In this article, ” Why I left Facebook: Stubbornly Refusing to Not Exist Even After Opting Out of Mark Zuckerberg’s Social Graph, Robert Ghel critiques Facebook’s privacy and freedom issues using examples of case studies from bloggers who have quit using Facebook. First, Ghel discusses a Facebook event that occurred in 2009, in which Facebook updated their Terms of Service, which claimed ownership over their users data, even if a user left the network. This change caused outrage and users created a group called, ‘Millions Against Facebook’s New Terms Service and Layout’, which lead to Facebook allowing users to vote for the new Terms of Service, or to keep the old ones. In the end Facebook ended up winning and the new Terms of Service were kept in place. At this time I was unaware of the updated Terms of Service, but once I read this article it was my first time becoming aware. I think that most of my Facebook friends also were unaware of the change and vote, which is certainly a problem because the lack of knowledge spread by this “democratic” network. If I was aware of the issue I would absolutely have voted against the new Terms of Service because I do not want Facebook owning all my personal content such as, photos, comments, or status’s I have posted. I am aware that Facebook is not as private as it is made out to be, which is why I am careful of what I share on the site, but having any of your content, even just a photo, being owned by a mass business is not comforting. Facebook has given users the idea that their posts are private because they give us the option to only have our Facebook friends see our content, and we have the choice to block certain users. However, since Facebook owns all our content they can store and share it anywhere, whether or not our privacy settings state otherwise.
Second, Ghel explains how leaving Facebook is merely impossible due to a few reasons. He discusses the process of leaving, in which Facebook provides a tutorial on deleting your account including questions such as, ‘Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?” and ‘Your 312 friends will no longer be able to keep in touch with you’ (Ghel, p. 226). When you chose to delete your account Facebook will then deactivate your account for two weeks, which gives you the chance to re-think your decision; if you chose to continue the deletion the process includes various helps screens. Next, Ghel mentions that leaving Facebook is like, ‘slipping away alone from a massive party before it ends’ (Ghel, p. 221). He believes that there is a mass amount of pressure when deciding to leave Facebook because your friends and families will continue to use it and as more and more people join more sites adopt Facebook connect as their login making Facebook a necessity to use many online services (Ghel, p.225). Also, Ghel claims that just because you delete your account not all your information has been deleted, since friends and family may have posted pictures of you, or previous comments have remained.
As a participant of Facebook, I agree with Ghel’s argument that leaving Facebook can be lonely. As I would have trouble deleting my account knowing I am unable to see what my peers are doing and also that my information is still owned by Facebook with the capability of being shared anywhere they wanted.
Gehl, Robert W. “‘ Why I Left Facebook’: Stubbornly Refusing to Not Exist Even After Opting Out of Mark Zukerberg’s Social Graph .” Unlike Us Reader: Social Media Monopolies and Their Alternatives. Ed. Geert Lovink and Miriam Rasch. Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures. 220-238.