The end of this month, May 31st, is Quit Facebook Day. Over 23,000 people have already committed to quitting at the site www.QuitFacebookDay.com. A lot of the Anti-Facebook sentiments have become popular lately because of recent changes Facebook made to privacy settings. With the backlash growing, Facebook has recently been back-peddling trying to find the right thing that people want that will neutralize the complaints whether it be simplified controls for privacy or rolling back the controversial changes.
I’ve already given my recommendation for quitting Facebook and joining the 6000+ backers investing $191,000+ into the development of a secure, decentralized social network system, Diaspora. Even Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, donated to support Diaspora. Privacy is a big deal to people and for good reason. Even if you’re staying on Facebook until there’s a good alternative, you should at least be sure to follow this Consumer’s Reports guide of 7 things to stop doing on Facebook (or anywhere on the Internet). YourOpenBook.com does a good job of demonstrating how much excess information people are broadcasting through Facebook, similar to how PleaseRobMe.com demonstrated a security risk of check-in apps.
There are plenty of other reasons that people are leaving the social network site. Some also contest that you should no longer trust Facebook or their recent apology for the privacy changes. We have also witnessed recent bugs and accidents where private chats were available through a simple hack or how private information was “accidentally” released to advertisers and certain apps. Through Facebook Connect, your web browsing already seems quite trackable. Even if you have the setting to not share information, I’ve seen people automatically logged into comment forms. That reporting back to Facebook automatically makes your browsing predictable and provides them with information they could sell to advertisers.
The other security component of a reason to leave Facebook is that it’s gotten so big that it is a heavily-targeted site for spam and malware. I’ve done plenty of malware clean-ups and found a good percentage of them stemming from links on Facebook. There is now a service out there called Defensio for securing Facebook pages and walls from spam, profanity, and malicious links. Just last week a worm was spreading quickly just to be trumped by malware spreading through video links on walls promising distracting beach babes.
Another site of concern or at the very least reflects how much of your information is on the Internet and no longer in your control is Spokeo. Spokeo is like an old-school phonebook but pulls information about individuals from tons of different sources (like a Facebook profile) to give you a bigger picture like income level, number of people in the house, hobbies, and much more creepy information.
To reduce your chances of being a victim of identity theft and keep your information in control, I’d recommend visiting the QuitFacebookDay.com site and Monday (and everyday after) giving it a thought if being on a site that is rather careless with your data is worth it. I don’t trust a site that takes the approach “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”