US President Obama warned high-school students in Virginia September 2009 —
“Be careful about what you post on Facebook, because in the YouTube age whateaver you do will be pulled up later somewhere in your life.”
“Leave Facebook if you don’t want to be spied upon” warns the European Union in March 2015
I do have a Facebook account . . . but I do NOT and will NOT use Facebook for communication – or anything else.
Please *** NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, respond to a request from my Facebook account. (If you get a request or any communication from my Facebook account – it is clearly a scammer. Do not reply. Call me instead.)
This may seem a startling announcement from someone who has been at the leading edge of computer and information technology for decades.
I’m hardly alone.
Here’s a seriously cautionary article by Wired UK’s Editor David Rowan “Six Reasons Why I’m Not On Facebook.
I truly understand the benefits of web based Social Networks, and if you read to the end of this article I will let you know when I have found a system I can trust to genuinely protect you and me both.
I particularly want Elected officials and government employees to understand how much private information they are exposing by using Facebook, so they can adopt laws and regulations protecting our privacy.
(And NO, I do not “friend” anyone on Facebook for the reasons you will soon see . . .)
Here are the:
Top 10 Reasons I Refuse To Use Facebook
(Warning: If you viscerally “love” Facebook – you should stop reading right here) . . .
Outline – (Examples and links below this short list)
5. Systematic Privacy Violation Ratchet: Facebook regularly deliberately turns your Privacy Off with No Warning and then only retreats partially after public outroar.
6. Privacy Complexity: Facebook deliberately makes Privacy choices difficult and onerous; fiercely refuses to make it easy. Why? because —
“Its not paranoid when they are really after you.” – Martin Luther King
Serious threats of –
12. Identity Theft (OK, I threw in 7 more horrible reasons – at no extra charge.)
and probably the most obvious . . .
16. Update Feb 2013: ** Don’t Use Facebook’s “Like” Button unless you know you are signing up for unlimited subscriptions.
17. Auto-Friend ! See any new names as “Friends” with no photograph, that you don’t know and you’ve never approved?
- Facebook Constantly Lies to You.
“Facebook Keeps Telling Lies: Facebook claims it’s really truly interested in protecting your privacy. Don’t you believe it”
2. Facebook Helps Burglars Full-Time !
Facebook (and Burglars) Track you Everywhere you Go !
*** Tip: NEVER, NEVER announce or even mention your travel plans on Facebook – or you may return to a burgled home. Since a Burglar only needs 10 minutes I wouldn’t even post that you are going out for a half hour.
3. * Facebook Helps Burglars & Stalkers Find You – 24/7 Full-Time !
Did you know Facebook records your every move?
Facebook literally records wherever you are when you log in; your IP and where that IP is down to a specific city block.
That means if you EVER use a Smartphone to log into Facebook – Facebook tracks you down to a city block – Full Time – 24/7 and records it permanently !
Even Google and Firefox let you turn this off – but not Facebook.
4. * Total Privacy Violations
Facebook reads, records and permanently records everything you post – even your most private messages – and even after you have deleted your account !
This means 25 years from now your short-lived online rant (that you deleted the next day) – could be used against you by your neighbors, your ex-spouse, your employer, the FBI or even Facebook themselves to sue you — or even put you in jail.
5. Systematic Privacy Removal Ratchet:
Facebook Deliberately turns your Privacy Off with No Warning. Then when caught only retreats partway after public outroar. Your privacy is systematically chopped away piece by piece.
“One of the patterns that has emerged is that Facebook makes a set of changes and walks those back a bit after the backlash,” says Kurt Opsahl, senior staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Facebook “Rapes Your Privacy, Then Pretends It’s For Your Own Benefit.”
6.* Facebook deliberately makes Privacy choices difficult and onerous; fiercely refuses to make it easy.
To maximize your Facebook privacy (which at its best is not at all private) takes reviewing some “50 settings, more than 170 options, and a policy that’s 1,287 words longer than the United States Constitution” according to PC World.
As one person puts it, Facebook is so bad – they make Microsoft look good by comparison. Michael G suggests “Microsoft also allows me to easily designate a default level from “medium low” through “high” using a simple slider.” Its easy to do.
“Facebook keeps switching your privacy settings off, more and more, month after month without telling the users.” All of a sudden your life is opened up to your boss, your employer, your future employers and your enemies.
However, Facebook fiercely and systematically fights against giving you such control.
Why would Facebook refuse to make your life easier? Because . . .
7. * Facebook sells your private personal data — hundreds of times – and makes $Billion$ of dollars selling it !
That’s why you get specific marketing materials from places you never heard of, related to information you only put on Facebook.
How do you think Facebook achieved the astronomical $5 Billion IPO amount? http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-02-08/facebook-files-to-raise-5-billion-in-biggest-internet-ipo.html
8. * Facebook Allows Government, Criminals and Bullies to Spy on You For Free !
“Spying for free.”
In a New York Times interview Salzberg said “When you give up that data, you’re giving it up forever … The value they (Facebook) give us is negligible in the scale of what they are doing, and what we are giving up is all of our privacy.”
“Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented.” – Julian Assange, WikiLeaks
The FBI was forced to admit in Court they use Facebook (and LinkedIn, MySpace and Twitter) to see who you associate with . . .
The FBI is Watching Your Every Move on Facebook
The CIA and NSA Want You to Be Their Friend on Facebook
Considering all the innocent people the FBI has sent to jail (and the innocent civilians the CIA has murdered and assassinated) . . . I’m now convinced this is a serious concern.
Even Worse — Police, FBI or CIA can hack into your Facebook account, and pretend to be You !!!
Police (or FBI or CIA) can hack into your Facebook account, and not only get ALL of your data – but FBI agents can pretend to be You !!! – and spy on your friends ! (Are you sure that odd Facebook message is from your best friend ? . . . )
9. * Facebook Helps the CIA Censor You – Without Any Reason
Facebook reads and will censor anything you write they don’t like.
“Facebook Deletes Cindy Sheehan’s Invite to CIA Drone Protest”
Opinion: Facebook could easily fix every one of these outrages – but they refuse to.
After learning about this avalanche of serious, irreversible and potentially deadly harms (systematically with full understanding – intentionally helping Burglars and Stalkers and letting the FBI and CIA snoop on innocent people) that could be easily fixed – it becomes an inescapable conclusion to me that Facebook is evil.
And it gets worse –
10. Copyright Theft (you can’t get an account unless you agree to let Facebook them use everything you write and all your photographs – for free ! ), that includes their theft of your most Personal messages and copyrighted images.
Facebook forces you to give them rights for everything you put on the site or send using the site: your photographs and all your (potentially very) personal messages – could be used commercially by Facebook without paying you for their use. They could also be twisted or used against you in court by anyone Facebook decides to
give sell them to !
LA Times commentary “Facebook can use your pictures for ads, no permission required“
You can’t use Facebook unless you hand over your rights to your photos and your most secret thoughts. But to understand what they are taking – you have to be a lawyer. Here’s how it works:
Facebook adamantly asserts that —
“Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post.” – Facebook
What they viciously do not want you to understand is that when you sign up – “They Own it Too” ! So it doesn’t matter if you own it – because they can sell it or trade it to the FBI or NSA.
Here are their terms as of July 2013
“You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings.”
That’s fine, but then Facebooks adds this —
“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (dd: and all of your writing or accidental rants), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings:
you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable (dd: This means they can give it, or far more likely sell it to FBI, CIA or NSA or Monsanto), sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).
That means Facebook OWNs Your WORDs and YOUR PHOTOs as soon as you post them – for Free !
Then here’s their “Get Stuffed” attitude if you don’t want them to use your photos or your writing :
“… you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them . . .”
The LA Times exposed this recently “Facebook can use your pictures for ads, no permission required”
Here on my website and most other websites – you keep the copyright to everything you write – just as I do for what I write.
Next, Permanent Serious threats of –
11. Bullying Encouragement
“Facebook is a hotbed for cyberbullying”
“In March 2010, a 17 year old girl named Alexis Skye Pilkington was found dead in her room by her parents. Her parents claimed that after repeated cyber-bullying she was driven to suicide.”
12. Identity Theft
Many people have lost significant money and time repairing their reputation, financial and emotional state due to identity theft of information they put on Facebook !
13. Hacker Scams and Spams
Scams: “Don’t fall for it: Social media hacker scams”
Lots of people have been scammed by Facebook users masquerading as a friend of yours.
“Criminals and scammers on Facebook aren’t resting on their laurels”
14. Next – the most Invasive and least known violation:
Facebook puts “super- cookies” on your computer – if you happen to click to visit any Facebook page. Facebook “Like buttons” track your browsing even when you aren’t logged in. That sounds like an easy lawsuit to win for violating your Privacy Rights in California.
and finally the most Pervasive :
- Facebook is a Time Drain (Black Hole)
For more (if that isn’t enough), see —
Update Feb 2013: Don’t Use Facebook’s “Like” Button unless you know the consequences.
Solution 1: There are several new Social Network systems with real Privacy just getting off the ground. One is called Minds.com. Another is “One Social Web,” and a third “Diaspora” showed good promise, but hasn’t really caught fire – yet.
Here’s an article or two:
I hope to participate in one of these when ready at the end of the summer – AND
Solution 2: This is kind of a radical concept but — You can always reach me by this email or phone – (or in person !!! – what a concept – or in a reply note posted here. )
I do understand the benefits of a Social Network and promise I will let you know when I have found a system I can trust to genuinely protect you and me both.
with my good wishes for your safety,
Update 2017: Just found a potentially excellent Social Networking Alternative with REAL privacy, safety and security. Apparently it is even endorsed by an influential member of Anonymous. it is called “Minds.com” Do let me know if you try it out; especially if you have any privacy problems.
Update July 2011: Here’s an article describing some research showing Facebook users are overly-narcisstic and oblivious to it.
And in a related note: “The Online Disinhibition Effect”