Are you concerned about your privacy? Do you use Facebook? Answering yes to both of these questions is a contradiction. Like the story of “Peter and the Wolf”, I keep saying I’ll stop using FB any day now and I haven’t but….stories like this one in Gizmodo about the “People You May Know” (PYMK) feature are nudging me closer to the edge.
In the months I’ve been writing about PYMK, (People You May Know) as Facebook calls it, I’ve heard more than a hundred bewildering anecdotes:
- A man who years ago donated sperm to a couple, secretly, so they could have a child—only to have Facebook recommend the child as a person he should know. He still knows the couple but is not friends with them on Facebook.
- A social worker whose client called her by her nickname on their second visit, because she’d shown up in his People You May Know, despite their not having exchanged contact information.
- A woman whose father left her family when she was six years old—and saw his then-mistress suggested to her as a Facebook friend 40 years later.
Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.
The only reason I keep reading FB, not participating is to wish happy birthdays and to check on a business group I belong to. My whole family and close friends are there but I notice that even their own interactions are less every day. I’ve unfollowed so many people that when I go to my newsfeed I scroll down and I’m told there’s nothing new to see! (I tend to use the “recent items” newsfeed and that’s enough for me).
All this to say that I’m getting close to pulling the plug on the whole thing, and the Gizmodo story has moved me closer. Below are a few reminders of how FB operates just in case you have forgotten. In my opinion, they’re really not a good bunch of people over there, but in the end, to use it or not is a personal choice. Be careful out there.
Emotional manipulation study “The complaint alleges Facebook deceived users by secretly conducting a psychological experiment to explore if seeing positive or negative updates in their news feeds would sway their emotions.”
Facebook Criticisms. You don’t have to read it all, but just look at this Wikipedia article to see how long the list is…it’s mind-blowing.
Now back to wearing my tin-foil hat and continue building that Faraday cage around my apartment.