Life after Facebook


I first joined Facebook back in early 2009, right after Barack Obama was sworn in for the first time. I had lots of fun through the years, reconnecting with classmates, neighbors, former colleagues, students of mine, and assorted cousins and family members. It was–and still is–ubiquitous among all the different forms of social media.

So leaving Facebook means that most of these renewed relationships will revert to their previous state. And that’s unfortunate, in some sense. But in a larger sense (to borrow a phrase from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address) I’m not willing to give Facebook what they want from me, as a condition of making their service available for free. They’ve gone too far, at least in my eyes, and so now it’s time to leave.

Specifically, Facebook has a new set of Terms of Service (TOS) that everyone must agree to in order to keep using their service as of January 1, 2015. The data collection part of it, where they can track my physical movements and develop a dossier about me that marketers will gladly pay Facebook to have access to, is probably bad enough. But the right to exploit (and there’s no other word for it) my content for their financial gain is a bridge too far for me.

Facebook will be able to take pictures like the one above–if it were still on Facebook in 2015–and do whatever they want to with it. They could transfer this right to other parties, as well. They could make money off of the image, and not have to share it with me at all. The picture would be mine, but the control over how and when it’s used would no longer be mine. And reserving this control is important to me, so it’s adios to Facebook, at least for me.

There was life for me before Facebook, and I’m sure there will be life after it, too. There will be an adjustment period, of course, but better to go through that now than to let Facebook control things they really shouldn’t have control over.

Here’s wishing all the remaining Facebook users well. May you remain blissfully unaware of what you’ve done by using their service in 2015 and beyond.

Friends and Family–2013

This morning, as my teenager got in some practice ice time with her skating coach, I continued on my quest to purge my personally-identifiable pictures from Facebook. I’m working backward from the present year, and I made my way through 2013 today. It was an interesting year, but they are all with the benefit of hindsight.

Again, I’ll continue this until the storage space runs out. No explanations or captions are coming anytime soon.

Friends and Family–2014

The new Facebook Terms of Service are going into effect on January 1, 2015, and every user will have to agree to them in order to continue using their service. I’m sure Facebook expects the overwhelming majority of users to blindly click “I accept” and continue on with life. Maybe it’s a character flaw, but I’m not willing to go along so easily.

What’s the hangup?

Facebook is expecting–no, they are demanding–that any image put onto their website can be used by them for whatever commercial purposes they want, without that person’s consent, and without any compensation paid whatsoever.

Part of me is amused that Facebook thinks my image could ever be helpful selling anything to anyone. But part of me is offended that my family’s image could be used for these purposes. My grandparents, my parents, my siblings, my wife, and my children could all be put into the financial service of a multi-billion dollar business enterprise, simply because I once wanted my handful of friends to see them in a picture. My friends, colleagues, classmates, and everyone I’ve ever known, practically, could be pressed into service without their knowledge or consent.

And me, well, I’ve been in lots of photos in my life. Some of those have ended up on Facebook, on the pages of people who who go along with Facebook’s new demands. I’ll be sent into Facebook’s service, where I would prefer not to be, but there’s nothing I can do to stop it, either.

I actually don’t much care about my image, but I hate that Facebook wants to monetize millions–if not billions–of people’s images for their financial gain. Yes, Facebook is free, in the sense that it costs no money to sign up or to keep an account in your name. But when the price becomes pimping out yourself and all your friends, that’s a bit too much to pay.

So here are the images of my friends and family from my 2014 posts on Facebook. They’ve all been deleted from that site, and are being given asylum on a platform where I still think I have some control. Hope I’m not wrong about that.

How far I will take this remains to be seen. I joined Facebook in 2009, so there must be thousands of pictures that will need transferring. And I have lots of pictures from traveling, and local images I found interesting, that I don’t know if I want Facebook to control come January 1. I’d like to just take my images and walk away from Facebook altogether, but that’s a decision I don’t have to make just yet. We’ll see how that goes.

So here are the pictures. Captions and explanations won’t be forthcoming for a while, if ever.