Crikey Clarifier

Jun 2, 2010

Why Facebook users are quitting, including me

If Facebook doesn’t clean up its act, it could well be forced to. More than 30,000 people deleted their Facebook account on Monday's international Quit Facebook Day. Why?

Stilgherrian — Technology writer and broadcaster

Stilgherrian

Technology writer and broadcaster

100602_clarifier

Monday was  Quit Facebook Day. Organisers claim more than 30,000 people deleted their accounts on the world’s most popular  social network service (SNS), a drop in Facebook’s half-billion-person ocean, but an important symbol.

What did Facebook do wrong?

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29 comments

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29 thoughts on “Why Facebook users are quitting, including me

  1. Meski

    Let me guess, Stilgherrian. Diaspora’s motto is ‘do no evil’. Colour me a cynic, but they all start out like that until someone offers to buy for a few billion. In the meantime, fake the unique identifying characteristics of yourself on these sites.

  2. Dave

    Didn’t Google start off with all that “do no evil” crap? I appreciate the stand being made by those who quit Facebook and I wish I had the time and/or energy to do so myself. At the end of the day, I don’t think I could quit Facebook without quitting Google, Twitter because essentially, we sold-out privacy ages ago. It seems quaint how up in arms we were about Microsoft back in the day, “knowing too much”.

    But respect, total respect, for drawing attention to yet another way Corporations take our loyalty for granted.

  3. zut alors

    It is mystifying to me why people feel the need to create a network of ‘friends’, many of whom they will never meet or be able to authenticate. In the overwhelming majority of cases the contacts forged in cyberspace are just that ie: contacts.

    At best they are acquaintances… but they are rarely friends.

  4. Stilgherrian

    Meski and Dave, obviously there’s nothing to stop a project like Diaspora* [yes I forgot the asterisk] going bad at some point down the track. Indeed, if you look at Facebook’s initial privacy settings it all looked quite reasonable. And then they turned.

    Zut Alors, there’s two separate aspects there, I reckon.

    One is the point you make, that the word “friend” has been severely devalued by SNSs. Indeed research by Sophos showed that half of the time people would befriend any random profile if asked — with obvious privacy implications if your profile is open to “friends of friends”. Your friends have just given your details to a random stranger. The other aspect is that people are also trying to create an online mirror of the circle of “real” friends. The SNS’s use of the word “friend” to describe both is possibly another factor in lulling people into a false sense of security.

  5. Jeff Richards

    Look, facebook is lots of fun. If people are stupid enough to leave privacy sensitive material on FB then the deserve to be shat on from a great height. Its a scrapbook of a persons life and interests that your networks, friends, old friends can choose to look at or ignore. All this talk about ‘privacy concerns’ is crap from the aging cohort of people who are excessively preoccupied with ‘civil liberties’. Go and set up a facebook page, dont be stupid enough to put in things that you think might compromise you, and have some fun.

  6. Dave

    Hey Stil. I think it is a given that anything “free” will eventually sour – such is wonderful capitalism system where everything has to be about the bottom line and not just, you know, not being evil.

    Agree with the point of “friends” – it is all starting to sound very 1984.

    But its like, if you can’t beat it, and the regulators can be bought by it… le sigh.

    Laissez faire, telle devrait être la devise de toute puissance publique, depuis que le monde est civilisé … Détestable principe que celui de ne vouloir grandir que par l’abaissement de nos voisins! Il n’y a que la méchanceté et la malignité du coeur de satisfaites dans ce principe, et l’intérêt y est opposé. Laissez faire, morbleu! Laissez faire!!

    There is a point in there I am sure of it.

  7. Mike Jones

    Zut, is it over between us then ?

    Stil, I checked out Facebook and Twitter and formed the opinion that I preferred to have a life. First I sorted out my then teenage kids’ usage of Facebook – pointing out to them the downside – over 3 years ago.

    So, welcome to the ranks of the rational.

  8. zut alors

    Mike,

    Fear not, we are Fellow Dogonauts and that transcends anything Facebook has to offer.

    Frankly, despite the myriad of photos posted by their subscribers I believe a more apt name for the website is Faceless. A perfect paradox.

  9. Doug from Parkdale

    You write about the “privacy implications if your profile is open to ‘friends of friends’. Your friends have just given your details to a random stranger.”
    The point of social media/networking is that, due to the nature of the connection, a friend of a friend is a potential friend, a “random stranger”.
    If not an actual friend, there’s a good chance they will be of like mind/social milieu/interests. That’s why we increasingly put more trust in information distributed by and in reviews of (for example) products or restaurants that come from FoFs.

  10. Doug from Parkdale

    Sorry, second par should read:
    The point of social media/networking is that, due to the nature of the connection, a friend of a friend is a potential friend, NOT a “random stranger”.

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