aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Facebook: breaking the lifetime contract
The NYTimes has an article tomorrow noting that “users have discovered that it is nearly impossible to remove themselves entirely from Facebook, setting off a fresh round of concern over the popular social network’s use of personal data.” For the occasion, I repost quitting Facebook the evil way.
Free Infidel walks us through quitting Facebook the evil way:
Many of us, who value our privacy, think this is disgraceful and arrogant. Facebook seems to think it owns us. But why worry? Just make sure all the information they have about you is false. [...]
First, a little more about this business of deactivating an account. If you choose this option, Facebook tells you that you can reactivate at any time simply by logging back in. There is no simple option to have them erase all your details from their databases permanently. Steven Mansour, in his post 2504 Steps to closing your Facebook account, did seem to get them to do this, though it took a lot of effort and meant emailing Facebook directly. But note how Facebook’s final message simply said “We have processed your request” without actually saying - unambiguously and in writing - that the account and all the information that once resided in it had been fully erased. And how would you check?
And so he says we should spend about six months gradually changing our links, our friends, our politics, and our profile. We should also install apps we find annoying and write nonsense on our walls. Finally, change our name:
This is a little trickier as Facebook insists on â€˜verifying’ the change. Or so it says. I requested a change of name to something that is, frankly, rather unlikely. A couple of days later, the change was made with no further enquiry from Facebook. So far, only one of my friends has noticed that I’ve changed my name and moved to another continent. That said, searching Facebook for my real name still turns up my profile, albeit with the new name. So the account is obviously associated with both names.
Even after all that, your original information may not be gone forever. “Even though you’ve replaced it, it may be somewhere in Facebook’s databases.”
But what if they catch you? Jack, in comments:
I did exactly what you suggested here in September. I tried filling my Facebook account with meaningless and false data, because I knew there was no way to delete the account.
Sadly (and evil) here is what Facebook did. They “deactivated"Â� my account, because they said that I added people who I did not really know.
I wrote to them to ask them to please reactivate the account, but they said no. My reply after that never got another response from them. [...]
Long story short… all my personal real data is still in Facebook… and they refuse to erase or delete it.
“shouldn’t you also be tainting your Yahoo, Myspace, Orkut, Flickr, Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, Upcoming, Dopplr, Blogger, etc etc accounts as well?”
And Arik comes closest to what would be my chosen Facebook solution:
You want a facebook account. You want some true but random noise around you. You don’t want to disappear or be fake, because everyone else has that same amount of noise about them. Since anonymity is no longer an option, you want to be part of the noise and be as similar to others as you can, never sticking out.
LATER: Facebook explains it’s easier than you think.
Shuster & TV News as an endangered species
What I found interesting from the defenders of Shuster was their reasoning. Take, for example, James Joyner. A thinking man’s conservative if ever there was one, he says he’s no fan of Shuster, “but these remarks aren’t worthy of tut-tutting, let alone firing.”
He goes on to defend them thusly:
These channels are on 24/7/365, trotting about people to fill the time with what amounts to idle speculation. It’s only natural that they’re going to say some really stupid things or even phrase some smart observations in inappropriate ways. That’s even more likely when there are three of them competing for a rather limited set of eyeballs. Rather than go Walter Cronkite on us, they’re trying to be hip and fresh with yahoos like Shuster.
As it happens, Broadcasting and Cable has an editorial this week noting the “poignant timing” of the expansion of the newly constructed Newseum in Washington, DC. to make television and radio news a dominant feature:
The need for this museum has never been greater. The freefall of many newspapers is largely because of the rise of the Internet. But it’s also because, for several decades, even before the Internet, newspaper owners did little or nothing to stimulate new readership and with some truculent disdain toward their readers, resisted change that would have reflected the new patterns of American life.
The next endangered species may be television newscasts, which have some of the same problems. If newspapers are too slow, the network newscasts are in trouble because they’re on when viewers can’t reach them. Most network magazine shows, and morning newscasts, are now more like People than Newsweek or Time. Many local newscasts are in trouble because their cookie-cutter Action Eyewitness Newscenter formats are parodies of news, not purveyors of it. Alas, cable news, on its worst days, is just a dogfight between “celebrity” ideological egotists.
Our provocation is intentional. Journalists wondering why people are seeking alternative sources for news might do well to visit the Newseum to be reminded that it’s the news profession they are in, not showbiz, and they have a crucial role to play in the day-to-day life of this country. They have a job to do. If they practice their craft with imagination and tenacity, the business will take care of itself.
Via Cory Bergman at Lost Remote who says of the B&C piece, “it mirrors much of what we’ve been writing… Well said.”
The exquisitely subversive Race Card
Harvard’s Orlando Patterson reviews Richard Thompson Ford’s The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse in today’s NYTimes Book Review:
To left-leaning readers and victims of genuine racism, Ford’s relentless evenhandedness and cost-benefit balancing act may seem at times to skirt the edges of conservative reaction. But a patient reading of this astute and closely reasoned work reveals an exquisitely subversive mind. Ford is adept at stealing the best-defended intellectual bases of the right on behalf of a pragmatic, antiracist liberalism unflaggingly committed to the increasingly scorned goal of integration - and to relief for the truly disadvantaged, who suffer the persisting injuries of past racism in the absence of those who engendered their plight and, perplexingly, in the presence of growing racial tolerance.