Reasons why I deactivated my Facebook account

Two months ago I disabled my Facebook account. My friends keep asking me why and I didn’t know what to tell them.

At the time I felt like I was acting on a whim, but in hindsight I can think of a number of reasons why I might have quit:

  1. Micro-blogging was not fun any more
  2. Managing my settings and content took too much time
  3. I wanted to get to know people in person
  4. I wanted people to get to know me in person, but only if I like them
  5. I wanted to cut out people I don’t want to know more easily
  6. There’s too much passive-aggressive behavior on Facebook
  7. I had forgotten how to surf the internet for interesting content
  8. I checked Facebook far too often
  9. The novelty had completely worn off
  10. I am sick of the way I overhear “Facebook” in every conversation

Nice things about having quit Facebook:

  1. I began to phone my family rather than check their status
  2. Friends who were quiet on Facebook turned out to be chatty via e-mail
  3. It was a surprise to find out which friends made an effort to stay in touch
  4. I felt like I had a lot more peace and time to myself
  5. I visit a broader range of interesting web sites, as per my pre-Facebook days

Annoying things about having quit Facebook:

  1. People forget to invite you to events then ask why you were not at them
  2. You realize how many e-mail addresses and phone numbers you do not have
  3. Some friends just do not know how to keep in touch, so you have to give them up
  4. You’re the last to hear a lot of social news
  5. So many conversations revolve around Facebook that you often find yourself excluded
  6. You can’t spot bad photos posted online and ask your friends to remove them
  7. It’s harder to share interesting links with your friends

That’s all I have so far. Let me know if I have missed anything.

I do realize that most of my Facebook concerns are not security concerns. Asides from managing my settings and photos, my reasons for quitting Facebook are of a more social nature.  I’d also like to point out that all of the good things about having quit Facebook have far more value than the petty annoyances, even though the list is a bit shorter. The fact that I don’t have to worry about one more aspect of my internet security is an added bonus.

If I were a celebrity, perhaps I would have to make myself a placeholder account like that of Mikko Hypponen, who probably has completely different reasons for not being on Facebook than I.

Best,
Melody-Jane

CC image by momo.

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Lee Rigby

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The sad killing of British soldier Lee Rigby has been in the headlines lately after release of a report about how authorities handled the case. Publicity was boosted because the committee thinks Facebook is responsible for the killing. They think the social media giant has a clear obligation to identify and report people who plan attacks like this. Just like the fact that phone companies report everybody who are talking about terrorism and the postal service sends a copy of all fishy letters to the Scotland Yard. I’m sure you get the sarcasm. What happened is that British agencies, MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, had identified the killers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, as interesting persons before the attack. They did however fail to investigate properly and apparently made no attempts to get the suspects’ communications from Facebook. There would have been several ways for them to do that, by a direct request from the police to Facebook or by the secret intelligence connections between GCHQ and NSA. Meanwhile Facebook's internal controls had flagged the killers’ communications and automatically closed their accounts. Facebook did however never report this to the British agencies. Which gave the Brits a convenient scapegoat to focus on instead of the fact that they never asked for that data. Ok, so the Brits blame Facebook. Let’s take a closer look at some numbers and what they really are demanding. There’s about 1,6 billion users total on Facebook. 1,3 billion monthly active and about 860 million daily active users. These users share around 5 billion items and send over 10 billion messages every day. This creates a total stream of around 10 million items per hour and 173 000 per second. Quite a haystack to look for terrorists in! Facebook has some 8 300 employees. 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