Thoughts on Facebook

Many of you will have seen the open letter that China MiĆ©ville wrote to Facebook (and if not it was first posted here). Deanna has since tweeted that Facebook has finally acted to remove the fake profiles, but China shouldn’t have had to go through all of that trouble, and what hope does someone less famous and less eloquent have?

Personally I detest Facebook. Every time they make a change they manage to make your average used car salesman seem like a paragon of honesty in comparison. Their whole business philosophy appears to be based on tricking people to add things to their profiles and then making it incredibly difficult to get rid of those things. The only reason I have a presence there is that there are lots of people whose interaction with the Internet appears to be only via Facebook. If I want those people to read my blogs and tweets I have to be on Facebook.

However, some words of warning. Firstly, if you want to send me a private message, don’t use Facebook. Use email. My contact details are not hard to find. Facebook may claim that what you are writing will remain private between you and me, but at any time it could end up leaking that information (and it probably claims copyright over it as well).

In addition, if you want to respond to one of my tweets, or comment on a blog post, please be aware that I may only check Facebook once a day or less. You’ll get a much faster response on Twitter, and I’d much rather have blog comments on the blog where they belong.

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5 Responses to Thoughts on Facebook

  1. Brewster says:

    Wow. It wasn’t as though I needed any more reasons to avoid FB, but that is horrible. (And yet there are comparatively non-famous people whom FB has slapped down, apparently, under the anti-identity-theft policy because they had the temerity to ask if they could link their roller-derby name to their RL name on FB.)

    I think the only time I’ve regretted *not* having one is when people post interesting photos to FB that I can’t access, but my usual response is “*sigh* too bad” or sometimes “could you post them somewhere outside FB too?”.

  2. Sciamanna says:

    I’m only on Facebook because some of my RL friends are only online through it, and so I can get their updates. I never post myself, I read it through my Twitter client (TweetDeck), and I’ve removed all the apps I’d added at one time. And much for your same reasons.

    One of these days I’ll start a campaign to move my friends to something else… but for the moment, it seems I’m stuck with it.

  3. I loathe Facebook *passionately*…but it’s a necessary evil. I’m connected with people there who apparently don’t interact anywhere else, both friends and professionals. My company has a Facebook page. I got more than 25 birthday wishes on Facebook (I was stunned) and *none* from my friends-lists anywhere else. I’m on LJ, Dreamwidth, LinkedIn, Twitter and I have several blogs–none of them has the reach and traffic of Facebook. I’d be handicapping myself by eschewing Facebook on principle, and I can’t afford to do that.

    For many years, I’ve observed a basic Internet rule that goes back to the days of bulletin boards and email cc lists: “Don’t post or transmit anything on the Internet anywhere by any means that you wouldn’t want to see published on the front page of the New York Times tomorrow morning.” Granted, for me that covers a lot of ground, because I am, and always have been, very public and in-your-face about my causes, identities and politics. But what I put online, I consider to be “public” by default. It’s limiting, but it’s the only way to handle the privacy problems. With the Internet in general, you have to follow Mulder’s Maxim: “Trust No One.”

  4. Gary Farber says:

    “(and it probably claims copyright over it as well)”

    They don’t.

  5. Hey, there’s always Usenet!