Posted on May 23, 2018

I joined facebook in 2007. Before that, I used to interact with friends on Orkut. I joined facebook because my friends told me to.

Facebook was quite innocent when I joined. I was friends with people on Facebook that I was friends in real life, and I would see them every now and then, if not more. Then pages came along, and I started liking facebook pages. Friends started to invite me to like a page, and I would do the same. People started sharing articles, news, from sources that were not always credible. Cookies started tracking information everywhere outside of facebook. Facebook made it super easy to share any web page on facebook - there is a button on top of this page to do the same. Apps started using facebook as a login, and in return for the convenience of not having to create another username and password, that you have to remember, we happily agreed to share our facebook profile with apps. Games that looked innocent on the surface asked for permission to use our facebook data, and post on the wall on our behalf, and we happily, explicitly, gave consent.

The whole Cambridge Analytica debacle was a little surprising to me. But then again, I should have seen it coming. After the news surfaced, I went through my privacy settings on Facebook, and un-authorized any apps that I do not use anymore. The ones that stayed on, I looked at them carefully. I went through all of my privacy settings to make sure what information is being shared with whom.

I thought about deleting my facebook account, but it is difficult to do that. There are so many connections that have built over the years are on facebook, it is a difficult ask to delete my account. I have changed some of my habits though. Any new accounts now are not created using Facebook, but instead are created using traditional email and passwords (I use 1Password for creating and managing passwords). I use two factor auth where I can. I uninstalled facebook and messenger from my phone. This in turn makes me share less of everything on the platform - which is good.

Social platforms are difficult to get rid of. If you are not using them, you stay out of them, and that is easy to do - because everyone knows that you do not use facebook or twitter. But once you are in it and people know that, they want to reach out to you on these platforms. Always go in with the mentality that anything you share or post is essentially public information, even when the privacy setting is set to private.