It’s not just Facebook

Deactivating or deleting Facebook accounts is all the rage.

If you’re considering abandoning Mr Zuckerberg’s money machine for security reasons, perhaps you should broaden your target. After killing Facebook, you’d better review the other organisations that are tracking you, selling their data about you, and controlling what information you receive and what you don’t..

Here are a few

  • facebook-banYour credit card company. Most of us pay our balance in full and incur no interest. How do you think the banks make it worth their while?
  • Charge cards. Same deal.
  • Your hire-purchase financers and other creditors.
  • Your supermarket or department store loyalty card.  Do you think they really want to give you a discount for nothing in return.
  • Google Search, Google Mail, and most other “free” search and mail facilities.
  • Apps on your phone and tablet, especially the free ones.
  • Computer programs.
  • Your online, newspaper, and magazine subscriptions.
  • Your web browser. You really need to know about “cookies”, and how to counter them. I’ve explained about them here.
  • Your frequent flyer program.

Delete Facebook if you feel so inclined, but remember that despite Mr Zuckerberg’s assurances, all your previous ravings on and embarrassing photos are still there and anybody with the right skills or contacts can find them until the end of time. Or nearly.

There’s a nuisance value in dumping Facebook; info on your favourite café, for instance, may be only available on Facebook. I have a very useful local residents’ group with thousands of members which is excellent for finding local services.

You can remain on Facebook until something better comes along without bringing on Armageddon. Just be careful about what you post. Bear in mind that it’s there forever, that your granny and your potential employers can see it, and that smart algorithms on powerful computers are figuring out everything about you: your food preferences, your wealth (or lack of it), your racial, religious, and cultural biases, and your political leanings.

The bottom line

  • If it’s a free service, ask yourself how they make money. Usually, lots of money.
  • If you wouldn’t put your writing or image on an open postcard, don’t post it online. Don’t even type it into a keyboard for that matter.
  • Nothing stored digitally is guaranteed to be private forever.
  • Be careful what you click on.
  • I repeat, follow the money.

If I delete my Facebook account, it won’t be because of security worries, but because nobody give’s a rat’s arse about what I have to say.