SuttaCentral

Facebook is bad and you should delete your account


#1

Note I have edited this to add some extra content.

Following my previous exposé, in which I fearlessly aggregated a few links that confirmed my own bias, here is another installment in the groundbreaking series, “Facebook is Bad”. If you already think Facebook is bad, get ready to feel smug all over again!

Former Facebook & Google execs say FB is a ‘living, breathing crime scene’.

Apple CEO Tim Cook says: “I don’t have a kid, but I have a nephew that I put some boundaries on. There are some things that I won’t allow; I don’t want them on a social network.”

In this he was following the example of Steve Jobs, who wouldn’t let his kids use an iPad.

And a major article shows how the bosses of Big Social don’t use their own platforms, at least not like you or me:

Facebook’s locked-down nature means mere mortals can’t see the private posts on Zuckerberg’s timeline, but it is hard to imagine him getting into arguments about a racist relative’s post of an anti-immigration meme. And it is not just Zuckerberg. None of the company’s key executives has a “normal” Facebook presence. You can’t add them as friends, they rarely post publicly and they keep private some information that the platform suggests be made public by default, such as the number of friends they have.

And a large study of corporate surveillance.

This report finds that the networks of online platforms, advertising technology providers, data brokers, and other businesses can now monitor, recognize, and analyze individuals in many life situations. Information about individuals’ personal characteristics and behaviors is linked, combined, and utilized across companies, databases, platforms, devices, and services in real-time. With the actors guided only by economic goals, a data environment has emerged in which individuals are constantly surveyed and evaluated, categorized and grouped, rated and ranked, numbered and quantified, included or excluded, and, as a result, treated differently.

Several key developments in recent years have rapidly introduced unprecedented new qualities to ubiquitous corporate surveillance. These include the rise of social media and networked devices, the real-time tracking and linking of behavioral data streams, the merging of online and offline data, and the consolidation of marketing and risk management data. Pervasive digital tracking and profiling, in combination with personalization and testing, are not only used to monitor, but also to systematically influence people’s behavior. When companies use data about everyday life situations to make both trivial and consequential automated decisions about people, this may lead to discrimination, and reinforce or even worsen existing inequalities.


Should we promote Sutta Central project to Western Buddhist temples?
#2

I think creating a monster and fight against is a Westerners past time.
I can name hundreds of them.
Nuclear energy, automobile, mas consumerism, Saddam Hussain name a few.
Facebook is only the tip of the ice burg.
Just wait until artificial intelegence, robotics, and genetic engineering start its momentum.
We will not have a place to hide.
We will not have a forest, empty house or a foot of a tree.


#3

I say keep your account … and use it only in a limited fashion … as way for others to find you. Are you serious about completely deleting accounts? It makes more sense to me to use it as a informed and mindful consumer.

caveat emptor — let the user be mindful.:medal_military:

Once I saw that Facebook (FB) got the intellectual property rights to everything I posted I thought “well that is not going to happen”. It’s sort of the opposite of publishing under a creative commons license or making it public domain.
(Who has the intellectual property rights to content on this website??)

So a few family and group photos go there and that’s about it for me.
They have that nice service where you can put names on every face in a photo … except I know they can commercialize that information too.

It’s nice that I can find people I’ve fallen out of touch with on FB. I send them a private message and get their phone number or email address. Yes, and maybe FB ‘hoovers’ up that information too!


#4

Do you think email is safer than facebook?
I know someone can track even what I am typing here.


#5

You can use Proton Mail. It’s encrypted and works well. The only problem is that you can’t search your emails.


#6

This is covered in our Terms of Service (which are adopted from the standard Discourse ToS):

User contributions are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/deed.en_US


#7

I hate to sound jaded about it all, but yes, it’s obvious to all social media users by now that the platforms track what you are doing and then use it to target you with ads and shove content in your face, based on your identified preferences. It’s kind of like meeting your friends for coffee in a big shopping center. You’re there to have a chat with a few people, but there is a gauntlet of noisy and somewhat irritating commerce and such going on at the same time, and you have to walk through it, hold your nose and block your ears a bit to talk with your friends. But on Facebook there are the cute animal videos too. That’s a plus.

And I have no doubt that as a large and rich corporation, Facebook doesn’t care about me, and is in it for the money. That’s America and it’s corporacratic, commerce-laden culture. It’s true of Starbucks too, I guess, but I get coffee there sometimes. It’s true of all of them.

Other people probably tracking everything happening online? The US government and probably several other governments with similar capabilities. I laugh thinking that, given the sheer number of people they have in China to do this kind of work, there is probably some Chinese government cyberspy who is tasked with watching just my neighborhood. Somebody is probably recording and storing everything we write here too. That’s life in 2018.

I recently taught for a semester at a local college, something I hadn’t done in over a decade. When you come into the classroom a few minutes before class starts? Every student is fully absorbed in their cell phone, checking in on their various social network sites and text messages - and I mean every student.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg in crazy America these days. Our president is a popular reality TV show character, who is apparently addicted to television and social media himself - along with other many hedonistic gratifications - and was rewarded for his heroically enormous grasping and craving efforts with the job of pretending to be president, while who knows who is actually running our executive branch and military. (Sorry world .)

So, yes, samsara is a bitch. But fortunately there is work and alone time with books and silence, and meditation, and sporadic meatspace interactions with close family friends and strangers where you can work on being nice. But, you know, and as the Buddha knew, all of those things have their drawbacks too.


#8

For me, yes. But I don’t use gmail or other “free” email services. I own the domain name and pay for hosting email and my own webpage. That costs me a bit over a $100 a year.

When away from home I have a VPN service which encrypts everything and hides my IP address when on the web.


I know someone can track even what I am typing here.

That is what “end-to-end encryption” is for. Every word is encrypted before it leaves your computer.

I’ve talked with business partners and family about setting up encrypted emails but so far no one has wanted to do it. Not too hard to set up if you have email client software installed on your computer. Then you have to securely share passwords with each other in order to get started.

There are also low cost (even free) highly secure email services such as https://protonmail.com/ The project grew out of work started at CERN.

We are scientists, engineers, and developers drawn together by a shared vision of protecting civil liberties online. This is why we created ProtonMail, an easy to use secure email service with built-in end-to-end encryption and state of the art security features. Our goal is to build an internet that respects privacy and is secure against cyberattacks.

We are committed to developing and widely distributing the tools necessary to protect your data online. Our team combines deep mathematical and technical knowledge from the world’s top research institutions with expertise in building easy to use user interfaces. Together, we are building the encrypted communication technologies of the future.


#9

With respect to the creators and hosts of suttacentral.net and perhaps the logic behind the decision, I don’t like it at all that suttacentral doesn’t respect my right to licence what I write here.

So there is some reason to advise that everyone delete our suttacentral accounts too!
Is there some flaw in my reasoning here?


:sunglasses: But to the sighs and cries of disappoint after a momentary hope rose up in a few hearts … I’m going to stick around here too.


#10

Having separate licences for every poster would be a legal nightmare. If you don’t like it, sorry, but you shouldn’t post.

Having said which, is there anything wrong with the current licence?


#11

As I said, I sense there is some reasonable thinking behind the decision.
But the thought occurs to me that it “ought to be” legally feasible to reserve all rights to the poster. That is, every poster retains all intellectual property rights and copyright to all content created by them to the full extent of applicable law.

Also I’m not certain that it would be a legal nightmare to allow each poster to choose from a list of protections when they sign up. The main issues I see are programming requirements. Unless the site owners have some special plans for the content the legal aspect shouldn’t be a problem.

I could even see an option to automatically delete all my content after x years.

Your IP law mileage and understanding may vary …


#12

Oh, and no worries about all that data, because they can make it all go “poof” whenever they want.


#13

I guess so. It becomes a nightmare though, if anything moves or changes, or if the poster says, delete this and that, and so on. I mean, if someone wants something deleted and they can’t do it themselves, we’ll try to help, but we don’t want to risk being in a legal situation where we are liable if we don’t delete it.

But if there’s some substantive content involved, like a book or essay over which you want to retain a different licence, one option would be to publish it somewhere else and just link here.


#14

Facebook is a benign pastime when compared with the horror of what’s going on in the world. The beheadings, murders, rapes, assasinations and the ocean of blood in which we seem to be drowning is incomprehensible sometimes. Gang wars in which children are mutilated and their hearts ripped out, wars in which infants are chopped up, cooked and served to mothers on a plate…this is the world which surrounds us. While Facebook may make people unwitting cogs in corporate surveillance, an online account is hardly a terrible thing when we have to deal with the prospect of genital cancer or inhumane violence lurking just around the corner.


#15

So very reassuring. And it’ll only get worse as the good staff are leaving:


#16

#17

From that page:

That wasn’t what I did, at all…

I have never used Facebook in my life, and I used to think that social media is bad. But, every day, when I read and watch the horror that’s happening in the world, I get more and more confused as to how on earth all this could even be happening in the first place.

I wasn’t trying to discredit you, or charge you with hypocrisy - I agreed with Sarath and wanted to share something, that’s all. Sorry if you took it personally.


#18

Maybe if the really smart people leave they won’t be as good at spying, which might be a relief.

There are some inklings that Zuckerberg might run for President in 2020. It will be interesting if a man who runs a network that connects a third of the world’s people, and is in a position, in principle, to determine by executive fiat what political propaganda on that network is or is not True News or Fake News, decides to make use of that power.


#19

No, my mistake, I misunderstood the fallacy, I apologize. I wasn’t meaning to imply that you had accused me of hypocrisy, merely that the existence of other problems does not negate the importance of this one.

But the important thing is that this problem is not divorced from all the others you mention.

Sure, is using FB too much as bad as murder and so on? Obviously not.

But what we have witnessed is a world where the systematic abuse and manipulation of FB (and other platforms, FB is just the biggest) is used in a way that intentionally or unintentionally makes a lot of serious problems much worse. It can tip elections

spark riots


provoke murderous mobs

spread harmful conspiracy theories about health,

and all kinds of other things that are genuinely horrifying. And the underlying problem is that the people responsible just wash their hands.

Like “Get Smart” but owning all the world’s information? Again, I am finding it difficult to be reassured.


#21

And you know that they’re still tracking you everywhere, right? Even when you switch it off?