JCL Blog

Facebook's Intention: My Reaction

I suppose this is a time to use the tired old metaphor about boiling the frog.  Since at the present we find ourselves at maybe 100 F it seems alarmist to say we will soon be too cooked to escape.

I don't mind if Facebook knows what news articles I read, what blogs I frequent, what I look up on Wikipedia, what I search for, what profile information I publish on Linked-In or other similar services.

I am not sure if I want Facebook to know what books I buy, what movies I rent, or who I donate money to.  I am fairly open about who I vote for and have a kind of blind faith that we learned our lesson about black lists from Joe McCarthy - so I guess my political and religious affiliations are fair game.

I don't want Facebook to know what documents I am working on or who I am working on them with. I don't want Facebook to know where I have my checking account, what credit card company I use, where I will be flying to and when, what prescriptions I buy, or what I am buying my wife for her birthday. I don't want Facebook to know what stocks I own, what legal contracts I am party to, or what I have put in my will.

Facebook has made it clear that it's intention is to own all of my identity data, so I have to conclude that even if I can figure out how to protect some of it from Facebook now - eventually Facebook will get it.  When I went to check out http://www.docs.com today, I was presented with this:

I was not logged into Facebook at the time and had never been to the site before -- but there was my Facebook picture staring right at me.

I have no idea how each of my friends would construct their lists.  I fear that if any one of the people in my friend network is not paying attention to privacy settings, we all could find ourselves fully cataloged in the Facebook database.  At that point the frog would be fully boiled.

So for these reasons I am opting out.  I am going to keep my Facebook account and I will accept friend requests, but I will not extend friend requests, or post any information to Facebook.  I am going to log into Facebook about once per week to accept friend requests only.

Why not just close down the account all together? I got into Facebook when it took more energy to explain why I was not there than it would to join in.  Going forward I think this will persist, so instead of having to explain why I am not on Facebook, I choose to have this limited exposure.