I don’t like Facebook. Not the website itself; even though it’s filled with uninteresting and perfectly dispensable crap, it’s a good way to stay in touch with friends and know what they’re up to. What I dislike about Facebook is the company, the people behind the wall posts, the status updates and all the little “like” buttons spread all over the internet.
There are more than a few reasons for this, and every now and then the company makes the headlines for the wrong reasons, showing the evil side of the social network that keeps me from using it as much as I might like in different circumstances. This most recent episode in the war against Google is just another example. The two companies are fighting for the data produced by Facebook’s users, but if Zuckerberg and his pals try to convince that it’s to protect you, don’t listen; they’re only trying to protect their ability to offer more targeted ads to you via the information you give them about yourself, an advantage they have over Google if your profile is private.
I abhor hypocrisy, and Facebook are masters at it. They want the internet to regard them as a special company, that deserves a special set of rules. They want all their users to go public, to make their personal profiles available to the world, but they don’t want anybody else to use that information. They want to be able to import contact information from other media, be it Twitter, Gmail or Yahoo!, but they don’t allow any other website to do the same with their contacts information. And, worst than anything else, they never ever ever delete the information you upload on the site, even if you “delete” your account.
This is why I stopped uploading anything personal to Facebook. If there is a Youtube video, or an interesting website, or some photos I took, or whatever I want to share with my friends, I will put it here and use Facebook only to publish the link to the blog. The real content will stay here, on my blog, where I have absolute control over what happens to it. If I choose to delete it, so be it, I will be done with it. That is a power we do not have in Facebook. Their vision is one of ownership: once you share it with us, it’s ours to keep. And all the information they have on you and me and everyone else is worth billions to the company. Unknowingly, we’re feeding the machine with every like button we click. More than wanting to be the Internet, they want to be our lives. And until we all realize this and stop falling into the trap of “sharing” and “liking” every little thing on the web through Facebook, they will continue to be successful, by selling our personal information.
But my bet is this won’t last forever. Every company that tried to be bigger than the Internet itself fell, eventually, and the same will happen to Facebook. It seems impossible today, sure, but there will come a day in which our lives will go on without it. I’m guessing that will be a happy day.