Monday, May 17, 2010

Why Are Social Media Experts Quitting Facebook?

On one of my last days in San Francisco, I met with Gov 2.0 Radio host and social media practitioner Adriel Hampton or @AdrielHampton on Twitter for an early morning chat before he headed to work at the San Francisco City Attorney's Office.

I wasn't too surprised when Hampton told me he recently canceled his Facebook account. He expressed concerns about Facebook's growing "anti-democratic" actions.

One of the nation's leading social media users, the Bay Area resident is joining other high-tech heavy weights in quitting Facebook over privacy concerns. He is part of a growing chorus of influential tech users and privacy advocates leaving Facebook over the social network's latest privacy flap.

Last week, Leo Laporte, a hugely popular tech podcaster and radio host, deleted his Facebook page live on his show.

I've been thinking about whether I should join the "Quit Facebook Day" protest May 31, which happens to be the day after my birthday. Perhaps on that day, it'll be the birthday of my privacy being restored -- sans Facebook. 

It's easy to join the online protest May 31. Facebook users have posted information on how to bid farewell to Facebook for good.

What do you think? Are you quitting Facebook or are you willing to tolerate the social networking site's latest privacy gaffe? Or is leaving Facebook akin to trying to quit smoking -- you want to, but just cannot?


  1. Very good post Ted. Like others, I have become increasingly concerned with Facebook's privacy blunders and policies and it seems like its a growing concern.

    I am not sure I am ready to quite Facebook, but this latest example of "not caring what the users think" is a dis-concerning.

  2. I say again- what are YOU posting or sharing that is so private? If it is private, keep it off social media, if not let's utilize what we can to share, prosper, learn and connect! I don't think it is reasonable to 'expect' social media to 'protect' our privacy when many posts TMI (too much information!)

  3. Basically it comes down to the question "Does Facebook offer a service that I want?". Right now I am thinking, yes. I like being able to share my photos with my friends who all seem to be on Facebook. They don't do Twitter, or Flickr yet. What I would like though is to be able to share with them and keep up with them AND have my privacy from others who I haven't named. And I want that without worrying about whether someone is going to change a policy on me. In other words, I want to host it myself and I want it to be open source. I have written more about this here...

  4. Ted,
    I had debated it for weeks prior to me dropping out a few weeks ago. It was more about deactivating because I wasn't into the volume and lack of control. For me, FB is more social than I care to be part of. My goals for SM are for business purposes, so it didn't meet those goals. Twitter and LinkedIn and others are much better. THe privacy issues were coincidence for me, but did act as a final straw.

  5. Facebook may have its privacy issues that I don't agree with, but if you don't want something on the internet, then don't post it. Facebook will continue to grow and in my field, it's still a necessity.

  6. Ted, I have dramatically reduced my personal use of Facebook in recent weeks and have begun rethinking it from that perspective.

    The privacy issues are one concern - but, given the company's history of making substantive changes without regard to its users best interests, it has also been quite apparent in recent days that I need to also reconsider my campus' involvement.

    Facebook's desire to chase the dollars clearly factored into some of the recent changes. Deep pockets will continue to be able to play, while those of us with tight budgets and small (or non-existant) staffs will once again have to battle through the clutter.

    Quite frankly, the "community pages" problem is of greater practical concern to me than the privacy issue.

    That said, when I opened up my personal Facebook account, I was essentially forced into providing a cell phone number (for verification) or live with reduced functionality on the site. Facebook didn't need the number, they just wanted to build a bank of SMS revenue.

    There is no doubt that my social media strategy is changing in response to Facebook's recent changes.

  7. The government doesn't own facebook so whether or not it's "democratic" is irrelevant.

    Facebook is a private company and can make whichever policy changes according to their own prerogative. We as the consumer can choose to participate or not.

    People, in kind, are also free to protest all they wish as the beauty of capitalism works its wonders (as in the case of Domino's Pizza changing their crust).

    If you're concerned about privacy, you shouldn't be on any social network. I mean, really, who thinks any service is really private?

    I've been a facebook user since 2006 and have been very happy. I also have common sense and know that whether it's for my company or my personal life to "spin" every post and weigh the consequences, good or bad, in light of the fact that X amount of people will read it.

  8. Not every tool or network is "right" for every purpose. Align purpose with tool, and all should be good. Of course, purpose could include details like privacy, personal preference, ethics, etc.

  9. Great post Ted. I heard Leo talking about the concerns but didn't hear when he deleted his account. Most big entities on the Internet are in a constant battle with the limits of privacy and intellectual property. The fact is that the farther they can push the envelope, the more valuable they become to marketers. But Facebook sees the lessons of MySpace and they know competitors would love to be the next big thing, so they will probably be more responsive to this type of public pressure. Or maybe I'm naive :)

  10. Ted,

    This is a great post, but in all honesty I have to agree with Angela. think people are taking the concern of FB changes too far. A person should not even use social media if they are concerned about privacy and a business should not confidential information. I wrote a post about my opinion a few days ago

    Mirna Bard

  11. For me it's a love/hate approach. While I would quit Facebook over the recent changes in privacy, I fund that my friends and family are too spread out globally to return to the old days of phone and e-mail.

    When the profile settings changed, I removed all of my info since it gave me no choice. If Facebook changes a setting again I'll remove that info from my profile. While I wish I could trust Facebook and Zuckerburg with my information, they have shown that trust was just a way to get users in the door.

    Facebook can still save it self by returning privacy controls to the users instead of the advertisers.

  12. Privacy apologists make me sick. I'm one of the most public people online you'll ever find, and if you go to the right places - like the FEC and public voter education sites, you'll find highly detailed and personal information about my finances and political beliefs.
    But Wells Fargo owns the note on my house, and if they suddenly decided to make the walls transparent while I was sleeping, I might not like it. We all live by social contracts, and Facebook has decided that those don't matter. That's the issue.

  13. To be honest, I'm conflicted. I'm inclined to give up FB, but I'm concerned about becoming out of touch with one of the single most influential sources in online communications.

  14. ...and Adriel returned to Facebook.

    Nothing in life lasts forever. Nothing.