Dear Crabby, Should I Delete My Facebook Account?

Dear Crabby,

I love staying connected to friends and family on my different social media channels. But I have to admit, this whole privacy breach with Cambridge Analytica and Facebook has me a little worried. Am I overreacting? Should I delete my Facebook account?

Thanks!
Paul P.

Dear Paul P.,

Privacy is a funny thing. We all assume we have control over it, but in reality, we’ve been losing our grip on it a little bit at a time over the years. And so now we find ourselves having to come to terms with what we’ve done. For those of you not hip to the digital world like I am, a political consulting firm called Cambridge Analytica gained access to the personal data of around 87 million Facebook users. And from there, folks are saying information was used to make targeted political ads and such; all without the users’ permission. Boy, did that get people’s panties in a bunch. So, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg received an invitation to Capitol Hill to explain to a bunch of senators, who probably have aides handle their social media, what in the blazes is going on. Well, I’ll tell ya what’s going on.

Dear Crabby sits infront of his laptop

Dear Crabby Gives Advice

Back in my day, it used to be that people didn’t sign something until they’d thoroughly read the document. Well, as my daddy always said, ‘Mr. Used-to-Be died a long time ago.’ I knew these terms of service/privacy agreements were wordy but shoot. When that one senator held up Facebook’s legal terms of service, well, it was as thick as a phone book. Now who is going to read all that before clicking the ‘Agree’ button? My guess is pretty much no one. But here’s the thing: it’s not just Facebook where this sort of privacy breach is happening. Most any platform you or I use (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) is using our personal information in some fashion. This whole Facebook thing is just the first time we’ve all paid attention to the information we’re so freely giving others. I have to wonder if Mr. Zuckerberg regrets creating this platform all those years ago in his Harvard dorm room. It can’t be easy being in the hot seat and I know I wouldn’t like all those eyes on me. But he seems to be handling it OK. I’ve only seen him squirm a few times.

So, what’s the plan for the future? Well, a couple of senators have suggested legislation that would require online platforms to get permission from users to use, share, or sell any of their personal info. In the meantime, that doesn’t mean you should start posting that stupid copyright notice on your Facebook page. You know the one I’m talking about: “In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!” For the thousandth time, there is NOTHING legally binding about this, so stop annoying all the people on your friends list.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s still lots of work to do when it comes to straightening this whole mess out. Even Zuckerberg said Facebook will be investigating “tens of thousands of apps.” But unless you’re willing to lead a more Amish lifestyle, I wouldn’t #DeleteFacebook just yet. Instead, perhaps be a little more careful what you put out there. And when in doubt, you can’t go wrong with cute pet pictures.

Happy posting!
Dear Crabby

About Dear Crabby

Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at DearCrabby@rochestermedia.com.

Comments

  1. Lyn Sieffert says:

    Excellent analysis. Thanks for staving off panic. Perhaps we can consider personal input as “intellectual property!?

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