s a lot to give over to a company and all its brokers and advertisers. It certainly is too late to regain our privacy as every other company and piece of tech we use goes ahead to harvest us just the same. Every app you use today or anywhere you shop believes it has the right to your data. Heck, every shop you walk into asks for you phone number for ‘billing purposes’ like it’s a government mandate. The sales clerk will even look at you oddly for refusing, making it seem like there’s something very wrong with you for withholding your number.

Anyway. get into the Settings on your Facebook account, click into Account settings and Apps. Yes, it’s a maze. Now have a look at the number of external sources you have connected to your data including, of course, all that Farmville and Candy Crush you spent hours on, all the apps you didn’t create an account for and just logged in with Facebook, and every page you ever ‘Liked’. Work on this nightmarish list and other privacy settings to minimise future damage.

But as far as I am concerned, there is now little or no point deleting your account. The recent events with Facebook, their role in shaping the elections of a nation, their brokering of data, and their role in fake news has shown that the phenomenon is more than individual and has sweeping impacts on society. If it’s not Facebook, it’s some of the other tech giants we know so well.

Published on March 22, 2018

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