Dropping Facebook

I announced (ironically on Twitter) over the weekend that I killed my Facebook account. I’ve had several e-mails from readers asking me to explain my decision. For me it was not a difficult one. I have never been an active Facebook member. While I have connected with several old friends using Facebook, they were not particularly close friends and none of these contacts have resulted in actually meeting a human being or rebuilding some lost close friendship.

My first annoyance with Facebook is the signal-to-noise ratio. It sucks. While I occasionally discovered what happened to so-and-so, more often I was asked to join in Mafia Wars, Farmville, and other time sinks. I felt like it was tedious to go into Facebook and have to make decisions about agreeing to be friends with people I’ve never met and probably never will. At this level it is mere annoyance. What ultimately led me to cancel my account was my privacy concerns.

There are several people exploring Facebook’s privacy policy, or lack thereof. There were two posts in particular that raised my eyebrows by people I respect, Patrick Rhone and Christopher Breen. Looking into this I discovered that despite their words, Facebook does not respect my privacy. In hindsight, I’m not sure how a company that makes its money by sharing people’s personal information can respect my privacy.

At the end of the day, limited usefulness combined with lost privacy made this a simple equation for me and an easy decision. If an old friend want to find me, it is not that difficult. I’m not advocating that everybody abandon Facebook. I just hope that everybody makes their own intelligent decision and doesn’t blindly surrender their own privacy.