jrick.devio.us

Goodbye, Facebook

Facebook is destroying the web, and I will have no part in it any longer.

Taking Over the Web

It's not difficult to see how Facebook is attempting to control and take over the entire world wide web. Instead of simply being a social site where you catch up on your friends, Facebook is promoting itself as a "platform" for the entire internet. So far it has been quite successful at this. Websites such as CNN have begun using features of the Facebook Platform such as Facebook Connect. Now, when you view a news article, Facebook Connect will automatically log you in to this third party website. Besides the fact of this being exceptionally dangerous from a privacy standpoint, I do not want to have my social life and various public third-party websites linked in any way. Facebook assumes that I want these features turned on by default to "enhance" my web experience. It is easy for me to see that Facebook and I do not agree on what I like to share, and therefore I have no reason to continue using it.

With all the information it owns about its users, Facebook is now looking beyond the simple Facebook.com website and is positioning itself to become the next central hub of the entire internet. Facebook will be competing with both Google and Microsoft as Mark Zuckerberg dreams of it becoming everyone's go-to website when they need information. Search is an integral part of Facebook's internal technology, and it is only a matter of time before they expand this technology and launch their own web search engine as well. But unlike Google, which only knows your previous searches from saved cookies, Facebook knows nearly every detail of its user's lives. The advertising potential that Facebook possesses will make it much more "successful" than any of its competition, to the point where it will overtake Google as king of the web.

[Aside: If you're looking for a web search engine that does not track you, try DuckDuckGo.]

Lack of Privacy

With Facebook becoming so large and controlling of its user's lives, it is scary to understand that Facebook does not respect privacy well. Mark Zuckerberg has continually stated that its millions of users want to "share by default". Rather than providing a private-by-default service with the ability to share with the world, Facebook takes the liberty of sharing your personal information with anyone (read: stalkers and advertisers). Not only that, but Facebook has intentionally obfuscated its privacy settings to make it more difficult for people to change this default behavior. While it is possible to lock down your account to be accessed by your friends only, Facebook has also been known to revert these privacy settings when it updates its website. These changes have left millions of people posting pictures and statuses which they believed were private, but were actually available to everyone.

The entire mindset of Facebook is flawed. Instead of giving the user the choice of how he wants to use the service, Mark Zuckerberg has already decided for you how you want to share your personal information. I simply will not put up with this mindset and the culture of Facebook any longer.

Feature Monstrosity

Facebook.com, as it stands today, is a steaming pile of garbage. Rather than focusing on simple, clear, and concise software, the Facebook team has mashed together every single social feature imaginable into one huge monolithic website. There is simply no good reason why updating your status and uploading your pictures should be handled by the same service. Likewise, Facebook Chat is the most unreliable form of communication I have ever had the displeasure of using. Facebook's XMPP server does not even support the most basic features (like an away status), leaving many to use the clunky web chat interface instead. Facebook also does not implement Federation (aka S2S) on its XMPP server, making it impossible for non-Facebook users to chat with their friend's Facebook XMPP address. I can not understand why Facebook includes Notes either; everything in Notes can and should be done with a blog. This list could go on and on, but I have better things I could be doing.

Alternatives

It's not my plan to avoid others; I simply do not want to continue communication using Facebook. My real friends will continue to contact me outside of Facebook; those who only do so now out of convenience can barely be called friends. I will still post my statuses to Twitter (@joshrickmar) and Identi.ca (@jrick). I will still be logged in to IM (just not Facebook Chat). I have my email open nearly all day long. And of course, I will always take a phone call.

Facebook, I hope you enjoyed the ad revenue from me, as you will not be receiving any more. You may eventually rule the web, but you will not rule me.