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Has Facebook gone too far?

I started using Facebook about a year ago. At first I was a little concerned about posting personal status updates, but adapted to it easily. I soon discovered that when I was feeling low, I would post personal information that I wouldn’t generally share with people other than close friends and family. I was a little nervous at first, but inherently, the need to commune overwhelmed the need to filter.

I was somewhat appeased by the ability to control who my “friends” were and that I could turn off any public dissemination of this information. That was a really big deal to me. I’ve made some comments on Facebook that I’d really not want left in Google Cache.

In the past year it has become clear that Mark Zuckerberg’s intentions with Facebook are to slowly erode the ability to keep personal information private. He’s stated on numerous occasions that he thinks privacy is overrated and that eventually there will be no privacy.

See here’s the thing. I was 25 years old once too. I think I remember where he’s coming from. He’s idealistic. He certainly has no concern for personal needs anymore. He can walk barefoot in blue jeans and a ripped up t-shirt for the rest of his life, like an American made Ghandi. But I think he’s looking at the world through glasses that no one has ever owned before and I’m concerned that way too many people are blindly following him.

I have a sneaking suspicion that after he gets married, has kids, sends his kids to school with other kids, he’s going to realize that there’s a point to this privacy stuff. He’s going to get caught in the conundrum, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” only he’s going to begin deciding, with the power of wealth, that he would prefer to have parts of his life kept private.

When he turns forty, he’s going to look back at this moment and thing to himself, “Man, I was such a douchebag.”

The most recent changes to Facebook, called “open graph”, was the last straw for me. I was uncomfortable to begin with, but this is a clear assault on my ability to control my words. It proves that if you like your privacy, you’d better realize quickly that on the Internet, you have none. If you want to rant, save it for the family dinner on Thanksgiving. You’ll get it out, you’ll feel better, your family will laugh at you, and it will be over and done with. It will also be forgotten. Or maybe you go out with your friends every Friday night and let off some steam. It’s healthy. It’s not recorded.

I deactivated my Facebook accounts this past week without any warning to my friends lists. There have been reports of other, wildly more notable people, also deactivating their accounts. I assume the growth of Facebook will make deactivations a whispered cry.

But I don’t care.

My mind is my own. My thoughts are my own. My rants are my own. If I want to share something, I will call a friend or my mom or my kids. If I need to express myself, I have hobbies. If I want to like someone, I will write them a note or just tell them, “Hey! I Like You!”

You should think about this. No pressure. You’re connected. But you’re really not.

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