It’s the start of a new year and much has changed. This week we moved into a new house. Our move has been an eight month and four state ordeal but I am hoping we will be here for some time. I am tired of moving and our frequent moves are confusing our self-appointed digital overlords. This afternoon, after unpacking and assembling the table I am now writing on, I tried to login to Facebook using a borrowed library hotspot. The Boise Library consortium is now lending out Internet Hotspot devices. My wife put one on hold about a month ago and she got an email the other day that the device was ready to be picked up at the Eagle branch. It will be a week or two before our local broadband supplier can wire up our new house so the hotspot perfectly hit our Internet dead spot. We picked it up and I’m using it now.
Getting back to Facebook. My login attempt failed. Facebook detected yet another change in my connection IP address and asked me to verify my account. I’ve done this before. I was expecting a text or reset email but no, this time the bastards had the sheer unmitigated gall to ask for proper government ID. They want scans of driver’s licenses, passports, social security cards and so forth. This was the last straw. I couldn’t even login to delete my account so I sent this message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Security at Facebook,
It’s so good of you to ask if I was trying to access my account from a new IP. Yes, that new login attempt was me. For reasons that do not concern you I move around a lot. It’s irritating that you track IPs and harass users when they go to another coffee shop or library.
This has happened in the past and I have jumped through your irritating hoops to reset the account. Prior to, today you did not ask for PROPER GOVERNMENT ID! There is no fucking way in hell I will be uploading scans of driver’s licenses, passports, social security numbers, or any other form of official ID. It’s bad enough that proper authorities force us to use these documents but, the last time I looked Facebook is not an authority! We don’t have to show proper ID to vote in many states but apparently it’s required to browse your steaming pile of distracting rubbish.
My Facebook profile image. Apparently, it is no longer ok to use avatar images on Facebook. I started using this image a few years ago primarily to screw with their facial recognition programs. I will not aid and abet Facebook user profiling. I am not hiding you can browse scores of my pictures by clicking on the gorrilla. Of course, these images are not under the legal purview of Facebook so they cannot legally use them for profiles.
I have always hated Facebook and the only reason I have maintained my tiny footprint in your sewer is to catch a little gossip from real friends and family members. I have done my best to keep my friend list short, my security options on maximum, and my profile information scant and useless. I know you are a giant data mining operation. You entice idiots with cat videos then quietly monitor their mostly boring and pointless lives with the sole aim of selling this information to third parties. Well, count me out! This will be the last byte stream from moi. If I could login I would delete my account but I since I will not change my lovely gorilla profile picture or give proper ID I will have to simply orphan my account. I have already deleted my phone app and purged my browsers of your vile links. I will never login to Facebook again.
I always knew this day was coming. I had long ago decided to drop Facebook when a few family members tired of your trash. I don’t waste a lot of time on Facebook, but be honest, even you know it’s nothing but a complete waste of time.
In this case, parting is not sweet sorrow, it’s like being released from an insane asylum.
John D. Baker
Yesterday was the first ever Everybody Draw Mohammed Day. My favorite Everybody Draw Mohammed cartoon is shown below.
Da Glory-ass Koran
For the troglodytes among us Everybody Draw Mohammed Day was a sarcastic reaction to years of bullying, death threats and fatwas issued against cartoonists for the horrible crime of drawing caricatures of Mohammed. The point of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day was to drive home the simple fact that when it comes to free speech there are no sacred cows or prophets! Nothing is beyond offensive satire.
For me free speech is an absolute inalienable right that overrides nonsense like religious belief. If you attempt to regulate my speech I will resist. The harder you push the more I will push back. If you curtail or regulate my speech I will scream louder. If you pass laws restricting discourse I will break them. If you suppress my voice I will stop debating and start shooting. And, if you think I am bluffing go ahead and call me on it.
Given the depth of this conviction I was sorely disappointed to see that Facebook dropped The Everybody Draw Mohammed Day page. The cowardly weasels weren’t even responding to official complaints. They just decided to self-censor themselves and a hundred thousand Facebook users as well. Of course they had their reasons but let’s cut the crap. They have shown us that when cards are in play they have no core beliefs beyond pimping user data to third parties for cash.
I cannot endorse such behavior so I deleted my Facebook account. This was not an empty gesture for me. As a divorced father living in another country I enjoyed seeing Facebook posts from my kids on a regular basis but sometimes we have to give up things we like when they clash with principles.
So I am inviting all that sincerely uphold free speech to join with me on June 5, 2010, (the day Facebook allegedly deletes my account), to celebrate Everybody Abandon Facebook Day by deleting your own Facebook account.
Facebook is huge: they brag about a user count well north of one hundred million. If only 0.5% of their users are active that’s 500,000 concurrent users. That is a large number. How many expensive servers does it take to support such a load? How much does Facebook shell out for bandwidth? What does it cost them to house the stables of twenty-something web programmers required to keep their pages up and humming? Here’s a hint for all you, “information wants to be free,” socialists out there; it’s not free!
Sites like Facebook blow through hundreds of thousands of dollars every month just so you can tag your friends, play silly games and post pictures of your pets. Here’s an old guy question; what’s in it for Facebook?
Do any of you seriously think Facebook is doing this for the good of mankind? Well, I hate to harsh your mellow, but nobody, and I mean absolutely nobody, does anything for the good of mankind. There is always payment in some form. The form varies. I prefer cash; it’s crass; it’s direct and it’s bullshit free. The downside: there can be tax liabilities. Maybe you prefer payment in the form of self delusions: “I’m doing all this volunteer work because I am a good person.” Perhaps you take Mother Teresa accolades, adulation and Nobel Peace Prizes, (going to murders and charlatans these days), and if you are a class A numnut that ultimate noncash payment: The Order of Canada. Live in Canada long enough, sticking to your politically correct guns, and it’s yours for the taking.
Getting back to those silly Facebook games and pet pictures. Every time you boot one of these irritants it asks if it can rip your name and contact information. You want to play so you press yes. With a mouse click another marketer gains access your email, name, address and friend list. Then the silly game runs and you divulge more of yourself to perfect strangers that are spending long hours programming diversions for the good of mankind.
I don’t care if some random manufacturer of crap learns that my favorite color is purple: ancient royalty you know. They may send me some purple junk email that will be mutilated by my spam terminators. But I am one among millions. If the same email goes out to millions a few may respond in the warm cashy way marketers seek. Facebook is gigantic indirect marketing and data mining operation that pays the bills by parceling out user information to third parties. These parties are selling everything from soap to politicians. This is what’s in it for Facebook.
I haven’t seen Facebook’s books so I don’t know if this is a sound business or another venture capital delusion that will implode when the money runs out. Time will soon tell. In the meanwhile here is some Facebook advice.
- Google your name. If your Facebook page shows on the first page be very careful about what you post. Employers are now searching social networks when screening potential employees. They will be thrilled to hear about how you puked all over the late night buffet while climbing down from your last crack high.
- Facebook friends are not necessarily real friends. Does anyone have 718 real flesh and blood friends? Nobody is that popular. Nobody wants to be that popular.
- The more silly games, groups and postings you deploy the deeper and thicker your on-line profile becomes. All this crap, be honest it’s mostly crap, might outlive you. Do you really want your epitaph to read: Iced 1,724 in Mafia Wars.
Have I harshed your Facebook mellow?