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Murray Rosenbaum Headshot

Sorry Facebook, but I Think We Need Space

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I deleted Facebook. Well, sort of. I deactivated Facebook. Regardless, it's still big for someone my age to do so. I deactivated my Facebook not because I think my friends are annoying, or there's nothing to do on Facebook; I actually find Facebook quite useful to be honest. I deactivated my Facebook because I didn't feel like my Facebook was mine. I feel like my Facebook exists to give my personal information to Facebook, so that Facebook can sell it to other companies so that they can use more of that "smart" advertising that everyone loves and cares about.

I also deactivated my account for a much more physical reason as well. Facebook has released an announcement in May talking about Facebook's new feature, "Listen." Listen, for me, was the tipping point of Facebook trying to take over my privacy. According to a Forbes article, Listen is "a new feature for its smartphone app that can turn on users' microphones and listen to what's happening around them to identify songs playing or television being watched."

Wow. So that means I could be hanging out with my friends, with music or the TV on in the background, and if I decide to make a status, Facebook will listen and identify the show and songs for what? "The pay-off for users in allowing Facebook to microphone-lurk is that the social giant will be able to add a little tag to their status update that says they're watching an episode of Games of Thrones." So let's pretend they won't sell that info for smart advertising, then the question arises of who cares? Who is going to find that information useful?

There is also a four-minute video that was posted to YouTube called "Delete Facebook." This is what actually informed me on why I should, and did, delete/deactivate Facebook. My belief is that social media sites are meant to be for your use. You should feel in control of all aspects of what you do on any social media. As it is, I thought it was strange when friends could see where I was, if I'm on my phone, through Google maps if they clicked on my Facebook message in chat. A fantastic analogy used in the video was:

Let's pretend that Facebook is one of your friends, one of your friends that you trust with your LIFE. And then you learn that your best friend has started storing photos of you... and all your text conversations... and every site that you have ever been to... and NOW he's recording everything you say. If you're telling me you wouldn't end that relationship, you're lying to yourself and me.

One could say, "Well, that's a little wrong because Facebook said that Listen will be an opt in feature." And that is correct, you can opt out of being part of listen. Here's my real question then, did you even know about Listen until this or just a few days ago? Listen was announced nearly two and a half weeks ago at this point. Either no one cares or Facebook announced Listen in such a way to avoid attention being drawn towards it. Facebook did emphasize that it would be opt in, but how long until that silly little document called Terms of Service that you read COMPLETELY and THROUGHLY is changed so it's an unchangeable part of Facebook.

Facebook has tried so hard to be a likeable, completely connected and inseparable part of people lives, and it's done so successfully! Facebook has nearly 1.15 BILLION users! That means that 16.4 percent of the world's population is on Facebook. But now Facebook is storing, and automating all of those peoples status updates as well as their info. Matthias, the YouTuber who created the video "Delete Facebook" had another stunning analogy. Immediately after his previous example of Facebook being a friend, he moves on to say, "But guess what? Facebook isn't that friend! It's the creep that lives under the bridge, that now has ALL of your precious information, and they're selling it to other creeps, under other bridges!"

Maybe one day I'll reactivate my Facebook, but in all honesty, it's kind of nice not having a Facebook. I don't feel the need to endlessly prowl my newsfeed for funny posts or important information from friends. If something is actually important, people have my phone number or I'll find out. I even ended up asking myself, "Why am I on Facebook to begin with?" The answer is simple, everyone else is. But why are they on Facebook as well? So, until a date unknown, I push Facebook aside and am met with freedom.