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Bye Bye, Facebook

So I find out that Facebook is sharing all my data with the US government. Private companies, and governments like Egypt, can get my Facebook data too. Forget that.

by Patrick Powers

So I find out that Facebook is sharing all my data with the US government. Private companies, and governments like Egypt, can get my Facebook data too. Forget that.

It doesn't help that Facebook wants me to identify the faces of ten friends before they let me log on. They did that to me before and I gave them what they wanted, but I swore I would never identify friends again. But that gives me a dilemma. How do I log on to deactivate my account without identifying the ten friends?

Surprise: I walk out the door and an International Herald on the newsstand has a headline "Quitting Social Networks." I am not the only one who's heard the news, for I noted a New York Times article "Breaking Up is Hard to Do", on severing ties to social networks, online. Bonanza! They tell me how to delete my account! I looked for that before and couldn't find it. Good! Facebook deliberately makes it difficult, in fact I had been told it couldn't be done. The New York Times, of course, doesn't mention why you might want to delete your account. They sort of hint that maybe you have grown tired of it. Right. Just a whim. Sure.

I go there and go through a certain amount of rigamarole, but delete it I do. They give me the option of giving my birth date instead of identifying the friends, so I don't have to do that. Good! I guess so many people complained that they had to offer an alternative.

So bye bye forever, Facebook! Boy, that feels good. People tell me that it is possible to use my birth date and other data to guess my social security number. What a nightmare. Facebook, I hope everybody quits and you have to sell dirt cheap to AOL.

That's not all! The article tells me how to delete my Amazon account. It is so hard to do you would never be able to figure it out on your own. This angered me so much I'm going to delete that too. Why should the government know what books I'm buying? It's none of their business. The Times even warns me to delete my credit card information first. What?!?! Why do I have to do that? Is there really a security risk with a deleted account? This is worse than I thought. They are telling me I can't trust Amazon with my credit card number. Into the trash it goes.

While I'm at it, let's get rid of the MySpace account. Bye bye, suckers! Wait a minute. Wasn't I the sucker here?

I never log into the Google search engine, but not to worry, it logs me in all by itself whether I like it or not. Now I know it tells the government what info I'm accessing. But that's easy: there are plenty of other search engines. Gmail has so much of my info already that I can't delete the account, but I can start a new account elsewhere and get out of their web. Ugh! Once they denied access to my account until I gave them my telephone number. That was so creepy. It makes me feel like I've been dirtied by a slimy octopus. And I pretty much was. Then there's YouTube, which is part of Google. Why should I let the government know that I watch dissident political videos? It even knows that I like them. They have that information and I can't get it back, but I can open a new account with an email that I use for nothing else.

So if it isn't already perfectly clear, I recommend that you go to to those instructive New York Times directions and delete all this stuff. Maybe maybe it is all right with you to have both government and industry studying your private data, but even if that is so, think of it this way. This surveillance is all explicitly and completely illegal. If you submissively let them do that to you, I think they will continue to encroach until you get bugged enough to do something. But by then it may not be so easy. This is easy.

Patrick Powers is a philosopher and jazz musician in Ubud, Bali.

Copyright © Patrick Powers . All rights reserved.