Breaking up with Facebook

Okay, I gave the Facebook thing a try. And I like being able to keep up with two or three of my friends who live far away. But that is the shiny little gold coin buried in a mountain of shit.

What initially started out as an irritation – people trying to use Facebook’s internal messaging system to communicate with me in a real-time manner – has become symbolic of why I hate Facebook. Basically, Facebook is trying to create a second Internet, one in which all communication and information is linked to particular people and relationships – and, oh, by the way owned and controlled by Facebook and hey, we can use your photo in ads or whatever we want because all your data is under their terms of service, etc. Wired has a great article on Facebook’s Alternate Internet Reality strategy:

The Great Wall of Facebook

Facebook’s internal messaging system is 100% pure evil and completely representative of what I hate about Facebook. I can get an email notification that someone has sent me a message, but replying to them via email requires me to look up their email address on their profile by hand – so you don’t, you just reply using internal Facebook messaging, which requires me to go back to their damn web site every time I want to communicate with this person. I can see this being very attractive if you have a sucky email provider with bad spam filtering, but you could also write this in such a way that it integrates smoothly with your existing email account. Facebook didn’t, because they want Facebook Internet to partition from Real Internet, leaving them with far more control over your online data than Google could ever dream of acquiring.

Don’t get me wrong, Google has issues – but they also always implement all the obvious compatibility and data export features you would want. IMAP access to Gmail? No problem. Export your contacts? We got your back. Last week, I met someone working on making it efficient to get all your Google Docs out of Google and on to your own hard drive – it isn’t good enough that it’s possible, he wants it to be easy.

So, screw you Facebook people, I like Real Internet. I’m going to keep my Facebook account as a bridge between Facebook Internet and Real Internet, but I’m going to use it as little as possible. My great act of protest? Disabling Twitter forwarding to my Facebook status. Ha! Take that, enormous corporation!

16 thoughts on “Breaking up with Facebook”

  1. I am happy about this because I hate Twitter statuses in my Facebook RSS feed. Ironically, effectively all my content in Facebook comes from other sources.

    One realisation I had today is that Google have a huge stash of information that they don’t publically release. Codesearch looks inside archives. There’s no a-priori way to know that an archive contains code, so they’ve clearly actually downloaded and extracted every passwordless archive linked from anywhere. Which is a huge stash of data that isn’t accessible via traditional methods. It seems pretty implausible that they didn’t index that while they had the chance, but also a bit weird that it isn’t part of the standard search interface…

  2. Why do you think it inaccessible? If you google for “inurl:zip” or whatever, you’ll get a bunch of archives.

  3. Search inside zip file

    Not sure exactly what you mean, but I searched for this yesterday, and it does return a match from inside a Zip file.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=“Django+will+only+honor+the+first+element+in+the+list/tuple;+any+others+will+be+ignored.”

    — Tom

  4. “I am happy about this because I hate Twitter statuses in my Facebook RSS feed”

    How do you define the difference between a FB status update and a Tweet? To me it’s just one more federated microblog sink that is updated by Gwibber.

    Sure I have a Facebook page and it is useful as a place to find long lost contacts. But I treat it like any other online service and am relativity careful about the information I trust it with. Facebook chat is just one of the many IM networks I have plugged into Pidgin. Sure if it died some people might not be able to contact me as conveniently as before but I’m only a google away.

  5. Oh god. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t have some long boring thread about searching inside archives and why it works or doesn’t work and various uninformed guesses about how Google indexes archives and… oh wait, too late.

    I hate the internet.

  6. Facebook status is an updatable but otherwise static state. Twitter is a microblogging format which, amongst other things, may be used to provide the user’s current status. To the extent that they overlap, that’s fine – but whenever I see “@RT” appear in someone’s Facebook status the voices start taking over.

  7. I am happy about this because I hate Twitter statuses in my Facebook RSS feed. Ironically, effectively all my content in Facebook comes from other sources.

    That’s exactly it – I started feeding Twitter to Facebook because otherwise my FB account would have exactly zero activity (other than responding to other people’s requests). It was either get my Twitter updates or get nothing at all. And now you are getting nothing at all.

  8. I’m going to keep my Facebook account as a bridge between Facebook Internet and Real Internet, but I’m going to use it as little as possible.

    That’s pretty much how I use mine, up until I implement my elaborate plan to get myself kicked off facebook. The sad thing is that it’s going to be really *fun* to do, possibly the most fun thing I will ever do with facebook.

    Oh, wait, I also use it for web security research. It’s strangely fascinating. Like a train wreck. See item #1 about plans to get myself banned. ;)

  9. How is Twitter different? It used to be that the next “internet revolution” came from a protocol specification (smtp, http, RFC1149, bittorrent, etc). Now everything is inside some company’s server, and all you can do is use their “API” to integrate their “widgets”. You’re just exchanging facebook for twitter, like you exchanged myspace for facebook, America Online BBS for myspace, etc.

    On the other hand, the girl I like uses facebook.

  10. Yeah I can see that. Some clients are better than others at being selective. Annoyingly if I click Reply to a tweet or dent Facebook never sees it. But if I @somename in the status box it does. I suppose it’s time to learn bzr so I can actually feed improvements back to the team…

  11. Re: That’s on purpose

    No that seems inconsistent. After all if I message someone on twitter they will reply on twitter and people on Facebook will never see the reply anyway.

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