Why I Left Facebook

On April 11 I deleted my Facebook account.

Well, I asked Facebook to delete my account. I think they have since it’s been 14 days. Of course, if I try to log in to make sure and they haven’t yet, it will reactivate my account.

We have to request to have our data deleted. This is where we are. This is the position we have allowed ourselves to be put in.

I’ve blogged about my ambivalence toward Facebook several times. But the last straw came a couple of weeks ago:

Facebook has asked several major U.S. hospitals to share anonymized data about their patients, such as illnesses and prescription info, for a proposed research project. Facebook was intending to match it up with user data it had collected, and help the hospitals figure out which patients might need special care or treatment.

There’s no justification for this, and I refuse to contribute anything to a company that pursued this program.

If you’re still using Facebook, keep this in mind; you are contributing to their success. Facebook is worth billions because they have convinced people to give them personal information, and the markets expect them to continue finding new ways to turn that information into money. Sharing data with hospitals has been put on pause, only because of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

If you followed my instructions for locking the data Facebook has on you here and here you may have noticed that Facebook is collecting a lot more than the links, photos, and statuses you share on their site. They’re not satisfied with that. They are using cookies and arrangements with other sites to track you. Every site you visit with a “like” button on it is reporting back to Facebook about you, whether you click the like button or not.

The only way to opt out is to leave.

Meanwhile, the feckless empty suits that humiliated themselves in front of Zuckerberg have made it abundantly clear that we will receive no worthwhile relief from the government. Relying on the government to help you has never been a very good strategy in the U.S, but the combination of who is in charge right now, combined with how “complicated” people think this situation is (it’s really not,) means no help is coming.

Vote with your feet.

There are people that I was only able to keep in touch with via Facebook. I’ll miss that, but I just couldn’t be a part of a system that is so obviously designed to profit off of its users and to be honest, I don’t think the jury is out anymore with regards to Facebook’s effect on society. It’s a net negative.

When it comes time to try to market my fiction, not having a Facebook account will put me at a disadvantage. So be it.

I’m still on Twitter. While Twitter’s benefit to society is at least as questionable as Facebook’s, I find it pretty easy to use lists to find interesting people to follow while avoiding trolls. And why they display ads, they are much less ambitious when it comes to spying on their users.

Reach out for me there.

 

So Where Have I Been?

That’s rhetorical; I’m not really asking you.

Often when I am not writing it is because I am stuck in the Port Authority Bus Terminal. You can click to get a better look. But why?

This blog went silent for quite a while. While I wasn’t writing here, I was writing. I took back-to-back 10-week writing courses (with mixed results,) and I also wrote a bunch of programming blog posts.

Last year I signed up for a work-for-hire spot writing for a Java Programming Blog called Baeldung. It’s one of the better-known blogs in the field. It was tough going for a while, but I managed to get to the point where I am now receiving a byline for my posts. It was hard enough to get to that point (there are another 10 or so posts that I didn’t get a byline for) that I don’t feel bad humble-bragging about it.

After getting to that point with Baeldung I signed up for a writing position with Hit Subscribe, an organization that produces content for a variety of technical blogs. I just finished my second post with them, and am starting on the third.

It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy it, and if I am going to semi-retire into writing, technical writing will pay some bills.

Now I need to work the fiction back into my schedule. Wish me luck!

 

 

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