Ah, the dog days of summer, sticky and stagnant, similar to the way people are feeling about Facebook these days. Almost everywhere I speak as a social media expert and privacy advocate, I hear the same comment over and over again - from 18-year olds to senior citizens and everyone in between -- "I just quit Facebook." Meanwhile, Facebook stunningly continues to live in its privacy glass house. Just because they've gotten away with ten years of privacy deception and abuse, they seem to think they can continue to fool us all for another decade.
Think again, Facebook. Princeton University's research team thinks the jig is up and I'm thinking the same. When it comes to privacy, Facebook continues to misfire on all cylinders. It is time for a change, don't you think? This relationship has truly soured. It's time to get back to our real lives, which are rich and deep in their daily complexity.
That is why I am encouraging people to join the "99 Days of Freedom" campaign that's inspiring users to completely log out of Facebook for 99 days. Launched in response to Facebook's fiasco involving the company's psychology experiment to purposefully manipulate News Feeds of unsuspecting users, the campaign aims to see if people will be happier without Facebook in their lives for three months.
Granted Facebook would tell you otherwise. Just last month, the company released a series of new features to warn people about checking their privacy settings. Considering that this "warning" comes from the same company behind Deep Face, Graph Search, and Nearby Friends, which not only tracks your current location, but your location history as well, I recommend you take such PR with a large grain of salt. After all, Facebook is working on a technology that even tracks your own self-censorship on their site. And their upcoming "Listening" feature gives them unlimited access to listen to our smartphone microphones - surely they can't think we believe their privacy BS about that one?
It's the unplanned news, such as the revelation of the conscious manipulation of the emotions of users, which tells the real story. Facts such as these make the Menlo Park-based company's decision to chose a blue dinosaur, dubbed "Zuckasaurus" by the New York Times, as its animated mascot for privacy, all the more apropos. Apparently Facebook failed to realize the irony of an extinct creature as the icon for its privacy platform. Then again, maybe the company doesn't care. With Facebook you never know.
At the end of the day we are not customers to Facebook rather we are products that offer cash potential to advertisers (their true customers) based on every online move we make. Facebook knows it. We know it. Zuckasaurus knows it. Here's the chilling, simple truth. When you wake up this morning Facebook will still be tracking your every move on 50 percent of this country's most popular websites. And that's regardless of whether you're a Facebook member or not.
The dog days of summer are perfect for getting away. We are so blessed to live in our great country where capitalism and democracy create an awesome foundation. We are inventors, innovators, and conscientious champions, taking our summer holidays. The dog days of Facebook are an opportunity to build a better mousetrap that restores integrity, advances society, and has the public's best interest at heart. Let's take our 99 days off from Facebook and smell the real roses. How about 99 years?