Facebook Must Die, and It Will, but in the Meantime…

You can’t swing a virtual cat without coming across an article about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. The cynicism of these people is quite stunning. Facebook is pretending that they didn’t do anything wrong (“What, us?”), and Cambridge Analytica – whose CEO was just suspended by the company’s board – is saying the same sort of things.

Don’t forget that CA is partly owned by Robert Mercer, a leading conservative donor, and that Steve Bannon was vice-president of the company.

But back to Facebook; it will die, eventually. Or it will morph into something different. It’s not new; their abuse of user data has been apparent for several years. Governments are going to take the company apart, and rightly so. It may survive, with a different business model, or it may be replaced by something else.

I’ve been using Facebook since 2007, and use it in a limited manner. I keep in touch with old friends, and some colleagues, but I long ago got tired of all the quizzes and fake news that people were sharing, and unfollowed a lot of people. What I do use it for, however, is groups. These have replaced forums for many people, and are very accessible: people don’t need to understand how forum software works, and they don’t need to create new accounts. I belong to groups about cats, photography, music, local groups, and more.

Many people use Facebook groups now, because they are so easy to set up. For example, I’m taking an online photography course, and the instructor created a Facebook group for people to post photos and discuss the course. This is very practical, and these groups generally aren’t polluted with the dregs of Facebook.

If Facebook goes away or changes, this is one aspect of the service that I would miss. These groups suffer from all the usual Facebook problems of an algorithm deciding what to post on your timeline, but you can view all posts in a group (though navigation isn’t practical). But they’re like the best of Usenet; they allow communication without too many problems of spam, since they’re easily moderated.

In any case, I hope Facebook gets destroyed. What they’ve done – even more so than Twitter – is to monetize people’s data and share it in ways they should not have done. The fact that if one of your friends plays a game or quiz and your data can be shared should be – and may well become – illegal. Facebook has gotten too big, and needs to die. I’ll stay there for a while, mainly for groups, but I agree that it’s just not fun any more.

26 thoughts on “Facebook Must Die, and It Will, but in the Meantime…

  1. One day last year, I opened Facebook and found two ads on my home page. Both were ads with pictures of Bill Cosby. They were not news items, clearly they wanted me to click on them. How do you say that I felt creepy, disgusted, used, and sorry I was going to leave much contact with family. After almost a year away, there isn’t anything from the family I really needed to hear that a phone call will solve. Photos can be emailed. There is life without FB. I shiver everytime I think about folk’s using it for anything, even groups.

  2. One day last year, I opened Facebook and found two ads on my home page. Both were ads with pictures of Bill Cosby. They were not news items, clearly they wanted me to click on them. How do you say that I felt creepy, disgusted, used, and sorry I was going to leave much contact with family. After almost a year away, there isn’t anything from the family I really needed to hear that a phone call will solve. Photos can be emailed. There is life without FB. I shiver everytime I think about folk’s using it for anything, even groups.

  3. Facebook won’t die unless everyone abandons it. “I’ll stay there for a while” seems to be weak sauce. Make a stand.

  4. Facebook won’t die unless everyone abandons it. “I’ll stay there for a while” seems to be weak sauce. Make a stand.

  5. I’ve never been a FB fan or member. Anything I want to share can be shared on a platform that I feel more confident in using. Basically my approach has become anything hosted by a 3rd party like FB or the like I have to be comfortable ditching as soon as that company does something I’m not happy with. For most things an inexpensive hosting account and a WordPress install eliminates the need for those services anyway.

  6. I’ve never been a FB fan or member. Anything I want to share can be shared on a platform that I feel more confident in using. Basically my approach has become anything hosted by a 3rd party like FB or the like I have to be comfortable ditching as soon as that company does something I’m not happy with. For most things an inexpensive hosting account and a WordPress install eliminates the need for those services anyway.

  7. “For example, I’m taking an online photography course, and the instructor created a Facebook group for people to post photos and discuss the course. This is very practical”

    I agree with Keith Huss Mar 21, 2018 at 1:42 am
    WEAK SAUCE…

    You’ve stuck with FB because you got a free photo course?
    Really?

    You apparently like music. Then consider this, everything you ever held dear, and the artists that made it , is available for FREE on youtube. (Perhaps a topic for the future?)
    I thought better of you, Kirk!

        • Why? This is a fairly expensive course, and one aspect of it is the group discussion and feedback. The person running the course decided to use Facebook.

          That’s not the only Facebook group I use, but I know that some of the participants had to create Facebook accounts to be able to participate.

          There are schools that use Facebook groups for students and parents, charities that use it to get people together, my town uses it to communicate with people, and much more. Beyond the pure one-to-one “friend” stuff on Facebook, groups are huge, and most people don’t realize how important they are unless they use them.

          • I don’t doubt the merits of this course or many other aspects of FB, the issue at hand is that FB cannot be trusted with users’ associated metadata, at all.
            The quality of the course is secondary, isn’t it?

            Of all the 1000s of online photography courses out there I find it baffling that FB is the place people gravitate to knowing the company as we do.

            I accept you have a different view.

  8. “For example, I’m taking an online photography course, and the instructor created a Facebook group for people to post photos and discuss the course. This is very practical”

    I agree with Keith Huss Mar 21, 2018 at 1:42 am
    WEAK SAUCE…

    You’ve stuck with FB because you got a free photo course?
    Really?

    You apparently like music. Then consider this, everything you ever held dear, and the artists that made it , is available for FREE on youtube. (Perhaps a topic for the future?)
    I thought better of you, Kirk!

        • Why? This is a fairly expensive course, and one aspect of it is the group discussion and feedback. The person running the course decided to use Facebook.

          That’s not the only Facebook group I use, but I know that some of the participants had to create Facebook accounts to be able to participate.

          There are schools that use Facebook groups for students and parents, charities that use it to get people together, my town uses it to communicate with people, and much more. Beyond the pure one-to-one “friend” stuff on Facebook, groups are huge, and most people don’t realize how important they are unless they use them.

          • I don’t doubt the merits of this course or many other aspects of FB, the issue at hand is that FB cannot be trusted with users’ associated metadata, at all.
            The quality of the course is secondary, isn’t it?

            Of all the 1000s of online photography courses out there I find it baffling that FB is the place people gravitate to knowing the company as we do.

            I accept you have a different view.

  9. I just wish that I had bought $10,000 worth of FB stock for $25 a share. 😉 Hell, I can’t do a Google search, use my G-mail, or make a FB click without my data being scooped up, but it is what it is. I could go on and on about the effects of the printing press, internal combustion engine, electricity, iPhones, or the laptop I am using here, but the current of the river is flowing to the sea, and generally, wherever that river flows is where I want to be, flow river flow… etc. And even those who don’t want to be in it, ARE in it. In my town, we have great, often nasty, political wars on FB sites. It is the semi-poor person’s easy way of communicating now, and displays all the irritating things that one could expect from that. It is also important for me to get out into the woods with the dog, onto the water in the kayak, and inter-act with a BIG extended family, but that’s just me.

    • Yes, Facebook harvests some data, but it’s how it is used. Google also harvests data, and uses it in different ways. No matter what you do with a computer, your data is being used. It’s a question of the ethics of the companies using that data, and how transparent they are to users.

  10. I just wish that I had bought $10,000 worth of FB stock for $25 a share. 😉 Hell, I can’t do a Google search, use my G-mail, or make a FB click without my data being scooped up, but it is what it is. I could go on and on about the effects of the printing press, internal combustion engine, electricity, iPhones, or the laptop I am using here, but the current of the river is flowing to the sea, and generally, wherever that river flows is where I want to be, flow river flow… etc. And even those who don’t want to be in it, ARE in it. In my town, we have great, often nasty, political wars on FB sites. It is the semi-poor person’s easy way of communicating now, and displays all the irritating things that one could expect from that. It is also important for me to get out into the woods with the dog, onto the water in the kayak, and inter-act with a BIG extended family, but that’s just me.

    • Yes, Facebook harvests some data, but it’s how it is used. Google also harvests data, and uses it in different ways. No matter what you do with a computer, your data is being used. It’s a question of the ethics of the companies using that data, and how transparent they are to users.

  11. what about the UI…..the longer you are there the more info they are expecting to get.
    BTW why doesn’t kirkville have a facebook group? -so we can chat with ‘Andy Doe’.

    • I have a Facebook page, not a Facebook group. There’s a link at the top of the sidebar. I set that up a few years ago at the request of readers who wanted an easy way to follow the website. It is separate from my personal Facebook page, where I only friend people I know.

      However, I recently removed the Facebook sharing button from below articles, and I’m thinking of deleting that page. In the past, anyone who follows a page would see all their posts. A couple of years ago, Facebook changed their algorithm, and now some 20-30 people see posts on my Facebook page (out of about 600 followers). Facebook wants me to pay to reach more people.

  12. what about the UI…..the longer you are there the more info they are expecting to get.
    BTW why doesn’t kirkville have a facebook group? -so we can chat with ‘Andy Doe’.

    • I have a Facebook page, not a Facebook group. There’s a link at the top of the sidebar. I set that up a few years ago at the request of readers who wanted an easy way to follow the website. It is separate from my personal Facebook page, where I only friend people I know.

      However, I recently removed the Facebook sharing button from below articles, and I’m thinking of deleting that page. In the past, anyone who follows a page would see all their posts. A couple of years ago, Facebook changed their algorithm, and now some 20-30 people see posts on my Facebook page (out of about 600 followers). Facebook wants me to pay to reach more people.

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