The unsocial network

One fine day, I realized that Facebook is an interesting phenomenon in the world of internet. I wanted to publicize my blog on Facebook and the response I got was pretty overwhelming. Infact, it is an interesting research topic on how Facebook manages to keep both the business oriented and interaction oriented people locked in. Things were pretty normal and I was blissfully enjoying my ignorance, until one fine day I read the Facebook privacy policy.

It was shocking to read that we aren’t the customers of Facebook. Facebook, or for that sake, any ogranization is not alllowed to reveal one customer’s information to the other, without their mutual consent. But Facebook does sell our private data. That’s their business model! You might be shocked to read that we are the products of Facebook! We pay nothing to Facebook, nor do we owe anyting to them.

The customers of Facebook are the advertisers to whom they sell our personal information which we update in our profiles, by tracking our relationships, our messages, our searches and queries, our groups, events, applications and by transmitting information through various channels we update, post or comment upon! Where are we leading to?

The business of Facebook has grown, while the default amount of privacy Facebook offers has practically trickled down to zero. When the site first started, very few people could join, and nothing became public, even to the owners of Facebook, without the users’ permission. Now everyone can join and everything is public to almost all of them unless we make a determined effort to hide it.

In Facebook, it is very easy to “deactivate” your account, but it’s also almost meaningless. Nothing is deleted by deactivation. If you return a year later, your account is still there, with the same password, the same friends and all the same data. Facebook never deletes any of your data. Once on Facebook, your face is booked for ever.

Facebook controls our data, and our privacy, but brutal as it may sound, the damage is not limited only to Facebook users. This is because so many sites use Facebook’s user-tracking “Like” button. Facebook is able to collect information about people who aren’t even its users. Do you know, Facebook can even remove us the day it decides to. Afterall we owe nothing to Facebook.

Well, we are the products of Facebook! How can we save ourselves from being sold like this? Those of you have the mettle to stop using Facebook can do it right away. For commoners like us, the best way out is to stop updating our intimate personal information on Facebook.

Do not let any of your passwords hover openly in the moronic applications and games Facebook offers. Use Facebook and mean only business. Update your blog posts or links to other interesting articles. Serve a social cause or stay in ‘hi-hello touch’ with friends. If you have to share something personal with a friend, give him a call. After-all he is your friend.

All said and done, the fundamental problem still remains. Ever since man realized of his existance, man has tried to dominate one thing or the other. In the medivial era man’s greed hovered around domination of land. During industrial revolution mindless imperialism emerged. Now is the era when economies rise and fall on the basis of information they possess. In the information age we have greedy institutions like Facebook, who can go to any extent to fill their coffers by selling our personal information. After-all we are nothing but their products.


One response to “The unsocial network

  1. Pingback: The Diaspora* revolution! | Sourav Roy

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