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May 14, 2010

Facebook Exodus - Will you leave?

And will you take me with you?

According to Mashable, a couple of users are trying to organize a mass-deletion of Facebook accounts on May 31, due to the privacy issues that are plaguing the site since its recent privacy policy changes. They're encouraging as many people as possible to leave the site on that date, and (I would assume) never come back.

Oh no, think of the family photos that will go unexamined!

"The purpose of the site is to encourage those 'sick of Facebook’s lack of respect for your data' to quit the social networking site. Users can 'commit to quit' with their Twitter handle or name and join the others publicly pledging to do so in unison."

This is interesting given the fact that deleting Facebook accounts is a very popular Google search right now. Are people getting truly fed up with Facebook's antics? Is this the final straw?

It is for a lot of people. Danny Sullivan noticed that Facebook's growth rate seems to be slipping, which may be at least partially due to these privacy issues. Some people might not be signing up, but also enough people may be canceling their accounts to make up for any other growth that Facebook has.

What will I do? I'm definitely not canceling my account. My feelings are more along the lines of Laurent Courtines:

"Privacy issues are touchy because of humans natural self-centeredness. Folks thing "they have MY information". Yes. Yes they do but they also have many billions of peoples information! You simply aren't that important. Your INDIVIDUAL information is 1. Not that interesting, 2. Not that useful and 3. Not that relevant."

Obviously this doesn't apply to things like credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc. But the daily ins and outs of what you post on the Web? It doesn't really matter that much. I am concerned enough to adjust my Privacy settings in Facebook, but not enough that I'm going to worry about everything getting out there in the great big world.

In other words, I'm not like Robert Scobie, opening the floodgates totally.

So what do you think? I'd be interested in knowing whether you're going to join the mass exodus on the 31st.

(Thanks to Sheamus for links to the above articles, except the Mashable one)

*Edit*: If you say "Yes," I'd love to hear why in the comments.


  1. I wouldn't be able to easily stay in touch with my nursing cohort without Facebook, and it's honestly how my 20 year high school reunion is being organized for this summer (although that might be a count against it, come to think of it...).

    I'm not that worried about the privacy issues because I'd be astonished if anyone was bothering to look at my very dull profile. Maybe if I was more interesting I'd be more concerned.

  2. It'd be next to impossible to keep tabs on my family and Internet friends without it. It's more a case of having a way to give them a heads-up without the constant requirement of remembering email addys or trying to get them all in some other social site. Facebook is what it is. I don't divulge huge amounts of info on the site and do set my Privacy settings as I wish, but I don't think I had any illusions about this site when I began using it.

    I play a few little games that I can drop or play depending on my schedule. I usually update each day with an earworm (music stuck in my head that day) and occasionally something else. I've never posted anything that would come back to bite me, picture wise or word wise. I take the attitude that anywhere I write or post or upload anything online may become open knowledge to others. Anything I want to keep private stays in email or my word files or notebooks.

    Facebook doesn't have the conversational flow of a DB, and it does get cluttered and silly, but I can't see leaving right now.

  3. I'm not leaving facebook. I'm just careful to not put truly personal info up there. Who cares if they have my name and where I work? No one is that interested in me. Now my phone number? That's another story. I may be just one of millions but I don't like phone calls from people I don't want to talk to. As far as my facebook friends go, if someone needs my number, they'll ask for it. I have other ways of being in touch with these people.

    I figure as far as my status updates go, everything in my FB status is also a twitter status. And apparently I don't care about that being public knowledge. I thought it was kinda cool that all my tweets are going into the library of congress along with everyone else.

  4. I'm much the same as all three of you. It just doesn't bother me that much. Just by going around the web and visiting sites, you're leaving your marks.

    The age of total privacy is over, unfortunately. We just have to protect ourselves in other ways.

  5. For those who think that the information Facebook is collecting and distributing is "irrelevant," you might check out reporter Dave Feldman's Think Before You Freind investigation of what banks, real estate agents, landlords, and a whole slew of industries are collecting from Facebook to determine whether to accept or decline potential customers/renters/tenants/etc.

  6. I'm not leaving. I went and did all the necessary things to keep what I need/want to keep private, private. Same with my children's accounts (that I have control over).

    It is all about common sense. What you do NOT want to have put out there, don't post about it. Simple as that. Then again, who ever said that today's generation's people had any COMMON sense left?

  7. I don't have Facebook, but many of my friends have it. Speaking for them, from listening to their gripes, some are leaving and going back to Myspace and others are staying and keeping both. Most sites I know give you the option to give out personal info or not, so why the big fuss over something you have control over anyway? I'm sure I will join Facebook one day and I won't be giving out anything that I don't want anyone to see, so if it takes more work to make that happen, so be it. If that is not an option, I can see leaving the place, but I can't see a place like that not allowing an option for personal info. I have Myspace now and it's set to private. Can that not be done on Facebook? I can't imagine a place that doesn't allow a private mode. Twitter has a private mode.

  8. I totally would if a certain @sds2965 would let me. Seriously tired of facebook. Twitter is so much more fun!

    And yes, FB's privacy makes me mad.

  9. This is ridiculous! I'm not leaving. You can control your privacy settings, it's not that hard. All you have to do is set your privacy settings to "ONLY FRIENDS" & that will keep people who aren't your friends on FB from seeing anything. Myspace is garbage in my opinion. Now that is one site I gladly quit & I've never looked back!


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