Once a novelty known as the place where “the kids” could “poke” ’til your hearts’ content, almost overnight, Facebook has now become the latest iteration of Big Brother. And it’s not a difficult comparison to make. Many would argue that Facebook is a bigger danger to us than Google as the type of information that Facebook retains is so much more intensely personal, in many cases. So it’s no wonder that you’ve been seeing stories popping up everywhere from Mashable to the Globe and Mail about Facebook Privacy, but please try to remember – it’s only the news. They’ll tell any story that they think people will read.
A part of this backlash, Quit Facebook Day (officially May 31, 2010) was created, came and passed, confirming my suspicion that the issue isn’t as big as some would have you believe. As of the time I wrote this, the official movement at QuitFacebookDay.com had amassed 36,559 committed quitters for their May 31 “event”. While that seems like a big number, compared to Facebook’s 450,000,000+ users, it amounts to less than 0.009% of the overall population of Facebook Nation.
Perhaps the real reason this Facebook exodus failed was many realized that the data they were sharing was no more than they’ve given up to an email service, messenger service or an online photo sharing tool. Because Facebook pulls this all together, it makes some people nervous. But do you really believe someone at the company is combing through 450,000,000 user’s photos and status updates looking to use that information for villainous purposes? Hardly. If anything, programming behind the scenes will be using it to suggest to you content and conversations you’re more likely to enjoy.
Throw in the fact that I’m sure you use Facebook to find out what’s going on this weekend, see the first pics of your new nephew, keep tabs on friends in other cities, kill time at work – or even as a part of your job – and it’s pretty clear that the platform gives us a lot and asks very little in return. So don’t give up on Facebook so fast – when he takes good care of you, it’s not so bad having a Big Brother.