Why I’ve deleted my Facebook account

I just deleted my Facebook account. I do not wish to do business with these people.

Facebook simply doesn’t understand that their way of doing business is unacceptable. Given the repeated public statements by their founder Mark Zuckerberg, who’s on some personal mission to make the world “more open” — whatever the hell that means — that’s unlikely to change. Fuck him.

I’ve already outlined some of Facebook’s privacy problems a fortnight ago on the Patch Monday podcast, and for ABC Unleashed in Is it time to close your Facebook account?

The core problem is that the very idea of Facebook privacy is a contradiction.

As users, we want to limit the information we disclose about ourselves, to control who sees what. As Mark Pesce writes, this control goes to the heart of trust and personal safety. In theory Facebook agrees. “You should have control over what you share,” says its privacy guide.

Yet Facebook’s business model is best served by exposing your personal information as widely as possible. To advertisers, so they can target advertising more accurately and pay more for the privilege. To other users, to encourage them to share more as well. To search engines, to bring more traffic to Facebook. To anyone who wants to pay.

Throughout its six-year history, as this infographic shows, every time Facebook changes its privacy controls, the default settings always reduce your privacy.

If Facebook were serious about protecting its users privacy, it’d look very different indeed. And if they respected their users as people, they’d respect their clearly-indicated decision to delete their account — not deliberately make the deletion process hard to find and instead steer them through some half-arsed deactivation process while hitting them with emotional blackmail about how random friends will miss me.

No, Facebook, if I delete my account everyone will still be able to contact me. Any time they like. Don’t lie to me.

Jason Langenauer has posted his thoughts on leaving Facebook too. Renai LeMay documents five more reasons. They’re both good articles, but they over-think it. It’s all much simpler than that.

Facebook behaves like an arsehole, and I don’t do business with arseholes.