Many publications have been pushing people to delete their Facebook Accounts, Leo Laporte has deleted his account (for how long we don’t know) but should you delete your Facebook account?
Yes, let’s start off by saying Leo Laporte self pro-claimed Tech Guru and and Google Promoter has deleted his Facebook account after the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, many others are telling people to delete their Facebook accounts but let’s put things into perspective.
I personally think everyone should delete their Facebook accounts and avoid where possible Google Products and Services, let’s get that clear from the start, not because of this latest fiasco but because of the abuse of data collection and the level of data collection that they both carry out. Let’s face it, if you are not paying for a service you are the not the User, you are the USED.
What did Cambridge Analytica do and was it done before?
Essentially Cambridge Analytica had people go to a website, had them sign in using their facebook account and then using the permissions approved by those signing in to scrape any publicly available data including posts and personal location data. Nothing that was set to private and no private posts. They then analyzed this data to provide advertising prompts.
What did it do? It simply provided the information that allowed better tailoring of advertising. The actual advertising merely reflected what those users that had signed in and allowed access to their data were already thinking. The statement emboldened is for reference, because the 50 million or so users approved access to the data that was taken.
This is not the first time this has happened though. If you read the news a leading member of the Barack Obama 2012 presidential campaign boasts that their own campaign did the same thing, the only difference was that it was done in house.
The Obama campaign had people sign in using their Facebook Log-in which then required them to approve access. They then pulled ALL DATA because at that time all data could be accessed even if it was private including very personal and private information no available after it was discovered. So four years earlier the Obama campaign did the same thing. In fact Mark Zuckerberg visited Barack Obama and allegedly according to the campaign staffer “to tell him not to do it again and to find out how they did it so they could block it happening again“.
In fact this was in the public domain, Barack Obama himself boasted of how they collected data, cross referenced it and tailored advertising to fit the feelings of those that had signed in.
Does that sound similar to the current controversy? Yes.
Why are people angry this time round then?
The only reason that I can find is that they are mad as hell because Facebook claimed that this would never be possible. The other reason is that all those telling people to delete their facebook accounts are very left leaning Bloggers and People (Journalists are not what I would call them, they don’t investigate they don’t verify they just do what I’m doing and sit and write it down, they just think a Journalism degree makes them special though I think the special they are is in the handicap sense of special).
I seriously think the anger is purely based on politics. The only bad thing is that the CEO of Cambridge Analytica chose to boast about how well they had done and like any CEO they would happily claim that it won them the election. After all Barack Obama actually claimed that it was this insider analytics they did in 2012 that essentially allowed them to put out the messages that won him a second term.
So should I delete my Facebook account based on this controversy?
If your decision is based purely on this controversy like Leo Laporte and his fellow faux-intellectual Faux Tech savvy people then the answer is NO!
In both cases the only people that had their data pulled were people that signed and approved the use of the data. In 2012 it was literally all Democrats and while the way that Cambridge Analytics was a little underhanded because it was a dumb personality test, and let us all be honest about it, the people that do these tests are not the brightest bulb on the tree the data was a little less biased politically giving a general litmus of how people felt.
I still have a facebook account, It’s always set to private with only a few friends and family on there for contact purposes because it is easy and with family overseas it allows us to use the Facebook messenger calling system to contact each other. Essentially very limited use. I’m not deleting it, I use to serve me, not to furnish Facebook with incoming building data. In fact I get harassed by facebook to follow more people, it tells me I don’t have enough “friends”. I know they’re not getting any useful data from my account and think adding more contacts would make interactions increase.
If you do decide to delete your Facebook account…
Literally you need to delete not just facebook. You need to do the following;
Stop using Google for search
Stop using Google products and services
Delete your Google Accounts
Don’t watch Youtube
Don’t use Android OS base phones and tablets
Don’t use Chrome OS based tablets and devices
Don’t use Bing
Stop using Twitter
Don’t use Microsoft Products and services
Don’t use any other Social Media
Don’t use the internet at all
This is the only way you can stop people scraping data. Even those that don’t do it, they do it. In fact Google’s advertising service scrapes data when you visit sites with their advertising on it.
What I suggest
Be careful about what you do online, treat it as if you are living in a police state. Always act like someone is watching you. No VPN’s and Private browsing don’t fully stop data collection, doing a search through a VPN with a private browser on Google or Bing etc still leaves a record of data, it still gives data that can be collated and sold by the search engine.
Remember that any service that is free is not free, you are not the user of the service, you are a Product and the owner of the service is the Owner of the product and they own you.
Remember Caveat Emptor, Buyer Beware!
That free apps from Google are sub par barely useable apps. I recently tried to recreate spreadsheets with the Google version of the Apple Sheets App. The result was not fun.
Remember that the Apple Apps may be classed as free but you pay a premium for the device to get them, Google’s Apps are classed as free but they scan the documents files and data to see what they can use for profit.
People have claimed that the Apple Sheets and Pages apps are not as good as the apps from Google and not as good as the original Mac versions were. I have to admit that it took a while to adjust to how they worked but they’ve since become better after being dumbed down and even the iOS version of the apps as a delight to use.
I found that there was so many features that are missing from the Google apps that I took for granted on the Apple Sheets app. I found that I couldn’t have multiple tables on each tab, to get it match the version I had on iOS I needed 70 plus tabs and I found it difficult to read the spreadsheet. I had to change the way some formulae worked and some just wouldn’t work on Google’s app.
In the end I gave up. I was doing it because someone had asked me to give them a version they could use on every device and they used Android devices. They didn’t like the result. They went out and purchased Apple devices.
The bonus is that now their business information is not going to be “scanned” for advertising data etc.
You have to decide how much you want Fake-Free where the cost of the service from Google etc is costing them almost nothing to provide but the income from the data they have scraped is humungous. Apple charge for more than 5Gb of cloud storage but would you pay 99 cents a month for extra storage for business documents or get 15Gb free with your data being scanned for the benefit of others.