Fewer photos to Facebook

Because of how they get their money, it seems to me that Facebook has a business model that is fundamentally opposed to the interests of its users. Since they don’t pay monthly fees, they aren’t Facebook’s customers. Instead, they are Facebook’s product, which is then sold to advertisers in the form of eyeballs and (more worrisomely) databases of personal information.

Because of that, Facebook is never going to be proactively involved in protecting privacy. Instead, it will always be pushing the boundary and doing as much as users are willing to accept. Bit by bit – visibly and invisibly – it seems that privacy protections will be eaten away and more and more data will be available to Facebook’s real clients, the advertisers.

In response to this, I have been gradually stripping down my profile. That’s not all that possible, however. For one thing, Facebook never forgets information you entered, even if you delete it. For another, it can guess all sorts of things about you based on your friends. It can guess what sort of products you are likely to buy, or even if you are gay.

Some people may not be bothered by this, but I am. As such, I am going to shift away from posting photography on Facebook. Instead, I will mostly rely on Flickr Pro, which is a paid and user-focused service.

[Update: 6:39pm] Fear not, photo appreciators! There will still be photos uploaded, and they are likely to be in smaller batches of higher quality work. These are from today: Rideau Canal Skating 2011.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

8 thoughts on “Fewer photos to Facebook”

  1. “Every few weeks, it seems, Facebook is caught again violating users’ privacy. A code error there, rogue business partners there. The truth, as InfoWorld’s Bill Snyder explains, is that Facebook will keep on violating your privacy, no matter what its policies say, what promises it makes, or how shocked it claims to be at the latest incident. The reason is simple: Selling personal information on its users is how it makes money, and Facebook is above all a business.”

  2. Yes, I came to a similar conclusion a couple of months ago and have also stripped most info from my profile (though I know FB still have it in their systems) and all my photos apart from current profile picture. I now mainly use FB to contact some people who no longer use email (while occasionally trying to convince them to get off FB) and as another place for my blog feed to publish, since I know many of my readers access it that way.

  3. Byron,

    Those are also the reasons why I am not abandoning Facebook. I want friends to be able to get my phone number and email address easily, even if they don’t keep a detailed address book personally. I also want to publicize blog content, climate change advocacy, and photography.

  4. Regarding Diaspora, I think it could be promising, but there is a big chance it will end up very difficult and finicky to use, like desktop Linux.

  5. “How does a unknown dating site, with the absurd intention of destroying Facebook, launch with 250,000 member profiles on the first day? Simple. You scrape data from Facebook. At least, that’s the approach taken by two provocateurs who launched Lovely-Faces.com this week, with profiles — names, locations and photos — scraped from publicly accessible Facebook pages. The site categorizes these unwitting volunteers into personality types, using a facial recognition algorithm, so you can search for someone in your general area who is ‘easy going,’ ‘smug’ or ‘sly.’ … [The creators] say they will take down a user’s profile if a person asks, and the site doesn’t have any indication they are actually trying to make any money. Instead, it’s part of a series of prank sites, the first two of which aimed at Google and Amazon, intended to make people think more about data in the age of internet behemoths. Moreover, it’s a bit funny hearing Facebook complain about scraping of personal data that is quasi-public.”

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