There is no longer a LIKE button on my blog because I no longer have a Facebook account. While I, too, am in the “I have nothing to hide” club, I still object to someone pushing into my private business and making free with it.
These days, the easiest way to get yourself written off as a nut case is to say the word “conspiracy.” If I may point it out, this is extremely convenient for those actually engaging in conspiracy. “Poof. Just another conspiracy theory. Ho-hum. (Yawn.)” And the whistle-blower is history. The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of conspiracies out there. Big ones. Little ones. Medium sized ones. That’s because people have been engaging in conspiracy since before Og got his buddies to help him take over the cave leadership from Nog.
In spite of acknowleging this human tendency, I am not given to indulging in conspiracy theories. In fact, my usual response is the one I have been well-trained to by quietly chuckling conspirators – I point and laugh (so rude). But when I read an article called “Get Your Loved Ones Off FaceBook,” I realized it was time to do something NOW or wish later that I had. After all, if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, and even lays duck eggs, oh dear… what could it be?
You could read this well-written, extremely well-sourced article and leave it at that, or you could verify what it says. The author gives you a lot of help with researching the truth of his statements. At the bottom of the article you will find an impressive list of 51 links documenting his statements, from heavy-hitters like Forbes, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Huffington Post, The Guardian, etc.
A short list of some of the FB practices that alarmed me includes (and I quote from the article):
- They have and continue to create false endorsements for products from you to your friends – and they never reveal this to you.
- When you see a like button on the web, Facebook is tracking that you’re reading that page. It scans the keywords on that page and associates them to you. It knows how much time you spend on different sites and topics.
- They read your private messages and the contents of the links you send privately.
- They’ve introduced features that turn your phone’s mic on — based on their track-record changing privacy settings, audio surveillance is likely to start happening without your knowledge.
- They can use face recognition to track your location through pictures , even those that aren’t on Facebook. (Pictures taken with mobile phones have time, date and GPS data built into them.)
- They’ve used snitching campaigns to trick people’s friends into revealing information about them that they chose to keep private.
- They use the vast amount of data they have on you, from your likes, things you read, things you type but don’t post, to make highly accurate models about who you are — even if you make it a point of keeping these things secret. There are statistical techniques, which have been used in marketing for decades, that find correlating patterns between someone’s behaviour and their attributes. Even if you never posted anything, they can easily work out your age, gender, sexual orientation and political views. When you post, they work out much more. Then they reveal it to banks, insurance companies, governments, and of course, advertisers. (Editorial emphasis.)
Let’s add to that: they capture your entire email list without your permission, saving everything you type on FB even if you change your mind and don’t publish it, selectively making your page available to people of their choosing, not yours, and a whole laundry list of other sins. ALL WITHOUT YOUR PERMISSION.
I know FB is guilty of doing at least some of this from personal experience. I let a friend log in to check their FB account on my machine and the next thing I knew I had all sorts of strange logins appearing in unauthorized places – my granddaughter, for instance, who lives in Canada and has never been anywhere near my machine, was subsequently and suddenly listed as a login on several of my accounts. I know for a fact my friend had nothing directly to do with that.
And then I read the article. Banks, insurance companies, and Big Brothers of all sizes? Are getting tidy reports about me, what I do, who my friends are, where I go, what I think? My timid, trembly little mind quivers at the thought of what Mark Zuckerberg may have in store for me. And YOU.
THAT is why there is now no Like button on this website.
One of my readers asked about it, and even though I had told him why the button was gone, he pleaded with me to put one on. After digging around in WordPress and on the net, I realized the “Like” button is exclusive to Facebook. And very likely copyrighted and trademarked, so if I tried to make my own… not a pretty thought.
HOWEVER… if you check the bottom of this post, just above where you can put in a comment, you’ll see that I have changed the wording on my social shares. It is now more obvious and says, “Like this? Share your love:” and you can click at least one of the social accounts that I DO maintain. Giving me a Plus 1 on Google Plus would be my option of choice, running neck and neck with a Twitter share. LinkedIn is available too.
Why Google Plus? I have learned to really like Google. Did you know their motto is “Don’t be evil” ? My son (a developer) tells me he has had personal dealings with some of the engineers there, and although these folk are beyond brilliant, he says they are surprisingly humble and have never talked down to him or shown any other sign of arrogance. To me, that type of behavior speaks very well of character. I have also noticed in the Google apps I use that they don’t try to second guess the <stupid> user the way Microsoft does. This is something else that makes me appreciate them. And the fact that Google is actually PROTECTIVE of my privacy instead of pre-empting it the way FaceBook has done, earns them a great big LOVE button from me.
So if you like this post, give me a Plus 1, OK?