back to article Facebook is abusive. It's time to divorce it

Every relationship has its rough edges, places where actions scrape, and through constant repetition, rub raw. Those tender spots can heal if left alone and if the parties are wiling to listen. But where the irritation continues, this raw spot becomes a wound that never closes, forcing a choice between continuing pain and a …

  1. Pompous Git Silver badge

    Well-said, Simon

    Also worth reading Mark Pesce on the Farcebook issue:

    Why I quit Facebook (and you should too)

    1. JonW
      Thumb Up

      Re: Well-said, Simon

      +1000

      I committed Facey suicide a few years back when I got to 100 "Friends". I looked at the list and thought "I didn't even like you in school!" and pulled the plug.

      Regrettably, I've been sucked in again in order to access a couple of groups. However, setting up using photo ID and dedicated e-mail account isn't too painful and you can't be friended or seen by "Friends of Friends" if you have no friends....How Life mirrors Facebook :)

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: Well-said, Simon

        Photo ID? What what what? They send someone round to check your face matches the picture you submit??

    2. Solarflare

      Re: Well-said, Simon

      That link doesn't work, it has a trailing ". Although if that is the same Mark 'Misandrist' Pesce who writes for El Reg occasionally, I'll count me being unable to immediately read his article as a blessing...

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Well-said, Simon

        "That link doesn't work, it has a trailing ""

        Try this If he hates men that's his problem and doesn't seem to have any bearing on the issue in the headpost.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well-said, Simon

      Well-said, Simon

      Also worth reading Mark Pesce on the Farcebook issue:

      Why I quit Facebook (and you should too)

      (the link is corrected in the above :) )

      I'd venture one massive caveat regarding that linked article, though: it makes the mistake of considering Google less dangerous. The reality is that Google has been even harder at work to get its grubby paws on your life as it also reads your email, joins Facebook in watching what you get up to on the Net (to put it simply, every Facebook and Google icon you see on a web page can be a spy) and keeps track of what you search for.

      "Social" media is anything but, because it was designed by what DSM IV would class as psychopaths...

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "t makes the mistake of considering Google less dangerous"

        There's something worse, Pesce writes "Privacy is dangerous, but privacy is not criminal", although he also writes "Privacy is the foundation of freedom".

        There's really nothing "dangerous" in privacy - which doesn't really mean "keep hidden from others our dirty, nasty habits" (that's better defined by hypocrisy). It's just to be conscious there's a private space (at several levels - i.e. personal, coupe, family, etc.) where we can live and be ourselves without peers and social pressure. Privacy defines us as a "person", and not just an element of a group.

        It's no surprise in continental Europe privacy became more important than in the USA (and many Anglo-saxon countries) - because in continental Europe Fascism, Nazism and Communism tried to remove it wholly, and force everybody to be part of controlled groups which didn't allow for any individuality (but for the leaders, of course, just as Zuckerberg, Brin, Page, Schmidt privacy is important, but yours is not), thereby people understood what the loss of privacy means - that's actually dangerous, not vice versa.

        Privacy cannot be defined with a "negation" as in "not criminal" - it's the removal and loss of privacy which is criminal.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: "t makes the mistake of considering Google less dangerous"

          "There's really nothing "dangerous" in privacy ... Privacy defines us as a "person", and not just an element of a group."
          And it's that which makes privacy dangerous... to the Elite that rules us.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well-said, Simon

        If I weren't lazy, I'd pull up my copy of the DSM and check... I wholeheartedly agree though.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well-said, Simon

        "(to put it simply, every Facebook and Google icon you see on a web page can be a spy)"

        Semi-false: _Is_ a spy as the icon almost never appears by itself, there's always a spy script attached to it, fetched directly from FB/Google site.

        Sole intention is to spy on you _on whatever page you are on_.

        Both FB and Google even create phantom user accounts to track those people who don't have an account. Whatever to collect data to sell.

      4. ldjfaskjla

        Re: Well-said, Simon

        The DSM doesn't classify anyone as a psychopath (it's not even a diagnosis). Sociopath on the other hand...

    4. Thought About IT

      Re: Well-said, Simon

      If the dangers of trusting Facebook with our data were not already apparent, this article reveals how their data were used to influence Brexit and Trump's election using techniques developed for psychological warfare by Cambridge Analytica.

      1. Wayland Bronze badge

        Re: Well-said, Simon

        THought About IT, that Guardian article is written by MI5. Remember MI5 were batting for Remain as were almost all the media and government. MI5 even arranged the 'death' of an MP to swing it for Remain but although that had a huge influence it still ultimately failed.

        Terry is just making the best of a bad job. She stood back during the BREXIT vote and stepped in when it was over. All the EU rules will still apply except they will be reworded for the UK. The merger of our military into the EU is still happening. BREXIT will be reversible.

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    5. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      WTF?

      Huh?

      Another Facebook hit piece, yet The Register still hasn't covered the now several-day-old story about the US Department of Justice opening a criminal investigation of Uber?

      Following lawsuit and embarrassing viral video, Uber hit with DOJ investigation

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Huh?

        I don't see any "Share on Uber" or "Login using your Uber account" on any of the websites I visit...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Re: Huh?

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/about/company/contact/

        Scroll down, Press releases and news tips.

        Submit link to article.

        1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
          WTF?

          Lost Re: Huh?

          Did. Last week. Got a reply claiming they were working on it.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Lost Huh?

            What the fuck indeed.

            Did you see the timestamp on that article? Friday fucking afternoon! Shirley ElReg staff are allowed to take the weekend off?

            Symptom of kids today: "I want it NOW!" ::stamps foot::

      3. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: The Man Who Fell To Earth

        We covered Uber here.

        C.

    6. MyffyW Silver badge

      Unlucky Mr Z

      When it comes to unburdening my emotional baggage online I take to the comments section of El Reg.

      Facebook? I've heard of it. Never been tempted.

    7. GBH

      Re: Well-said, Simon

      Hi PG, link does work, site not found...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

    Many started out with good intent but seem to have gone over to the dark side and become just channels for anti-social rants, threats and worse.

    Give them all up and get your life back.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

      Just read the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons. The social media companies are exactly like the AI in these novels. Hiding between the cracks and leaching from us every time we move from one place to another. They have delivered a couple of "advancements", but only for their nefarious needs. So they can start leaching off us. Their moral level is about the same too.

      One thing I would love to see would be a Shrike making a thorough inspection of the Facebook HQ. Pity that this (for now) is just a figment of my imagination.

      1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

        Or read READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline.

        In that novel, the social media giant is largely benevolent due to the ambitions of its founder, but it's in an advanced state of being the only 'real world' and a less benevolent corporation wants control.

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

      And as a bonus, for UKers, with upcoming elections & likely massive ad budgets spent on social media, you will avoid lots of election related ads / opinion pieces etc if you avoid social media

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

        Exactly. I've long since decided which of the parties I despise least, and which ones I can hold my nose and vote for -- if I have to -- in order to keep out the ones I despise most. If any of them want me to change my mind after all these decades then they're going to have to make some significant changes to their manifestos, and convince me that they're not doing so cynically. So far this time round there's no sign of that in the junk mail stuffed through my door, and if they can't manage it there then I'm not going to chase some transitory online targeted ad to look for it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: which of the parties ... I can hold my nose and vote for

          In reality, you vote for an MP, not a party, although MP's usually do come with party affiliations.

          Sometimes the best candidate for MP may not be a member of your usually preferred party.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

          The problem comes when you realize NONE of the choices available are worth it. If you choices are down to a demon, a devil, and a mind flayer, people get desperate.

          1. Meph

            Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

            @Charles 9

            I'll take the devil in that lineup. At least you can make a deal with a lawful evil type, and be able to expect that the deal will be upheld. Just be very sure to read the fine print!

        3. Grunchy

          Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

          Rich 11: there's a tragedy about democratic voting wherein one is allowed to cast votes only in support of one candidate; even though most often, none of the candidates are all that acceptable.

          My proposal is to permit the choice of casting a negative vote. The premise is that if enough people are PO'd enough about a candidate that they achieve a net-negative vote (more votes cast against them than for them), then they are declared un-electable.

          Here's the best part: let's say many people hate all of the offered candidates, let's say it was Hillary vs Donald. Well in this scenario, it is highly likely that BOTH candidates would generate net-negative results, and so both would be declared un-electable.

          In other words -------

          neither candidate would win, and the election would have to be a do-over, with new candidates.

          And there's the possibility of a distant, third runner who somehow squeaks in with +5 votes, becomes declared King of the Kountry.

          (I've had people tell me this idea is ridiculous, but I promise you, there is precedent: sometimes if you answer a customer satisfaction survey they allow you to craft your response on a scale from "highly satisfied" to "highly dissatisfied". Somehow this isn't too complex to judge your satisfaction with a burger stand; yet I'm told it's far too complex for selecting an elected official. Hmm, I'm not convinced.)

          1. Meph

            Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

            @Grunchy

            The fatal flaw in current democratic process, is that it's nothing more than a popularity contest. Political types make sweeping promises based on what they think the bulk of their constituents want, and frequently have no intention of following through. They will generally have a plausible excuse to hand so that they can be re-elected again and again.

            I'd personally like to see politicians apply directly for cabinet positions. John Smith QC wants to be lord high bean counter, so instead of policy and promises, he needs to submit a document outlining his skills and experience in big business finance. The public can then vote on who has the best apparent skillset for each key position, and then perhaps the first runner up can be part of the wider ministerial pool, both for purposes of coverage in case of illness or incapacitation, and for the normal checks and balances that we westerners prefer. This would not only stifle the whole popularity contest debacle, but also potentially abolish party politics. I personally feel that you don't necessarily need to like the person running the show, so long as they have the skillset to run it well.

            1. Wayland Bronze badge

              Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

              Meph,

              The social media allows an AI to tailor the promises just for your desires. Different people can be made different contradictory promises. Well not promises just misleading suggestions that actually mean nothing.

          2. Kiwi Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

            My proposal is to permit the choice of casting a negative vote

            I'd be in for this!

            And maybe.. Maybe there could be a level of "vote them out of the country" as well? Ie if all votes against them are negative and there's enough of them, they take the hint and bugger off...

            /me queues up Motorhead's "Traitor" followed by "Sweet Revenge"

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

        "with upcoming elections & likely massive ad budgets spent on social media"

        And a corollary: Do you *REALLY* want social media and their evil infrastructure INFLUENCING elections? The 'lame-stream' media is bad enough already. But they don't know the details of YOUR life. The 'big brother' nature of knowing EVERYTHING about you, applied to an AI algorithm, and THEN targeting you with specific political advertisements in order to MANIPULATE your voting pattern... well that 'sentence' lacks a verb but I think the rest is obvious.

        "Just Say NO" indeed.

        /me plays 'Uprising' by Muse - gotta love that 'Dr. Who' mono-synth solo opening

        1. Wayland Bronze badge

          Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

          bombastic bob, that MUSE is psychological torture. You've just grown accustomed to it like a poison.

    3. jgarbo

      Re: Just say NO to Social Media sites/apps

      Ever consider that Facebook *was* their life? Nothing to get back to.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did you see his shared Sedan photo on Facebook...

    .. or on his own hosted webserver?

    That's your problem right there.

    People are narcissistic and cheap.

    People are prepared to have their lives sold for ease of use and cost-free.

  4. chrismevans

    Such a true reflection of a sad world

    Simon, so true. You hit the nail on the head here when you highlight how Facebook has become intrinsic to many organisations' businesses. Think of the schools, colleges, pubs, shops, etc that direct you to their Facebook page for information. That easy solution to not building your own website has ensnared these organisations into something they can almost certainly not get out of without serious financial investment.

    Facebook has transformed from an interesting social experiment to something not far off a dystopian nightmare. What right-minded company continues to claim they will "police" videos of hangings, murders and suicides without having a moderate before publish policy? one that is interested purely in profits, I think we'll find, and not the human impact of their greed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

      You hit the nail on the head here when you highlight how Facebook has become intrinsic to many organisations' businesses. Think of the schools, colleges, pubs, shops, etc that direct you to their Facebook page for information. That easy solution to not building your own website has ensnared these organisations into something they can almost certainly not get out of without serious financial investment.

      Any company that forces clients to contact them via a medium that forces them to screw over their own privacy is effectively in breach of EU (and UK) Data Protection rules, because that falls under non-voluntary disclosure. In addition, a little known problem with the use of Gmail by companies is that email received from the public must be protected - by handing it off to Google to have a good rummage in the content they commit a breach as well as they have not sought permission from that user to do so.

      At present especially the Google thing is kept quiet to prevent a trade war, but I suspect that won't be the case come September when the EU Art 29 working party revisits the Privacy Shield excuse.

      However, there's nothing stopping anyone to file a complaint with the company in question and follow it up with the ICO - they're already looking for complaints about such companies because that gives them the incentive to launch a more generic investigation without being accused of being on a witch hunt.

      Complain, and cc the ICO. Silence is what makes bad things grow.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

        I refuse to use any service which tries to treats me as a product, this is especially bad when by widely used business networking sites, like linkin, and many lazy retail sites!

        I use several security filters including NoScript and uMatrix to stop all sites, including lazy retailers from bundling spying by demographics and analytics businesses, who probably sell the information to others too! One I recently spotted was iesnoop.com on a sports nutrient retail site payment page, when it was mainly seen previous on betting sites!

        I think a lot of this blatant disregard for privacy is from r-type (Rabbit) human behaviour, which is disloyal and promiscuous, so often deceitful and immoral. The obvious, significant, left-wing bias in 'social' and search sites, including the fake-fake-news censorship, while often ignoring genuinely damaging stuff, in Facebook, Twitter and Google strongly suggests r-types driving business policy there!

        1. Spoonguard
          Devil

          Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

          disloyal and promiscuous

          couldn't bring yourself to say "Sinful Fornication", could you? It would be best to honourably euthanise yourself now before the islamomarxist death squads get you for abusing pseudo-science.

          1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

            Islamomarxist? Surely a non-thing?

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

              Marx was a muslim, it was on Breitbart - fact

        2. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

          I refuse to use any service which tries to treats me as a product, this is especially bad when by widely used business networking sites, like linkin, and many lazy retail sites!

          But interestingly, you still read The Register. We're the products here, nice literate well educated professionals with disposable income ready to be advertised to.

          1. Outer mongolian custard monster from outer space (honest)
            Joke

            Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

            Adverts? *looks about*... *disables ad block*...

            Oh yeah, as you were.

            1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

              Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

              But the register is able to use advanced artificial intelligence to monitor the mental and emotional state of its readers.

              Generally pissed off, bored and cynical

              1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

                Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

                Generally pissed off, bored and cynical

                In other words, we're all a bit Dabbsy.

                Sounds about right.

              2. e^iπ+1=0

                Up and down votes

                "the register is able to use advanced artificial intelligence to monitor the mental and emotional state of its readers."

                Up and down votes given and received (even as AC) are all used to profile us.

            2. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

              "Adverts? *looks about*... *disables ad block*...

              Oh yeah, as you were."

              Beat me to it you custard! Have another upvote.

            3. cosmogoblin

              Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

              Still wondering how a publication which relies solely on advertising money - AND knows that its main userbase uses probably, on average, more than 1 ad-blocker - survives...

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

        "At present especially the Google thing is kept quiet to prevent a trade war, but I suspect that won't be the case come September when the EU Art 29 working party revisits the Privacy Shield excuse."

        And just wait until next May when GDPR comes into play.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

          And just wait until next May when GDPR comes into play.

          You really think the navel-gazing EU politicos will create a fire-fight with the US government? Trump has already shown that he's governing primarily for billionaires and mega-business, if the EU were to wave a feather duster at Google, Facebook, or Microsoft he'd be piling the pressure on to the weak Europeans.

          GDPR will be used mainly against companies headquartered in nations whose governments won't take a "national economic interest" position. So big US companies are safe. French, Spanish, Italian companies are safe. Can't speak for the German position, but UK companies will obviously be targeted by the EU, and the UK government will wring its hands and do nothing.

          Even if the EU do play hard ball, the global tech majors have created "soft monopolies" that enable them to punish EU consumers when eventually forced into "complying with EU demands", in their particular areas of strength, be that search, content delivery, mobile tech, social communication, desktop & productivity. With (in the real world) few competitors to the market leaders in their areas of dominance, people believe that there's nowhere to go. If for example, you don't like Facebook, you could move to the tumbleweed strewn wasteland of Google+. If you don't like Slurp's behaviour, you could use Linux and Libre Office.

          GDPR would be great if enforced universally and even handedly. You know as well as I do that interpretation will be patchy, enforcement variable, and penalties and remedies contradictory.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

            "GDPR"

            I keep reading that as German Democratic Peoples Republic. I wonder why?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              I keep reading that as German Democratic Peoples Republic

              Because you're lame in history.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

            You really think the navel-gazing EU politicos will create a fire-fight with the US government? Trump has already shown that he's governing primarily for billionaires and mega-business, if the EU were to wave a feather duster at Google, Facebook, or Microsoft he'd be piling the pressure on to the weak Europeans.

            I don't know if you've noticed it, but the EU seems to have discovered that privacy laws form quite a nice alternative revenue stream. Since these US data thieves can't actually provide EU privacy law compliant services, they have to contract EU outfits to sell to EU businesses. Which means they have to spend money in Europe which is taxable and not hidden offshore.

            So, no, the EU will not put up a fight - it will simply point out that these arrangements are compliant, not really mention the tax thing and generally calmly watch the money roll in.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

      /*Think of the schools, colleges, pubs, shops, etc that direct you to their Facebook page for information*/

      Where I ork is rabidly keen on 'engaging the public via Facebook' since they think it lets them push their views quickly and easily to the punters.

      I pointed out that they are somewhat ceding Facebook the ability to portray their brand in any way Facebook likes, even to their detriment (in effect, partially handing brand awareness over to Facebook).

      A short pause was had and then someone chirped up 'But they would never do that!'

      I gave up at that point.

    3. WisdomQuest

      Re: Such a true reflection of a sad world

      There actually is an alternative now with WebSonar. Check out mylibraries.online.

  5. jake Silver badge

    Life without facebook is easy!

    How easy? Well, I've never used it. Doesn't get much easier than that!

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Life without facebook is easy!

      Right. When I opened it the first time because everybody was babbling about it, I looked at it an thought "??? what's useful for??? Insert and publish a lot of private details for what reason? Cui prodest?". Never gave a second look.

      But it is true being an "Internet for dummies" it attracted people who found a message board, chat, photo sharing, etc. in a single site, plus the "friend/like" thing that for many is worse than a bright light for a moth.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Life without facebook is easy!

          >Quite a few of us realised this up front.

          Techies perhaps. Everyone else just thinks it is web-based email. The seductiveness of receiving email was documented way back by "You've Got Mail." The more you share, the more "mail" you get. The larger the social network, the more constant the stream of affirmation.

          It is a sad reflection of where people get their self-worth, even before you get to the privacy invasion.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Life without facebook is easy!

          It gets much worse than that. Many realize the costs AND DON'T CARE. It's like risk takers and drug users. Who wants to live forever?

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Life without facebook is easy!

        "But it is true being an "Internet for dummies" it attracted people who found a message board, chat, photo sharing, etc. in a single site, plus the "friend/like" thing that for many is worse than a bright light for a moth."

        It's AOL for millennials.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Life without facebook is easy!

      "Never use Faceb[ook,itch]"

      it goes along with:

      a) never start smoking

      b) never use I.V. drugs

      c) never drive while drunk

      etc.

      Is there going to be a REHAB for FACEB[itch,ook] addicts?

  6. Pompous Git Silver badge

    "People are narcissistic and cheap."
    Some certainly are, but I suspect not the majority. Some are conceited and contemptuous, but we won't go there... yet...

    1. jake Silver badge
      Pint

      And some are ...

      ... pompous gits?

      Have a beer, compadre ;-)

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: And some are ...

        Indeed and being the World's Most Pompous Git was something of an achievement :-)

        I'll take a pass on the beer since I have a glass of semillon chardonnay to hand and I raise it in salute!

        BTW, when did I become your godfather???

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: And some are ...

          The term has mutated (in Californian Spanglish) to mean, in essence, "somebody I'd have a beer with". Don't worry, friendship is neither necessary nor implied.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: And some are ...

            "Don't worry, friendship is neither necessary nor implied."
            Not at all worried and I suspect friendship would be a distinct possibility if we were on the same continent. I use the word "friend" in a distinctly different sense than FB "friend". Back when the Interwebs were considerably less crowded I made several international friends. One came all the way from Canada to help build my house and another from the UK ostensibly for the cricket, but got bored and came to visit me instead. One even settled here just last month.

            Live long and prosper...

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: And some are ...

          "semillon chardonnay"

          As long as it's not sweet, buttery or oaky ... Winery/winemaker/vineyard/vintage?

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: And some are ...

            "As long as it's not sweet, buttery or oaky ... Winery/winemaker/vineyard/vintage?"
            I'm actually quite fond of buttery in my chardonnays. As for vintage, this is merely chateau cardboard I'm afraid. De Bortoli who do that better than most and it's far too young albeit nicely dry. Would you prefer I go to the cellar for some Cassegrain or Rousebout Rousey?

            1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

              Re: And some are ...

              Would you prefer I go to the cellar for some Cassegrain or Rousebout Rousey?

              Well, I prefer their dry whites - not so fond of their reds but that's more because I'm not really a red wine drinker in general.

              That said, I know where I buy my more upmarket plonk :).

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: And some are ...

                "Well, I prefer their dry whites "
                While I very much like dry whites, especially chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, I also like the reds, especially shiraz. Unfortunately the reds don't like me very much: too much histamine.

                Somewhat serendipitously, one of the sales ladies at my wine supplier just phoned. They keep a profile on my drinking habits and when they phone it's because they have something special on offer. I'd better call her back... Later...

                1. Khaptain Silver badge

                  Re: And some are ...

                  If you truly want a decent dry white then it has to be a Pouilly Fuissé ( Maconnais/Burgundy) or a Pouilly Fumé ( Loire).. Even though we might assume that they are from the same region they are not but both are excellent..

                  A slight preference for the Pouilly Fumé though...

                  1. tiggity Silver badge

                    Re: And some are ...

                    Decent dry whites....

                    NZ Sauvignon Blanc is your friend

                    There may be better white wines at stratospheric prices, but in the sort of price range your average wine buying punter might think reasonable(ish) then they are way ahead on zingy fruity flavour per quid spent.

                    Though if you are not a powerful flavour fan & want something insipid, obviously avoid it

            2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: And some are ...

              I'm actually quite fond of buttery in my chardonnays.

              White wine? Isn't that what you use for cleaning red wine stains off things?

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: And some are ...

                "White wine? Isn't that what you use for cleaning red wine stains off things?"
                No, you use salt or baking soda. Why waste wine of any colour if it's worth drinking?

  7. Jove Bronze badge

    That read exactly like the Women's page on a daily rag.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      With the difference that this article is actually important.

      My wife recently put an end to her FB page, which she had started against my counsel because she decided that she wanted a way to keep our friends informed while we were on our vacation to the US in 2014. It was useful for that, and the experiment should have ended there, but my wife continued using Facebook after that, despite my telling her that it was over.

      She spent more and more time on it, until, in February this year, she told me that she had realized that FB was basically making her angry and annoyed with people. She had realized that she had started getting into the habit of angrily responding to stupid comments and that is when she decided that things had gone far enough and she closed down her profile.

      Now she spends her time on Pinterest, where there is a wealth of interesting content. She's also taken the decision to never read the comments.

      All in all, a useful experience. Now I am sure that FB will never enter our house again.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Pintrest

        A walled garden copyright violator. You need to sign up to see anything, It's nearly impossible to click on images' original source. It's a parasite.

        Wordpress might in theory be able to replace Facebook, or if the info is ONLY for friends/relatives just use email!

        Anyone used password protected / subscriber only pages on Wordpress to make parts private to family?

        Certainly for a school / business/ charity /broadcaster it's less than $100 a year to have a domain and hosting and setup up your own wordpress copy.

        I'm baffled at organisations that ALREADY have a huge IT dept and web sites with user content sections promoting Twitter and Facebook. (BBC, RTE etc)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pintrest

          A walled garden copyright violator. You need to sign up to see anything, It's nearly impossible to click on images' original source. It's a parasite.

          Oh yes. US Copyright Law (Title 17), Chapter 5 "Infringement of copyright", section 506 "Criminal offenses", paragraph (d):

          Fraudulent Removal of Copyright Notice.—Any person who, with fraudulent intent, removes or alters any notice of copyright appearing on a copy of a copyrighted work shall be fined not more than $2,500.

          Given that FB pushes out images at a rate of millions per day and the US clocks this fine per instance that would be enough to close the shop and force Zuck to give back his land + houses to the natives.

          Why? Because Facebook actively removes all EXIF information, including the explicitly labelled "copyright" tag. How do they get away with it? Well, first of all, nobody checks this (I discovered it by accident because I wanted to know who owned a copyright as I liked an image) so FB can claim it's "accidental" (feel free to doubt that as much as I do), and secondly because it's impossible to get through to FB in a way that confirms they got the message and can thus no longer claim innocence.

          1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

            Re: Pintrest

            I like the plan, and I'm amazed that Pinterest hasn't been closed down, given the generally feeling in corporate America that copyright law was handed down by Gahd as an appendix to the Ten Commandments.

            But I think the get-out is 'with fraudulent intent' - do people remove the copyright tags so they can financially benefit, or to pass it off as their own? Damn!

          2. LDS Silver badge

            "Facebook actively removes all EXIF information" - including the copyright tag

            Actually, Facebook slurps all the EXIF information, and removes them when the image is published so other slurpers can't get them as well.

            Anyway, it's not "fraudulent" because the product who signed the TOS already waived that right. And the product accepted also to bear the liability if he or she posted someone's else copyrighted image without permission.

            The Zuckerdroids, especially the legal department, are dangerous but not stupid (and even more dangerous because of that).

            That's also how Google behaves with all that copyrighted material posted on YouTube... all you can do is sending a DMCA takedown notice.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Facebook actively removes all EXIF information" - including the copyright tag

              IANAL, but I'm not sure legal liability works like that. (#) Pretty sure if I set up a company that knows- or should know- damn well that the majority of its business will be provided by people dealing in or uploading stolen or pirated goods, that any attempt to disclaim liability on my part via TOS that Billy Burglar "agreed" to isn't going to wash in court.

              Of course, Facebook isn't outright fraudulent in that sense, but to suggest that they're perfectly safe from prosection just because they have a "user accepts all liability" clause is improbable.

              More likely (IMHO) that Zuckerberg's lawyers know that any punishments or fines for them will be relatively minor next to the potential value of the data.

              (#) I've noted that geek/tech-oriented users- most notably Slashdot- like to think that they know more about the law than they do, or rather, that they think the law works like a fixed set of rules that can be cleverly gamed via spurious/disingenuous arguments, and that- most notably- the bits they don't know can be "logically" deduced from half shreds of knowledge. Of course, the law isn't like that- to know the law, you have to know the law; it's not mathematics.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Facebook actively removes all EXIF information" - including the copyright tag

                "More likely (IMHO) that Zuckerberg's lawyers know that any punishments or fines for them will be relatively minor next to the potential value of the data."

                If you look at some of the fines meted out to the large companies, a fine of 5% of turnover can be large in absolute terms, but from their point of view, if they are only caught once every 5 years, that's only 1% per annum, which can be absorbed as a standard cost of doing business.

              2. LDS Silver badge

                Re: "Facebook actively removes all EXIF information" - including the copyright tag

                See http://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/05/05/us_copyright_law/.

            2. DaddyHoggy

              Re: "Facebook actively removes all EXIF information" - including the copyright tag

              Well FB doesn't get much from the EXIF data of my photographic uploads as they're often scans from my traditional film cameras, but, importantly, they leave the Copyright notification alone in the IPTC info - so if you remember to add it before you upload it - it's still there when FB have crunched it - unlikely 'reputable' websites like the BBC-send-us-your-photographs-News, who have stripped my IPTC info off every time (so I no longer offer them my imagery).

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Facebook actively removes all EXIF information" - including the copyright tag

              Actually, Facebook slurps all the EXIF information, and removes them when the image is published so other slurpers can't get them as well.

              Anyway, it's not "fraudulent" because the product who signed the TOS already waived that right. And the product accepted also to bear the liability if he or she posted someone's else copyrighted image without permission.

              Err, no, it doesn't work that way, partially because even FB would not dare to put conditions in their Terms that would see them lose all the glossies and magazines.

              Unless you EXPLICITLY re-assign copyright, copyright remains with you. Unless you EXPLICITLY permit changing a copyright notice, nobody has the right to mess with it. Both these conditions are not met or referred to in the Terms as supplied by Facebook (and Google, by the way), those merely hand FB and Google rights to the images (in Google's case into perpetuity) so they can use them at will and even alter them.

              There is no statement in FB's Terms that re-assigns copyright to them, nor is there a statement in there that permits FB to alter your copyright notice, ergo it is "accidentally" breaking copyright law until someone formally (and publicly) serves them a notice to desist at which point it becomes intentional - and the person serving notice probably has their account closed.

          3. fuzzie

            Re: Pintrest

            Doesn't the Facebook T&Cs imply that you give them full rights to anything you upload? If that is indeed the case, then you've essentially ceded copyright and the claim in the EXIF data would be meaningless :( But then... IANAL.

            1. Vic

              Re: Pintrest

              If that is indeed the case, then you've essentially ceded copyright and the claim in the EXIF data would be meaningless

              Except, of course, that you can't possible cede copyright you do not own...

              Vic.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Pintrest

              Doesn't the Facebook T&Cs imply that you give them full rights to anything you upload? If that is indeed the case, then you've essentially ceded copyright and the claim in the EXIF data would be meaningless

              Not quite. You can grant a right to use without granting a right to alter your copyright notices - they are separate issues. Buy any stock photo and look at the EXIF data - you have bought the right to use, but most stock photos don't come with a right to re-sell the image, for that you have to go back to the copyright holder - which you can find in the EXIF data unless Facebook washed it. You could see FB as a big image laundering machine - you won't be able to see where the image originates and FB can use it as much as it likes because any repercussions will be slope-shouldered onto the victims users.

              Neat, isn't it? Make a lot of money, get free images and roll all the legal issues off onto the users.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Pintrest

          "Certainly for a school / business/ charity /broadcaster it's less than $100 a year to have a domain and hosting and setup up your own wordpress copy."

          In the UK one free option is http://www.btck.co.uk/ for those who qualify.

        3. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Pintrest

          "A walled garden copyright violator. You need to sign up to see anything, It's nearly impossible to click on images' original source."

          Heavens, you're not trying to use it without Greasemonkey (or whatever it may be called on non-Firefox), are you? That and the "Pinterest without registration" script will take care of that for you.

          I don't know how people can tolerate the web in its native form. It takes several addons to make it non-annoying enough to keep me from yelling at the screen (not that it would help). Greasemonkey with a handful of user scripts is just one of many... I'm down to 21 extensions now, as I've cut out the non-essential ones, but that's as low as I can go. About half are to remove Firefox annoyances and add back features they removed according to their policy of never making good decisions, with the other half stripping the garbage out of the web itself and cheerfully laying waste to the carefully planned "design" of various sites.

          I don't know what I will do if the upcoming FF changes render most of the first kind of addon unusable. Long term, I mean; in the short term, I can use the LTSB of FF. Pale Moon or Seamonkey?

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Pintrest

            "LTSB of FF. Pale Moon or Seamonkey"

            This is FOSS, not Redmond. The industry standard term is ESR ... e.g.:

            http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/firefox/releases/latest-esr/README.txt

        4. DaddyHoggy

          Re: Pintrest

          My writers group has a website powered by Wordpress, we have a public facing presence (no login required), an alumni area (can be seen and used by alumni and current members) and a secondary login for current members for a few pages kept entirely hidden from everybody else.

          It seems to work quite well.

          Although the group has also started experimenting with Slack and that seems to be taking over from that bit of our website for creative exchanges.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: "Did you get burgled while you were away"

          No, because my wife might have had an FB profile, but she was not stupid enough to put her name on it, not did she put any readily-identifiable information in it. There were the photos, of course, but they were of us in the US, not of us in front of our house.

          Finally, there's also the fact that we have a burglar alarm which is linked to an APSAD P3-level central (has the authority to call the police).

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: "Did you get burgled while you were away"

            Ha.

            Message at 15:14: "hi all just arrived at LAX, long queue, homeland security checking laptops. Hope we don't miss our connection lol xxxx"

            Message at 17:30: "No Homeland Security we not checking laptops. We, er, they were simply enforcing security of the United States Of America, Land Of The Free and did not force me to hand over social media login passwords at any point. Also they were very courteous and handsome."

            Message at 17:35: "funny I don't remember writing that last message, have I been hacked??!?!"

            Message at 17:36: "Yes I definitely did write that. Apologies, nothing to see here, move along. I see I am posting from the LAX Airport Hilton. BRB"

            Conversation ends.

          2. Kiwi Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: "Did you get burgled while you were away"

            Finally, there's also the fact that we have a burglar alarm which is linked to an APSAD P3-level central (has the authority to call the police).

            Burglar alarms are only good for insurance policies and giving the neighbours something to ignore. And they may stop the less serious burglars.

            The more serious ones know that the police response times to burglar-on-premesis-thretening-residents is 5 minutes or more, and that the police have "more important things to do" than worry about burglars at an unoccupied property. They also know that in all but a few neighbourhoods people will not bother to pay any attention, except maybe to make a noise complaint to the local council.

            And when a house is unoccupied for several days, and in a rich enough neighbourhood that the police would actually respond, they generate "false alarms" to get the cops sick of coming out to check the place. A few of those in a night and the response times go from 2 minutes to infinity. Carry them on over the second night and the neighbours take action to prevent the noise from bothering them any further, like destroying external sirens.

            Cameras may help some, but only if a) of a non-stupid resolution, b) in a sufficiently lit area and c) the perp isn't going to extreme lengths to disguise themselves, like wearing a generic hoodie and sunglasses.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "wanted a way to keep our friends informed while we were on our vacation"

        Frankly, when I'm on vacation, I'm too busy to enjoy the vacation to have time to keep my friend informed. Even in the relaxing moments I usually have better to do. Vacations are also a good way to cut ties with your everyday life for a while, leaving everything behind, and immerse into a different one, and let it enrich you. Later I could share it with some friends truly interested, or maybe not. There are experiences I can't really share.

        The only person I have unluckily to keep informed is my mum, to tell her I wasn't kidnapped by Somali pirates or drug cartels already, and, no, there were not terrorists nor haunted mummies while I was visiting the pyramids, Indian or Chinese food didn't kill me yet, the plane didn't crash, nor I was detained by the TSA in Guantanamo on Trump's order.

        1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

          Re: "wanted a way to keep our friends informed while we were on our vacation"

          I still write postcards.

          Okay, I always take along a sheaf of address labels* because having to write the address is the part that bothers me. And having legible adresses on them virtually guarantees that they reach their destination.

          People usually like finding a nice postcard in their mail, everything else these days is stuff like bills or junk mail.

          * Using a mailing list that started as a SuperBase database on a C64 way back when and went through several reincarnations since.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Kiwi Silver badge

            Re: "wanted a way to keep our friends informed while we were on our vacation"

            People usually like finding a nice postcard in their mail, everything else these days is stuff like bills or junk mail.

            If you're a friend of mine miffed that I did not comment on your postcard, please remember - mail to PO box only. There's so much postcard-format junkmail these days I probably though it was something from another realestate agent or telco, and binned it!

            (Such a shame too, postcards could be quite nice :) )

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      "That read exactly like the Women's page on a daily rag."

      thanks for that image, now I need brain bleach.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's like a drug.

    First it suckers you in with connecting with people you have known or know.

    Then you start seeing what people are doing and share what you are doing.

    After that it's a popularity contest where people try to out do each other depending on personality.

    You then no longer communicate with people that you used to because now you do it through Facebook.

    Then you are hooked with no clear path to escape.

    Myself and my partner left Facebook a few years ago and never looked back. The only sad thing is relatives and friends who share on Facebook but forget you're not on it but then again it's no big deal as you make the effort with people you care about as they do with you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      First it suckers you in with connecting with people you have known or know.

      Then you start seeing what people are doing and share what you are doing.

      .. and it's at that point Facebook gets to scam its way around privacy laws. You see, it would have to ask your permission to get more of your personal data and use it, but there are no legal obligations surrounding the data about you it obtains from your friends.

      To be honest, it's a brilliant scam. It's still a scam, but trust an American to find a truck-sized loophole in law and monetise the hell out of it before it gets plugged.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "there are no legal obligations surrounding the data about you it obtains from your friends"

        How many countries does this apply in, or is it just an example of an American business assuming they can always do things The American Way throughout the world until they get slapped down?

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "but there are no legal obligations surrounding the data about you it obtains from your friends."

        Yes, there is. There is exactly the same obligations on the use and security of personal data, no matter the source. At least in my jurisdiction. Maybe it's different in yours.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem is...

    The low hanging fruit in your life that put everything on FB about you. They don't listen to anyone or read the Reg, so don't get it. They abuse Photo Tags to mug everyone else into reading the crap too! Talk about Clusterfuck!

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: The problem is...

      The OTHER problem is OTHER people posting YOUR info and photos etc on WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc.

      Or their children.

      That should be illegal.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The problem is...

        Except they have two outs.

        If you're facing the camera, you're implying consent which waives your privacy (out #1).

        If you're NOT facing the camera, you're almost certainly in a public setting where privacy is not a given and therefore cannot be assumed (out #2).

        1. Kiwi Silver badge

          Re: The problem is...

          If you're facing the camera, you're implying consent which waives your privacy (out #1).

          [citation needed[

          To put it simply, if you see a photo of me, you can automatically know that my consent was not given. Facing the camera or not.

          Also, if what you say was true than all those cases of "revenge porn" would end there and then. "Was the victim facing the camera? Then she consented!", and so many other cases where a person's photo has been taken without their permission,whether or not they knew the camera was taking a picture of them (it's not easy to tell whether or not you'll be in frame when someone is pointing camera in your general direction, or knowing when the shutter is released (except for flash).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The problem is...

            Simply because no one bothered to TRY that angle. Because if someone REALLY played hardball, they could put the entire profession of photography into jeopardy, given how difficult it would be to obtain explicit consent for EVERY member of a group or public shot. That's why the Finger is now recognized as the general sign for NOT consenting.

            1. Kiwi Silver badge
              WTF?

              Re: The problem is...

              Simply because no one bothered to TRY that angle. Because if someone REALLY played hardball, they could put the entire profession of photography into jeopardy, given how difficult it would be to obtain explicit consent for EVERY member of a group or public shot. That's why the Finger is now recognized as the general sign for NOT consenting.

              Er, what? WTF you on about now?

  10. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Coat

    Just treat Facebook like any other drug...

    Go cold turkey and never look back !

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Just treat Facebook like any other drug...

      I has never hooked, but I have friends that were and still are. I had dabbled, looked hard at the gains, back in 2012, and walked away. My 'page' is still live, as they make it so hard to delete that it's easier just to let it become a fossil. It also means I don't offend any far-flung acquaintances.

      Now I am working on LinkedIn, but they have cleverly built themselves in as an essential for employers.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Just treat Facebook like any other drug...

        That word essential ... people keep using it. I don't think it means what they think it means.

        Me, I use linkedin as a filter ... if a resume/c.v. mentions it, I circular file the resume/c.v.

  11. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    There is a compromise

    Don't use FB for personal stuff. I have an FB account, under a very false name, with a very odd profile and history, that I use when I need to, mainly for posting and reading about events in our community shop and other local groups. I don't get my information from FB but lots of others do, so we use it. Telling porkies about your life is quite a good way to confuse their advertising systems.

    Ditto Twitter - absolutely no point in personal tweets about what I had for supper, but pretty handy for groups/businesses to advertise what is happening (if you can be bothered to check your feed)

    I suspect I don't get the most out of either as I refuse to have the apps on my phone and always access via a web browser, which auto-deletes cookies.

    But look on the bright side - who remembers MySpace and Friends Reunited? Hopefully in ten years we can say the same about FB.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: There is a compromise

      "I have an FB account, under a very false name, with a very odd profile and history, that I use when I need to, mainly for posting and reading about events in our community shop and other local groups."
      Now there's a thought... Thanks [evil grin]...

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: There is a compromise

      "But look on the bright side - who remembers MySpace and Friends Reunited? Hopefully in ten years we can say the same about FB."

      Unfortunately the reason nobody remembers those is that FB & Twatter displaced them. It's a grim thought that if your hope is fulfilled it's likely to be because something even worse comes along.

  12. Your alien overlord - fear me

    No mention of LinkedIn - the business version of FB with the same 'please be my friend because I know someone who knows someone who once worked with you'. Closed that down, even before Microsoft got their hands on it.

    1. Mage Silver badge
      Flame

      LinkedIn

      They should be prosecuted out of existence for pressuring people to not only share all their personal info (beyond what is sensible for a job) AND WORST the new user's ADDRESS BOOK / Email account.

      Massive spammers.

      Also insecure so it can be used to spread malware too.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: LinkedIn

        >Also insecure so it can be used to spread malware too.

        Well it is owned by Microsoft

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Linked-In?

      I can see a point for basic linked-in - business contacts. But what really pisses me off is getting e-mails from linked in from someone I've never heard of, saying they want to join my network. And there is a button on the request to 'Accept' and....well, no, that's about it. No alternative button like 'Fec off' or even 'Reject'.

      Don't you love 'choice'?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Linked-In?

        But what really pisses me off is getting e-mails from linked in from someone I've never heard of, saying they want to join my network.

        Under account settings, you can change the criteria for "Who can send you invitations". At a guess, you've probably left it open for everybody?

        And there is a button on the request to 'Accept' and....well, no, that's about it. No alternative button like 'Fec off' or even 'Reject'.

        My Network>Received Invitations>Manage all. Ooh, look, there's a button "Ignore" against each invitation.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: Linked-In?

          Great advice! Now, please let me know how do I stop receiving invitations when I've never even joined...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Linked-In?

            "Now, please let me know how do I stop receiving invitations when I've never even joined..."

            You want somebody to spoon feed you through setting up an email filter rule?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Linked-In?

              YES!

              Because blacklists don't work (too many techniques to get around them).

              And whitelists are too restrictive (many DO need to receive genuine "first contact" correspondence).

              If you can come up with a genuine-effective filter that can distinguish between genuinely-useful stuff and junk mail able to pose as genuinely-useful stuff, you'll probably be the next Facebook.

              Then again, it would probably also break some scientific laws along the way.

            2. Kiwi Silver badge

              Re: Linked-In?

              "Now, please let me know how do I stop receiving invitations when I've never even joined..."

              You want somebody to spoon feed you through setting up an email filter rule?

              Problem is.. Linkedin has been known to send emails from people inviting you to join them who are people you know and who are on LI, but who have neither given LI permission to send emails on their behalf nor given it access to your contacts (something naughty there, perhaps using JS leakage or something back in the day, basically this only stopped with me when I would separate LI and email sites with different browsers AND changed my email password after having logged into my email account via webmail while also logged in to LI - I'm not alone in this, a little googling will see others experienced it).

              Also, LI is known to send emails from people inviting others to join when the sending account does not belong to a LI customer, ie they falsify who is sending the request. At least in the past. Again, google is your friend1 if you wish to seek citations..

              Aside from maybe filtering by body for linkedin (who could also point to a page that reloads to LI), how do you filter for messages from people you know who you wish to receive mail from, when an organisation is sending stuff pretending to be from them? Do you filter by mail software as well as name? But what if they have more than one machine and use more than one mail program? How big should your mail filters be just to stop one rogue organisation spamming you? Here's looking forward to your spamfilter walkthrough..

              1 The sort of friend you would never trust around your kids, your wife, or your cat... And you certainly would never trust them to give you any drinks in case the contents weren't as advertised....

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Linked-In?

        I can see a point for basic linked-in - business contacts

        Which is what it used to be (back when I first joined). Since then, it's steadily morphed in Facebook-light.

        90% of the link requests I get are clearly from agency or marketing spammers.

      3. Vic

        Re: Linked-In?

        But what really pisses me off is getting e-mails from linked in from someone I've never heard of, saying they want to join my network

        I get quite a few of those to addresses I've never given to LinkedIn[1].

        It's quite apparent that there are LI spammers, who just target every email address they get hold of...

        Vic.

        [1] I have a *lot* of email addresses. Each new contact gets a unique address for me, so I can tell who's leaking what.

    3. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
      Facepalm

      I woudn't worry too much about LinkedIn, it seems to be about 99.5% utter bullshit! People with so much crap in their profiles and job titles they invented for themselves, anyone who believes a single word of what's on LinkedIn needs their head checked!

  13. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Stop

    "Someone I know recently packed all of his earthly belongings into his sedan,"

    Someone I knew recently killed themselves due to facebook bullying.

  14. Chris G Silver badge

    Just say no

    To most of the wailing and cajoling from social media for your life.

    Most of the people here in Ibiza seem to use Whatsapp constantly to send photos and other details of their lives and business. I wonder what kind of analysis that is subject to?

    Especially considering MS is now big on telemetry.

    Yes, I know it is encrypted but, terrorism!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just say no

      The disturbing thing is this 'social' location/personal leakage could also be used by other abusive or malevolent people than just common criminals (e.g. terrorists, police state agents) wanting to physically target certain kinds of people, so publishing your life is risky, especially if you can't adequately protect yourself. This is especially the case for females, who should not be (self-)deceived by the r-type, misandry BS of so-called "girl power".

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Just say no

        r-type? You mean like 100 year old vacuum tubes (valves)?

        https://www.electronics-notes.com/articles/history/vacuum-tube-thermionic-valve/r-type-valve-tube.php

  15. wolfetone Silver badge

    I'd argue snapchat and instagram are worse. Not so much for adults but for teenagers.

    It's all too easy for a girl to think "well snapchats can be deleted in 3 seconds, I'll take a photo of my tits for this boy I like", and then wonder how that photo has been shared between people. Likewise Instagram is full of people sharing photos of things they want to share. So they take a photo of themselves and after the 20th take of the photo, they then filter it and edit it, then post it to the platform. Young girl see's it, wonders why she can't be beautiful like the heavily doctored, multiple takes photo that she's seen of a celebrity.

    Adults, you would think, are a bit more savvy. We know that any old shit put on facebook is to grab attention (especially those status' from people who put "Oh my God, such a hard decision! What to do? X" without referencing what the decision is, but then you see everyone saying "You ok hun?"). But I don't think teenagers - both boys and girls - fully understand that it's an attention grabbing thing and what they see isn't always true.

  16. dan1980
    Unhappy

    The biggest problem (I believe) is not that Facebook monitors and monetises people; it's that those people don't seem to care.

    That's a bigger problem because, were Facebook to be wiped from the Earth tomorrow, people would still be signing up for all manner of loyalty cards and downloading numerous 'apps' to perform even the simplest task.

    This tacit acceptance (if not outright approval) of corporations collecting information and profiling people leads to this becoming the norm for everyone such that certain services become reliant on that acceptance to the point where those of us who do not agree to that collection and monetisation find ourselves on the outer.

    One great example is Uber. A core part of their business model requires them to operate via smartphones in order to skirt the definition of a taxi (in many locations) but that use of an 'app' that tracks your comings and going - even when not using the service, apparently - brings with it an invasion of privacy. It also means that this is transport that cannot even be used by someone without a smartphone and all that goes with that.

    But it's not just everyday folk, it's us techs and nerds as well. I was, previously, a gamer. I still am, but I find myself in a situation where PC gaming is nearly entirely closed off for me because I refuse to be tracked online. Unfortunately, nearly every game released on PC requires persistent or periodic monitoring of you and your computer through the likes of Steam or Origin or whatever garbage Ubisoft uses.

    I refuse and so I don't game on my PC, but it's the broad willingness by the gaming public to trade away their privacy for convenience that has brought us to this point.

    The world of services and products is rapidly becoming dependent on connectivity and acceptance of platforms that, whether justified or not, insist upon the destruction of your privacy as a term of service.

    There is much that I know I miss out on due to my stance on this - I just wish more people were willing do this too, though it's really already too late. We let this happen and the clock won't get wound back, whether everyone leaves Facebook or not.

    Sadly.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      You should check out GOG some time - although if by "gaming" you mean "Mass Effect LXXXVII" it probably won't be what you're looking for indeed. As much as I share your loathing of anything DRM-like, I'm still a realist - I do use Steam when I have no choice, but I certainly stay away from it as much as I can.

      1. jake Silver badge

        "I do use Steam when I have no choice"?

        No choice? Really? They hold a gun to the head of your first-born and threaten to pull the trigger if you don't use it? That's a little on the draconian side, don't you think?

      2. dan1980

        @DropBear

        "I'm still a realist - I do use Steam when I have no choice . . ."

        But you do have a choice - don't support games that invade your privacy - whether directly or indirectly (through a 'client').

        I mean no disrespect to you, because you are not unique in this and you are FULLY entitled to your choices, but it's precisely this attitude that has lead to the issue. If you use Steam at all then you are endorsing that behaviour and contributing to the environment in which it flourishes.

        And that's your choice, and one you are welcome to make, but the consequences are apparent.

        1. DropBear Silver badge
          Stop

          "But you do have a choice..."

          It's ok - I'm fully aware I could just refrain completely from playing anything that isn't available elsewhere; it's just that I'm quite explicitly not willing to. I'll prefer GOG or equivalent as far as possible and resort to "supporting" Steam quite rarely indeed, but I'm certainly not willing to forego playing every single title I just can't get elsewhere.

          No offence, but all "but if only everyone..." type reasoning is always a fallacy - if the Internet taught us anything at all it is that there will not ever be anything that "everyone" (or even an overwhelming majority) will ever do or agree upon; not any more than all molecules of a gas "choosing" to bunch up in a single corner of a tank; not even the deliberate action of a pump could ever perfectly vacuum it. Which is why any such actions of "boycotting" something should only ever be pursued for the personal satisfaction of a cleaner conscience - doing them with the specific intent of changing anything in the real world is flat-out delusional.

          From shopping to voting, no individual's choice ever sways anything - only concerted efforts do, and that's exactly why any Powers That Be with half a clue never bother with the source or substance of unrest, only its means to stay organized. Without that, no amount of individual frustration will ever amount to anything. Advocating personal "stands" on an individual level with the misguided belief that it could enact "change" is no different than expecting spontaneously not showing up to work to have the same result as a union-organized strike.

          So no, sorry, I will not accept blame for "keeping DRM alive" by not boycotting it 100% - I will try to sway the future a tiny bit if possible at all with the choices I make and as an imperfect human being I will try to stay true to my beliefs as much as I can, but I will not go to absurd lengths in some purported attempt to enforce a future nobody could ever possibly hope to affect to that degree. Quixotic crusades are for the heroes of Cervantes and those who grossly overestimate their own importance - not for me

  17. Redstone

    What I find even more sinister...

    is the amount of information that ArseBook(TM) collects on people who have not agreed to have their data hoovered up and resold.

    As an experiment, I created a fake FB account (using a brand-new fake email address) and was quite disturbed by the accuracy of the 'people you may know' offerings - which included people who are actually known by other family members who are not on ArseBook either (IP tracking, perhaps?). All of which points to quite an extensive database on someone who has never officially signed on the dotted line.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: What I find even more sinister...

      "As an experiment, I created a fake FB account (using a brand-new fake email address) and was quite disturbed by the accuracy of the 'people you may know' offerings"
      Interesting. I will see what happens when my newly created email hits the DNS servers.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: What I find even more sinister...

      The main reason of acquiring Whatsapp was to get its phone number databases and its address book slurping capabilities. It gave FB a lot of data about people who never signed for FB or Whatsapp.

      I received SMS to activate my Whatsapp account - but I never had an account on FB nor ever installed Whastapp - of course my telephone number was slurped from some acquaintance address book.

      There was a time when technology to be sold needed to provide people with better tools to improve their work and life. Now technology is no longer sold, so it turned to provide a few with the tools to exploit people, and the only technology delivered is some by-side product needed to keep the cattle in the stable, to be able to milk them easily.

    3. SolidSquid

      Re: What I find even more sinister...

      Facebook makes *heavy* use of tracking cookies and ad networks to create user profiles. Most likely they used that to identify the machine as owned by someone who had visited those facebook pages (or something along those lines) and so recommended them. Or even if it was just one of them Facebook would have pulled the data of who else you might know out of that person's profile

    4. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: What I find even more sinister...

      Might not just be IP address

      Though if other family members had used that same IP address then lots of juicy data to mine

      If we discount IP, had you used that device to look at anything relating to those suggested contacts / family members that could have tracked you (hard to find a web page that does not try & use some trackers)

      All sorts of ways in which data can be obtained.

      If you do not always surf with cookie / tracker / script protection utilities then you are an open book for data linking.

      Even if you do take care, if you used something else that FB own (purchase data from) then you may well be stuck.

      Family & friends can be a huge issue - they ahve probably allowed FB access to their contacts, if you are on there then they have your email, phone number(s) etc. - for safety really need to be Johnny No Mates (or have only mates who are paranoid of social media too!)

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Remember

    With advertising - you are an active participant, and can choose whether to be advertised to. You have the choice to consume or not consume.

    I don't mean to be patronising and trite here, but it's so very easy to get depressed with the way the world is going. But as this article states, you do have the power to switch off. Use it!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remember

      It's not that simple, a lot of these adverts will include in-line/linked tracking (spying), for demographics purposes, this is another reason why I block most adverts, even from the same website!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Remember

        It's not that simple...

        What I mean is that despite how 'clever' these marketers are, you can always choose not to buy anything they advertise. For example and for various reasons (that I won't go into now - this isn't supposed to be a rant), I won't buy anything made by Sony, regardless of where and how their advertising appears.

        I too run ad blockers on every one of my devices; so does Mrs WM. Another choice we can all make.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Remember

          "What I mean is that despite how 'clever' these marketers are, you can always choose not to buy anything they advertise. For example and for various reasons (that I won't go into now - this isn't supposed to be a rant), I won't buy anything made by Sony, regardless of where and how their advertising appears."

          Yes, but what happens when EVERY company that produces something you need advertises? You've just blacklisted yourself out of the entire market. For example, EVERY car company advertises. EVERY wire service advertises. Heck, it's hard to find a company that DOESN'T advertise, since the eyeball exposure is practically essential to stay in business, especially when starting out. About the only two areas where ads aren't needed are extremely generic stuff (like paperclips and staples) and extremely niche stuff where word of mouth is the primary advertising method.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Remember

            Yes, but what happens when EVERY company that produces something you need advertises?

            EASILY done. FOR example MY car WAS purchased SECOND-HAND in A private SALE via A mate. NO advertising THERE. I've NEVER used A wire SERVICE. Word OF mouth IS the BEST advertising YOU can DO, and I know LOTS of FIRMS that HAVE been AROUND for DECADES yet HAVE never ADVERTISED.

            We DON'T need TO buy EVERYTHING we USE brand NEW. There's LOTS of THINGS that WE can GET second-hand, AND even IF the PRODUCT was HEAVILY advertised INITIALLY the MAKER gets NOTHING when YOU buy USED.

            Solutions... SO simple.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Remember

              You'd buy a secondhand banana, then? I frankly don't think I'd like to keep your company. And as for secondhand anything else, you risk bum deals. At least new stuff tends to come with warranties.

              1. Kiwi Silver badge

                Re: Remember

                You'd buy a secondhand banana, then?

                Actually I don't think I've ever seen a 2nd-hand banana. They've been through quite a few hands by the time I get to them.

                I've never seen a banana advertised either. I don't think much of what I buy food-wise is often advertised, but then I seldom watch live TV, I block ads online, so maybe they're being advertised constantly and I'm just missing it. Oh well, if I see them in ads I'll stop buying them, OK? I can always grow my own (though I'll have to find some land to do that...)

                Oh, and we don't need bananas, which was your original statement I believe - what happens when everyone advertises stuff you need?

                And as for secondhand anything else, you risk bum deals.

                I've had new stuff fail, and lots of shops try to claim all sorts of ways the warranty doesn't apply. Just last week I replaced a capacitor in a 20-something year old dehumidifier I paid 20 bucks for about 5 years back, still going strong although the $5 part and maybe an hour's spare-time labour could be considered to be worth more than what I paid for it at the time. Reckon it'll give several more years yet.

                I've had my car for over 50,000 k and some 5 years, and that was 4th or 5th hand. I've done over 75,000 miles on my bike and that was 12th hand in NZ plus however many owners it had in the country of origin. It'll be old enough to qualify as "vintage" in another year or so I believe.

                See, when you buy second-hand you use that stuff between your ears (if yours works), or if you lack the experience/brains you ask someone else to help you out. And if the sticker price is high enough, you do the same with new as well. Research the product, or waste your money.

                You risk "bum deals" when you buy stuff. Doesn't matter if it's pre-loved or not. Nor does it matter if it's name-brand or expensive.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: Remember

                  "Chiquita. Quite possibly the world's perfect food." I've seen ads for Del Monte bananas as well, covering most of the banana market.

                  1. Kiwi Silver badge
                    Pint

                    Re: Remember

                    I've seen ads for Del Monte bananas as well, covering most of the banana market.

                    I don't believe I've seen those brands.

                    Last weeks shopping, not ONE item advertised in the normal sense (I know some people will class the packaging as advertising, or placement on the shelves and so on). And I did buy bananas as well, first time in a while. Tasty ones as well. But I brought them because an hour or two before I'd written the post you replied to, and they were front&centre of a path I was taking (and no, the path I was taking wasn't some carefully planned out route that cost them 10's of thousands in consultancy fees, I went that way to avoid some slow-moving oldies)

                    Should stop now.. I've forgotten the point of this thread.. Have something nice to drink (El Reg, can we get some beverage-other-than-beer icons? Not everyone is into it :) )

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remember

      You forget that data gathered for advertising purposes is likely to be easily available to governments and/or other regimes who you might not trust with it.

      In many cases, that's quite simply by the expedient of putting commercial and/or legal pressure over the business in question- and an advertising company that only cares about flogging me shite is one of the least likely to provide any resistance to that. Particularly not one run by an amoral sociopath like Zuckerberg.

      Then there's also the possibility that your data is hacked, stolen and sold. Again, an advertising company's desire to protect themselves against this will only extend as far as its commercial value, and that assumes they're run by people who know- or care- what they're doing.

      The best way to mitigate against this sort of thing is not to gather such data in the first place unless it's needed; such a policy is the antithesis of everything Facebook- and many other companies- are about, however.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    is it a clickbait?

    done!

  20. Gordon Pryra

    Everyone who uses Facebook is being emotionally monitored.

    Good write up there Simon, thanks for the good read Monday morning.

    One point that is rarely raised is that the data that Facebook is using to monitor people is generally false.

    People lie constantly on this platform.

    For example, looking at my sisters page. It seems she has a blessed life with a lovely family and beautiful kids.

    All total crap, a pretty front end to beat her "friends" from school.

    I am not sure what use this is to a profiler, I can see the point when trying to fool a company to spam her with adverts for family holidays etc (not that there will be any return on their investment there)

    Aside from the ability of Facebook to make money from hosting Torture/Murder/Rape and Extremist videos, I feel we believe them to have a lot more knowledge and control than they really do .

    Whats the old adage? Crap in Crap out?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Everyone who uses Facebook is being emotionally monitored.

      But from Zuckerberg's point of view, is he particularly worried if advertisers are getting a proportion of crap data? He gets his advertising dollars anyway. And the advertiser won't be aware that x% of their ads for walking frames and incontinence pads are being shown to 18-24 year-olds.

      Insert obligatory King Gillette quotation about wasted advertising money.

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Everyone who uses Facebook is being emotionally monitored.

      Besides, other users could be filtering the crap for Facebook, letting it know which info is real and which is not. But of course, it doesn't bother to tip its hand to anyone else.

  21. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Really?

    "But only because we were yet to understand that everything we entered was recorded by Facebook, all of it analysed, all of it compared against everyone else sharing all of their personal trivialities."

    Izzat so?

    No we didn't we thought 'It's free, therefore there's a catch to it' and we looked at the T&C's.

    We understood with the structure of 'free' games that it it was a data gatherer that sold data for others to work at.

    We didn't think 'Oooh, look what the kind fairies have brought us''.

  22. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Stale

    Facebook has taught us a valuable lesson: most of the people we call "friends" are not that interesting.

    We are willing to exert effort to keep in touch with the people we actually like. The ones who's company we value and who's presence we appreciate.

    What FB has done is to hijack the term "friend" and load it with emotional baggage. So there are insecure people who value their own worth by the number of "friends" they have - although they have never met the vast majority of them and probably would not like them, in real life, if they did.

    But for most FB users, it is just an easier way to send messages to people. FB has become the go-to method for contacting people you know, pushing email (and all the SPAM it attracts) to one side.

    The downside is that FB is full of people promoting their opinions - even though nobody cares what they think. And little do they realise that since FB can silently block their posts, very few people see what they write or post, anyway.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Stale

      "Facebook has taught us a valuable lesson: most of the people we call "friends" are not that interesting."
      Er... discovered that in the 1970s and that predate the Interwebs methinks...

  23. Len Goddard

    it is not just that they sell my data

    which they don't to any great extent as I do not have a FB account, but they are now charging me for their advertising services. I had two credit card transactions recently from Facebk (sic) which apparently came from FB in Ireland for advertising costs. Googling reveals this is not unusual. There was no evidence that the credit card (which never leaves the house) was otherwise compromised ... just these two transactions near Xmas. So far I have seen no response from FB to the various complaints but I will be interested to hear what my cc provider has to say.

  24. Andy Non
    Meh

    Facebook is OK if handled with asbestos gloves

    I treat it like a collection of internet forums. In fact facebook has replaced some internet forums (for better or worse) that I used to participate in. The key is to use facebook in this manner, not as a social media. Just like El Reg, I don't use my real name or date of birth and don't post my life story, where I live or any other personal information or photos. I've never met any of my facebook "friends" and have no real interest in doing so, thus keeping facebook at arms length from my real world friends or family. Similarly, nobody else can tag me in photos on facebook because none of my "friends" know what I look like.

    Used in this way, facebook is great for talking and sharing information about special interests and hobbies with like-minded people. Just don't blab your personal information away.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Read this article from the Guardian.

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/07/the-great-british-brexit-robbery-hijacked-democracy

    Cambridge Analytica used some loose change from the bottom of Mercers pocket to buy Facebooks data and develop nudge algorithms. More Billionaire loose change funded right wing lobby groups to use those algorithms to target adverts on Facebook.... win win for Facebook!

    1. fandom Silver badge

      In case you don't know The Messina Group did the same thing to get you to vote remain.

      Politicians using advertsing! I am shocked, SHOCKED!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Read this article from the Guardian.

      And you'd believe anything in the Graun? The idea that the British public were told how to vote and did as they were told is cobblers, a view clutched at by people desperate to find an excuse for an outcome they don't like.

      Think for a moment - the official line and entire communications messaging from the government of the day, of all executive agencies, of almost every large company, the official line of almost every party represented in Parliament, of all of the devolved administrations, all of these were universally and vociferously declaring the importance of a vote to "remain". On the "leave" side we had the disorganised and poorly funded UKIP, a tiny handful of rebellious MPs, a few maverick industrialists, and a couple of gobby newspapers whose readership has been falling, and whose views flit according to their reading of public opinion.

      And you really think that a bit of web analytics and some fashionably fake news on Facebook mislead the poor misguided proles?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Now do Google

    Google is the hidden behemoth. I agree Facebook is a very large scale problem, especially with regards to its very active content and how this can be used to try and persuade that minority that swings elections: the Guardian have an article on this I can highly recommend: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/may/07/the-great-british-brexit-robbery-hijacked-democracy (Edit: I see someone else beat me to it ^^)

    However I would like to see the covers pulled off Google. I suspect that the amount of data they gather is comparable to the NSA. Google has been using identifiers now for more than 10 years, and its hard to find a website that doesn't have Google's tentacles deeply inside it, from fonts to scripts to overt tracking mechanisms etc. Google's email has become the de-facto standard, despite the fact that its creepily intrusive (all keystrokes sent to Google, all mails scanned etc). Even large companies and universities now use gmail as their 'solution'.

    And of course their fucking phone has become the world's phone. A snooping listening location aware device that monitors all processes on your phone. WTF?

    And then there is their lobbying groups, active in the USA, and the UK and probably everywhere. They have very active PR units, cosying up to media outlets.

    And soon Google cars? Fuck off.

    I would love to see an exposé of just how much data Google now has about a typical person. How did we come to this? Because people are really unaware of the reality around them.

    I strongly suspect that within Google's most inner walls, when they think about existential threats to the company, high up if not highest is 'public awareness of what we do'.

    Try and live a working week without google - I challenge you. Most websites wont work well or even at all without it, most captcha guards are run by google, most websites use google maps to show locations, you can't use an android phone, a google search, you can't email anyone who uses gmail etc.

    What happenned to my beautiful internet? I can read 1984 now and laugh because its quite mild compared to where we are now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Now do Google

      "What happenned to my beautiful internet? I can read 1984 now and laugh because its quite mild compared to where we are now."

      I recently did so and arrived at the same conclusion.

    2. Joe Gurman

      Re: Now do Google

      Comparable? Randall Monroe thinks not; it's Google by a mile. The NSA are pikers by comparison:

      https://what-if.xkcd.com/63/ ,

      or if you prefer video to reading (and a side trip into the rules of thermonuclear baseball):

      https://www.ted.com/talks/randall_munroe_comics_that_ask_what_if .

      And yes, I do live without Google. Entirely. Don't use their phones/OS, their browser, their doc editing tools, their capchas, or their (they still do this?) search. And I use Ghostery to prevent their counting me in their site stats.

  27. chivo243 Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Call me anti-social

    I didn't like the idea of FB when it came down the pipe.

    1. I thought it was a flash in the pan.

    2. I have common sense.

    3. I really have better uses for my time.

  28. samkam
    Big Brother

    Reduced my Facebook Usage

    Well written

    I have uninstalled (and disabled) all the facebook apps and gradually use facebook about once in couple of days to check birthdays and then clean my browser again...

    I think I can live without it and I get more time to catch up on my reading!

  29. John H Woods Silver badge

    Facebook has its uses ...

    ... which is why it is can be so hard to leave it. Maybe we could put together some kind of P2P distributed Facebook where our own content is hosted in our own spaces (our homes or our own clouds according to preference) AND (importantly) a tool for migrating to such a system from FB, replacing all one's content with links to the new system until *snip* we cut Zuck off entirely.

    1. Robigus

      Re: Facebook has its uses ...

      A sort of Facebook methadone?

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Facebook has its uses ...

      "Maybe we could put together some kind of P2P distributed Facebook "

      https://diasporafoundation.org/

      Not that I use it but it's there.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Facebook has its uses ...

        And before that, there was Freenet as well. But there's always a catch. There's a reason there aren't a lot of genuine Bitcoin clients (as in they download the ledger) these days: bandwidth costs. Freenet, yacy, diaspora, all of them have that unfortunate side effect: they kill you on the data usage, many of which don't have the luxury.

  30. Pompous Git Silver badge
    Happy

    It's funny in a way...

    All this wailing about social media when we are all participating in what is arguably social media.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's funny in a way...

      Forums predate the term "social network" by decades, and have few of their defining features.

      Reddit is on the fence however, and could be considered a hybrid.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: It's funny in a way...

        Forums predate the term "social network" by decades

        Indeed. And are more akin to Usenet newsgroups than anything else (with articles replacing the group structure..).

        I'd like to say I miss my Usenet days but I'd be lying. After a few months of cold turkey, I never even noticed that I wasn't doing it any more.

        And my blood pressure was about 10psi lower :-)

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: It's funny in a way...

      "we are all participating in what is arguably social media."

      No, we come here to be anti-social.

      1. Huw D

        Re: It's funny in a way...

        Correct. Ya buncha bastids.

    3. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: It's funny in a way...

      Maybe. But compared with the scope of info collected by FB (and Google), including indirectly[0], ElReg really is a very minor player.

      Keeping all personal info off the 'net is hard; I've probably voluntarily leaked a quite a bit in the years that Usenet was the social network. But a lot of that is stale, out of date now, so it's not too much of a concern to me. And the current info is spread over dozens of sites, with only part of it actually relevant.

      [0] I've not given FB any info, ever, so whatever they know about me[1] is via others. Without my permission, needless to say.

      [1] Currently I have no incentive to find out how much they know, as that would mean them knowing even more.

  31. Seajay#

    Tantrum

    While it's fun to have a tantrum and storm out of Facebook it doesn't really make sense. Facebook is whatever you make of it. If you share your innermost thoughts then it will know about them. If you get your news by reading suggested articles from Facebook then you will give them the power to shape your opinions.

    Just don't do those things. Follow the old rule of "Don't put anything on the internet which you don't want in a newspaper, regardless of what the privacy settings claim to be" and get your news from somewhere trustworthy.

    Use facebook as an address book and a way to keep in touch with people you see face-to-face as often as you'd like to. Delete the old school friends who you don't really want to see anyway.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Tantrum

      Following the (impeccable) logic of your last paragraph, don't bother with Facebook at all.

      1. Seajay#

        Re: Tantrum

        Don't bother with facebook at all as a news source, the news could be entirely fake and will certainly be biased and echo-chambery. The pictures on there of your cousin's wedding will be genuine though, it's safe to use it for that.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Tantrum

          "The pictures on there of your cousin's wedding will be genuine though, it's safe to use it for that."

          And may well be accompanied by all sorts of personal data to be hoovered up by FB. Not my definition of safe.

          If a cousin wants to share pictures of their wedding email will do the job nicely.

          1. fandom Silver badge

            Re: Tantrum

            " email will do the job nicely."

            On the other hand, ever since I got my first email address, at college a couple decades ago, I have taken for granted that whoever controlled the mail server could read my mail.

            Some people are problably expecting me write about the crypto I use, but really, I simply don't email anything I wouldn't want people to read.

            If I had a facebook acount I would do the same.

          2. Seajay#

            Re: Tantrum

            If a cousin wants to share pictures of their wedding email will do the job nicely.

            I find it kind of helpful that stuff which is intended to be direct semi-private communication with me comes over one channel and sits in my inbox until dealt with whereas stuff which I maybe interested in but doesn't require a response comes over another.

            Email is perfectly technically capable of sending wedding pictures but then my cousin has to consider what group he wants to send the pictures to and each recipient needs to read the email to check that no action is required. Both the sender and recipients end up wasting time. Post them on facebook and anyone you're friends with can look at them if they're interested and ignore them if they're not. That really is a better system.

            And may well be accompanied by all sorts of personal data to be hoovered up by FB. Not my definition of safe.

            This is where I think that there really is a problem with FB. A picture of me at a relative's wedding being made public is pretty safe I think. If that's the price of getting this service for free I can live with it. The problem is that a picture of you at the wedding of someone from a rival street gang can be made public.

            That's really tricky to fix, you certainly can't do it by deleting your FB account, because that does nothing to stop someone else uploading the pictures.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Tantrum

              "The problem is that a picture of you at the wedding of someone from a rival street gang can be made public."

              Not mention faces in photos being tagged with real names and the cross-linked by FB to other tagged images and use of facial recognition to auto-tag other photos and your "friends" get a message saying you've been tagged in those photos.

              Having a picture snapped in a place you'd rather not have others know about used to be pretty safe, but with FB it's quite possible that said photo might actually be specifically highlighted to all your FB "friends" even though you neither published it nor tagged it with your name.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tantrum

      "Just don't do those things."

      False and very narrow view of what FB really is.

      It monitors you every way regardless of you actively participating. Everything your friends do in FB also provide data about you to FB.

      That's why they collect non-user data too, as much they can and create a phantom profile for you out of that.

      It's usually quite precise and it's irrelevant what you do and what you don't do: Your profile is still created and updated.

  32. my fingers stuck

    aaahhh facebook, i love you so!

    thats why everything i have on facebook is fake,

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: aaahhh facebook, i love you so!

      And why Facebook's invested quite a bit into uncovering fake stuff. Just because YOU post fake stuff doesn't mean some of your friends (who use Facebook but you don't know that) can figure you out. Even if you never use Facebook at all, you probably have a pretty robust profile based on the info of friends who use Facebook but you don't know it, so that people who want to get you can plunder that information without your knowledge. It can get really scary, and the worst part is that NONE of this stuff is under your control. It's basically stuff stitched together from your encounters with others: necessary evils for functioning in society, period.

      Oh, and let's not get started with the stuff that the government knows about you (and you're obligated by law to keep current) and posts publicly for all and sundry to see.

  33. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Stop

    I've solved this by just avoiding Facebook...

    I don't have time to read as much or do as much as I would like anyway. Why spend more of it participating in building consumption and advertising profiles of myself and others?

  34. Louis Schreurs BEng

    It's still a scam, but trust an American to find a truck-sized loophole

    It's still a scam, but trust an American to find a truck-sized loophole in law and monetise the hell out of it before it gets plugged.

    Now they have a president who knows from first hand.

  35. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

    It's a tool...just like a chainsaw!

    I use it to communicate with fellow photographers, sure I post a few "thought piece" posts but everything I post is purely related to photography and nothing else. I make a conscious decision to discuss technical ideas about composition and artistic interpretation. I've made contact with some great photographers, it's really helped me improve my photography and increase my circle of peers. That's where it ends though.

    FB is a tool, potentially a very dangerous one. Treat it the same as you would a chainsaw or a powersaw, it's extremely useful but wear the right protection, consider every single move you make with it very carefully and only use it if you have to. Like a tool, if you don't treat it with the "respect" it deserves it will ruin your life in ways you cannot imagine.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: It's a tool...just like a chainsaw!

      "FB is a tool, potentially a very dangerous one. Treat it the same as you would a chainsaw or a powersaw, it's extremely useful but wear the right protection, consider every single move you make with it very carefully and only use it if you have to. Like a tool, if you don't treat it with the "respect" it deserves it will ruin your life in ways you cannot imagine."

      You can't even treat it like that, because unlike chainsaws and the like, Facebook can ruin you on its own, with no input from you. Think a cyber-bully campaign cranked up to eleven, through no input of your own.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: It's a tool...just like a chainsaw!

        You can't even treat it like that, because unlike chainsaws and the like, Facebook can ruin you on its own, with no input from you. Think a cyber-bully campaign cranked up to eleven, through no input of your own.

        I was once a "victim" of a fairly large and long-running cyber bullying campaign (any fidonetters from NZ will probably know exactly who it was who was behind it! :) ) that went on in several internet forums related to Fidonet in NZ. The only effect it had on me was to elicit a "wtf" and several chuckles with mates after I found out, because it had happened without my being aware of it.

        If you don't use FB, or quit if problems arise, someone's "cyber bullying" is going to have little effect on you.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: It's a tool...just like a chainsaw!

          They weren't REAL cyberbullies. The REAL ones would plunder FB for your NON-FB details and then assault you OUTSIDE FB, sometimes even to real life, using the Internet as a screen to avoid being nabbed by the plids.

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: It's a tool...just like a chainsaw!

            They weren't REAL cyberbullies

            You can be a real fuckwit sometimes, you know that? So they can't be "real cyberbullies" because they did this years before FB was invented? What the fuck is that shit you smoke? The damage done to people was still just as real, and while I missed this lot I know others were badly hurt. Fuck, grow some fucking sense.

            The REAL ones would plunder FB for your NON-FB details and then assault you OUTSIDE FB, sometimes even to real life, using the Internet as a screen to avoid being nabbed by the plids.

            So when they attack you in real life, they can't be touched because "teh internts!!!!1!!!!!111!!!

            "???? Seriously, what is that stuff you're taking? It sure is messing with your head. Assault is assault. It's illegal to do it or to even threaten to do it. I believe that if it involves internet harrasment it becomes an even worse crime, ie instead of "teh internets" being a mitigating factor, it means you'll be inside longer.

            And, er, how can they plunder "NON-FB" details (WHATEVER THAT IS THAT CHARLES MUST SHOUT AT THE TOP OF HIS VOICE FOR EFFECT!)? FB has nothing on me, even when I sign in to them (little hint, I lovingly spin up a VM, and even more lovingly execute it afterwards - and no, no one has devised something that can get round that no matter what fanciful USE of CAPS on ALTERNATING words YOU'LL use). Nor do I make use of RL stuff online. Except my bank. But, er, see that bit about VM's and suchlike.

  36. GrumpyOldMan

    Sorry - saw this coming

    I'm a cynic and suspicious git by nature and saw this coming. I never got started on Farcebook and gave up on Twatter years ago.

  37. DutchPeter

    What a great discovery. You could have known this, and more four years ago after buying my book from Amazon: The Power of Facebook. Discover my mail address or find me via Facebook and I'll send you a free copy.

  38. I am the liquor

    A decentralised facebook

    It's a shame ISPs don't still give you a bit of free web space as a matter of course. You could replicate almost all the socially useful functions of facebook with people posting on their own web sites in some standardised format, and a client-side application to aggregate the content from your friends' sites. Stir in a bit of PKI if you want privacy. The only bit missing is the initial discovery - you'd need someone to give you the link to their site to get started. But from there you could easily link up with other mutual friends.

    It would never work now, because no-one (or at least, no critical mass of people) is going to shell out for subscription web hosting when Facebook itself is "free".

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: A decentralised facebook

      "It would never work now, because no-one (or at least, no critical mass of people) is going to shell out for subscription web hosting when Facebook itself is "free".

      I wonder if it would be possible to "host" sites in a P2P model? (security and privacy issues aside)

      1. WatAWorld

        Re: A decentralised facebook

        "I wonder if it would be possible to "host" sites in a P2P model? (security and privacy issues aside)"

        We too often put security and privacy issues aside.

        It is one thing to have stuff you intentionally put on FB for sharing shared. (I find it bewildering that some people are surprised at that most people find living a semi-open life acceptable. I wonder how many people refuse to own a car because of the publicly displayed license plate requirement.)

        It is quite another to find you're sharing your entire hard drive because of the stupid defaults and coding bugs buried by some coder in the open source.

        And it is quite another still that government security agencies are snooping into our peaceful political opinions and gathering info that could eventually be used to blackmail any of us who enter politics.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A decentralised facebook

          "...some coder in the open source."

          If you haven't noticed, Microsoft Windows isn't open source. And it slurps everything you have in your hard drive, every hour or so.

          Same thing applies to FB/Twitter/Google/you name it: None of them are open source.

          Android almost is but the apps on it aren't.

      2. I am the liquor

        Re: A decentralised facebook

        @John Brown (no body): "I wonder if it would be possible to "host" sites in a P2P model? (security and privacy issues aside)"

        Interesting idea. I'd be worried that the data volumes could get prohibitive when you start replicating everyones' content around a distributed network. But existing P2P file sharing networks work with pretty huge volumes I guess.

        I don't think the privacy issues would be fundamentally different in a P2P model compared to my original idea of posting to your own public web space. You could still use end-to-end encryption. It wouldn't be very bandwidth-efficient if every post has to be accompanied by a key block encrypted with each of your 1000 friends' public keys, but that doesn't seem like an insurmountable problem.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: A decentralised facebook

          Stuff like BitTorrent is selective. People only share what they're trying to collect and what they WANT to share. What you propose is more like Freenet, which demands you keep a certain amount of storage to share. This results in constant churn that eats into data caps. Doesn't BitMessage have the same issue?

    2. WatAWorld

      Re: A decentralised facebook

      Won't work.

      Each region of the world has its own Facebook equivalent, and only one Facebook equivalent.

      Look at the dud that was Google+.

      A personal website is not an FB equivalent.

      1. I am the liquor

        Re: A decentralised facebook

        @WatAWorld: "A personal website is not an FB equivalent."

        In this scenario the personal web site isn't the facebook equivalent, it's just the data store. The client-side application that aggregates the information is the facebook equivalent.

        You're right that facebook's immense gravitational field looks pretty irresistable at this point. But with increasing levels of dissatisfaction, as evidenced by this article and its comments, there could be an opening for an alternative. The internet is littered with the carcases of once-dominant behemoths.

  39. amlendu kumar
    Devil

    More like sharking

    Not free sharing but free sharking

  40. Hugh Barnard

    De-Facebook as part of a 'process'

    I'm glad that this idea is gradually going mainstream. I removed myself (after about 3 weeks and 300 'friend requests' from people that I didn't really know) about three years ago. I had made the analysis that I didn't want a great big, centralised, commercial thing to know a lot about me. Also, it's a time waster and I waste enough time without extra help, thank you.

    Perversely, I'm still using Gmail, but that's gone this year. And I agree with other commentators that Google (and Amazon, for example) are just as dangerous. Also, as I'm a data extremist (calm down SIS, '5' etc. etc., calm down m'dears) I've given up my loyalty cards except for the Co-Op, I consider them to be a bad Faustian bargain.

    So I think it's better to see this as a process with de-Facebooking as one step. Up to the individual how far to take it.

  41. TSG

    You see, that's the problem with free websites

    Companies have to make money, and if they're not getting it directly from you, they're probably making it by selling your information. Facebook, Google, the whole lot. They make money off of you using their free service by tracking your habits and behaviours.

  42. WatAWorld

    Newspapers and magazines have been emotionally manipulating us for over a century.

    "Everyone who uses Facebook is being emotionally monitored. That’s what Facebook does. Anyone who uses Facebook can be emotionally manipulated."

    1. Everyone period is emotionally monitored by those around them and we can be emotionally manipulated.

    2. Newspapers and magazines have been emotionally manipulating us for over a century.

    1. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

      Re: Newspapers and magazines have been emotionally manipulating us for over a century.

      true. but that doesn't explain why anyone should continue to use FB for MORE emotional manipulation.

      News and magazines had to cater to GENERAL audiences and population, so on the whole were less effective. And they only show up once a month in some cases, once a day in others.

      FB and "social media" is explicitly, PERSONALLY targetted.

      it's the difference between a terrorist organization ranting about killing the Great Satan, and a hit order put out on you by a local "Family Man". Good chance you'll never see a suicide bomber IRL, but Leon the Professional doesn't get paid until you're out....:P

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Newspapers and magazines have been emotionally manipulating us for over a century.

        "Leon the Professional doesn't get paid until you're out"
        I gained the impression that Tony wasn't paying Leon what he owed him... or Mathilda for that matter. Some of the best cinematography I've seen.

  43. sisk Silver badge

    Facebook = depression!

    There's a strong correlation between Facebook usage and clinical depression. We all know that correlation isn't causation, but when you've also got data to prove that FB users' brains are absolutely swimming in dopamine - which is abruptly cut off the instant they post something that doesn't get any likes or, worse, log off and go outside for some fresh air - it's pretty clear that in this case it's at least a contributing factor.

    I left FB temporarily about a year ago on the advice of my divorce lawyer. That temporary departure became permanent as soon as I realized how much better my life is without it. Just one more piece of trash to be kicked out of my life in the name of making my life livable again.

  44. MarkSitkowski

    We've tried it your way...

    Okay, that's it.

    We engineers want our Internet back.

    We gave it to you, hoping you'd make good use of it, and all you've done is created stupid 'social media', bred a generation of parasites whose only purpose in life is to make everyone else's a misery by hacking everything, and created a new kind of bank robber.

    Enough is enough. Give it back to its rightful owners.

  45. IGnatius T Foobar
    Alert

    Kill facebook. Just do it.

    Facebook is one of those once-in-a-generation mega monsters that is an existential threat to everything except itself. Forget the vapid "friends" you have there. Just kill your facebook in one fell swoop. Don't "suspend" your account either. Follow the full procedure to delete it. Then, install the "Facebook Blocker" extension on your browser, so they can't keep a profile on you anyway through those wretched "like" buttons on every web site.

    Facebook is a cancer on the Internet and it must be eradicated.

  46. Tree

    Facebutt = your face + Suckerberg's butt

    It is very hard to be unrecognizable by the major companies. To get more privacy I use Pale Moon browser which allows customization like Firefox. Much more private than Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook would like. Do not use a Google product on my computer at all. Block all beacons with Remove it Permanently. use DuckDuckGo Lite for searching, Use Ublock Origin to block the all So-So media. Other add-ons may help - BluHell Firewall and Disconnect will make web faster and stop tracking. Better Privacy will stop some Super-Cookies from showing who you are. Advantages of extreme privacy include few ads. Disadvantages are cannot watch video on the computer.

    Can't watch YouTube on the computer. But when watch it through connected TIVO, but gives great big picture on my big screen tv.

    I may be a paranoid. It is none of their business what I do. You can block their butts, though.

  47. Winkypop Silver badge
    Terminator

    I can't be the first to say:

    [smug mode]

    I never used Facebook.

    [smug mode continues]

    1. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

      Re: I can't be the first to say:

      but what abou Kryty TV? technically that was social media :)

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But why in the FSM's name?

    I spent years avoiding idiots at school, I sure as hell don't want to 'meet up' online now!

  49. Cyberhash

    Windows live spaces was actually better in many ways, shame it died a death :(

  50. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  51. VulcanV5

    Very sad . . .

    'Tis always sad news to hear of a longterm relationship busting up. Sadder still to hear that the bust-up involves a human being on one side and a machine on t'other, because anyone resorting to a keyboard and monitor screen in quest of attention and/or affection and/or respect must be truly desperate. The fact that there are many millions of 'em in Generation Vapid only makes the situation more distressing. And yet, and yet . . .

    . . . Who cares? And why should we? Fodderbook is for the fodder of this world in much the same way that turkeys are for Christmas and Thanksgiving, the only difference being that turkeys have more intelligence.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Welcome to the real world....

    "Facebook is emphatically not a free and open platform for sharing. It’s more like the online equivalent of a Venus Fly Trap, luring us in with sweet nectar, only to suddenly snap shut, then slowly digesting and monetising everything nutritional we've fed it."

    Actually you can swap Facebook out for any other major online social media website out there. And add others to the fold as well. Google with their awesome web services for example.

    It all boils down to a simple realization which in my opinion everyone ought to know by now: Nothing is free on the Internet.

    There are a few exceptions, for example you can pick up software for free. Especially within the regions of the Free Software Foundation and others closely related to that philosophy. But in the end even that isn't really free either. Because... who paid for your Internet connection in the first place?

    1. jgarbo
      Holmes

      Re: Welcome to the real world....

      NOTHING is free on the internet? Au contraire, mon brave. I roam everywhere, perch where I like and pay not a penny. Totally anonymous or aliased, never get spam, ads, requests, nothing but still communicate with whom I want.

      I followed Zuck's advice at the beginning of his little venture: 'Only a fcuking idiot would put their personal details on Facebook.' He warned you.

      YMMV

      Ciao

    2. illiad

      Re: Welcome to the real world....

      Nothing is free on the Internet, Nothing is free in real life!!!

      you PAY for your clothes, so you do not get arrested...

      you PAY for your gas n electric, so you do not freeze or die of boredom...

      you PAY for your food and entertainment!

      and while you are walking down the road, you are CAREFUL that you do not get mugged, insulted!

      and DO NOT shout your address, bank details and phone number for any one to hear and take advantage!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Welcome to the real world....

        I SEW my clothes, the way my ancestors did since clothing stores didn't exist (and tailors were for the rich).

        I use SOLAR power and store excess power to use at night so am not beholden to any power company. Now, if you can tell me how to pay electrical taxes to the Sun...

        I GROW my food, and my books are INHERITED.

        As for getting mugged, well that's what martial arts training is about. That includes facing an armed opponent.

        Everyone knows my address since they see me walking out of it everyday. I'm willing to shout my last telephone number and bank account number since I don't use either anymore, making them worthless.

  53. Sirius Lee

    Leaving is OK if you are ascocial

    I'm not a joining or social type so I never did join Facebook. I don't have a profile. But that also means no knows me. Fortunately, I don't care. I'm not anti-social - that has connotations of being pathological. I'm asocial. I don't feel the need to be social so not having constant contact with friends and acquaintances is not an issue for me.

    However, I do recognize that I am unusual. I suspect that few others, especially those in technical jobs where solitude even in a crowded office is a daily reality, could do without the instant contact Facebook offers. I think for many to know there are friends out there, people you can reach out to any time is a great comfort and not one most people can do away with.

    Before Facebook I would receive the occasional email inviting me to some social event or another. Now events are only organized through Facebook so I'm not included. I don't mind as I find social situations stressful but most people are social creatures who need contact with other humans.

    Withdrawing from Facebook means you will be out of the loop. Your withdrawal from Facebook will make you the awkward one. The one that does not listen. The one that makes it inconvenient for others. You will be the one causing the rubbing sore. Gradually you will not be invited because you left the club (and people really are tribal).

    I agree with the author that Facebook is dangerous but for normal, social people leaving will cause as many problems as it solve.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leaving is OK if you are ascocial

      Yep and there are other people (doubtless some of them skulking on here) that actually would like very much to stay in the loop with people who used to call themselves their friends but simply aren't willing to sacrifice their privacy and dignity to the degree that Facebook requires. They put loneliness before privacy invasion even though it is an uncomfortable sacrifice. In my opinion someone who won't contact you unless you make yourself available on social networks was never reallly a true friend. The trouble is though, if you follow that logic, true friends are in very, very short supply in this world. I think the reality is that those people see the person who shuns Facebook as someone asocial as per your post. Facebook is seen as a perfectly normal and perfectly acceptable means of maintaining friendships - worse than that, it's become the default, the go-to solution for these people.

    2. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: Leaving is OK if you are ascocial

      "I don't feel the need to be social so not having constant contact with friends and acquaintances is not an issue for me.

      However, I do recognize that I am unusual. I suspect that few others, especially those in technical jobs where solitude even in a crowded office is a daily reality, could do without the instant contact Facebook offers."

      Sirius Lee, what you describe is introversion. While the media extol extroversion, I believe some 55% of the population are introverts. We are not all uncomfortable socialising, far from it, but unlike extroverts we are content with our own company. We don't need to be surrounded by hordes of fawning admirers.

      Nice take on this by Jonathan Rauch: Caring for Your Introvert

      1. Fred Tourette

        Re: Leaving is OK if you are ascocial

        "Nice take on this by Jonathan Rauch: Caring for Your Introvert"

        A must read for all those goddamn extroverts. We're not antisocial, we're just not... You.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Leaving is OK if you are ascocial

      "But that also means no knows me."

      Facebook and Google know you and spy you as they wish. They just don't tell you as you aren't a user.

      That's the only difference between a user and a non-user.

  54. acid andy
    WTF?

    the promise of a Web built by everyone

    "Yet Netscape (and Microsoft, which eventually triumphed against the upstart) never provided the server infrastructure to host those pages - a skill far beyond the average Web surfer. So the promise of a Web built by everyone for everyone got lost in the rush to a commercial Web favouring browsing and buying over creating and sharing."

    What the actual fuck El Reg? What about geocities? Tripod? Fortunecity? And these days, to a lesser extent, wordpress and, I suppose, sites.google.com?

    I'd accept an argument that hand coding or even laying out and designing a web page was a skill "far beyond the average Web surfer" and a common criticism of geocities et al was the proliferation of countless tacky, almost empty web sites perpetually labelled "Under Construction" but people who make that criticism are missing the point.

    There were tools to simplify the creation of a home page, even then, so anyone could create a page even if it looked awful - and, more to the point, the fact is there are countless people who don't really have anything interesting to say. That doesn't matter though; it's the same thing in meatspace if you go and talk to a random person in a bar. You don't *have* to spend a lot of time reading a web page that doesn't interest you. Further, you can level exactly the same criticism at what people write on sites like f***book. Arguably with f***book the effect is magnified even more because all the more of the masses were drawn into it and encouraged to post inane crap.

  55. R69

    Antisocial media...

    All the social media platforms should be used with care - they are all based around exploiting insecurity and your need for approval. They blur the line between acquaintance and friendship - people should beware of exposing the minute details of their lives to anybody, let alone people that (if they are honest) they dont really know, but are too flattered to decline a request from.

    The biggest improvement these sites could make is by removing the thumbs up and thumbs down buttons. It shouldnt matter whether anyone approves of your post - its your thought - and its just as valid as anybody elses thought - and quite honestly nobody has the right to police what goes through another individuals mind.

    That little thumb icon is the biggest psychological warfare weapon on the planet right now - it carries the very real potential of social exclusion or maybe, just occasionally, hero status. But its like a drug...its a numbers game and people wonder why x number of people either have or havent liked something.

    These platforms ought to increase our ability to keep in touch but im starting to wonder if for many people they are actually contributing to their isolation.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Antisocial media...

      "That little thumb icon is the biggest psychological warfare weapon on the planet right now "

      The irony of upvoting your post is not lost on me :-)

  56. Poncey McPonceface
    Big Brother

    Poll ?

    With so many here professing not to use Facebook I'd be interested in determining what percentage of us do not use Zuckerberg's creation. Maybe I'll make a Twitter poll. (Doh!)

    Seriously though, this topic comes up every 3 months or so. Decentralised versions are mentioned. They're the _obvious_ solution. Thing is Diaspora can't be the answer cuz it's only one entity. We need at least three competing _federated_ entities. And we need to solve the bandwidth/storage problem. Maybe, just maybe we should accept that there is no way this can work without the exchange of cash.

    I now pay for Netflix and Spotify because their services and content are great. (Spotify less so, the only way to connect to friends is via FB apparently?)

    Perhaps we ought to accept that a monthly charge for social media is a reasonable thing. Then, no ads, and a decent bit of competition for that revenue. All it takes is the will to do it. Clearly we need a Linus Torvalds of social media. Somebody brilliant, somebody focussed on that thing alone, somebody driven.

    Once every 6 months I consider my own mail server and once every 6 months I go meh. Same deal. These things ought to be public utilities or regulated. The outlandish sums of money these companies are making and their stratospheric evaluations ought to cause us to raise our eyebrows, not to whistle in appreciation.

    The issue is so enormous that I, to all intents and purposes, ignore it these days because otherwise I would not be able to use my phone nor would I be able to use the internet. Also, people saying engineers need to take back the internet ignore the reality of the thousands of engineers who got paid very nice salaries to build these privacy invading tubes. We created our own future dystopia now. We willingly erected the panopticon and volunteered our information.

    What's to be done? I think that paying for these services is the only way out. That and nothing less that true federalisation.

  57. MJI Silver badge

    I was annoyed when

    My wife decided she had to join as I was very happy to have 127.0.0.1 www.facebook.com in my HOSTS

    When someone could just leave a link to their faceache profile on a forum and it actually goes there and pulls in shit I thought I was justified.

    I then knew it was privacy hell. Also I am not a Yank uni kid.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook is essentially just a place for all the rude, obnoxious, bigoted wankers of the world to let out their inner asshole and abuse everyone and piss everyone off without the risk of getting punched in the face.

    You really get to find out who people really are once you see them on facebook, people you used to like turn out to be two-faced, ignorant bigots.

    Most of these people would never speak to anyone like that in the real world because they would be scared of the consequences.

  59. M7S

    Last night on the BBC....

    Was a Panorama about FB and what it was doing to help candidates in the US election.

    There was a little about general privacy for users, although I think it really could have been fleshed out much more to be effective, although that might be seen as beyond Auntie's remit.

    I've not used FB out of general privacy concerns, but I found the interview segments with their Director of Policy most disconcerting. I'd hope someone can do something longer on this, reaching a primetime audience so that people can make a more informed choice.

  60. Fred Tourette

    One Drug I Missed

    Nicotine and booze had their way with me, but I was smart enough to Just Say No to Facebook without even trying it. Once in a while I make a decent decision in my life.

  61. Potemkine Silver badge

    IMNSHO

    Nobody working in IT should have a Facebook account. Having such an account is a proof that one is not fit to manage information and IT security.

  62. Roj Blake Silver badge

    No Way I'm Going to Divorce Facebook.

    Because to get a divorce, we'd need get married beforehand. And we've not even been on a date.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No Way I'm Going to Divorce Facebook.

      And then you hear stories about people getting drunk and, next thing they know, they ARE already married...sometimes with kids. Consider Facebook like THAT kind of marriage.

  63. Aghios Vasilis tou Stalingrad

    What's Facebook?

  64. bencoiacetto

    since the users of facebook give the platform its monumental value, the users of facebook are essentially working for facebook for free - unless you count being emotionally manipulated as some form of compensation. Whilst working for free they help FB erode the middle class / occupations in industries like health, education, amongst others. One example is translation.

    I don't think one should delete their account though. Instead - be subversive - educate your 'friends' how much of a scam it really is, experiment with it etc.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      And if they won't learn and they're too close to alienate (ex. How do you approach it if it's your MOTHER?)?

  65. VulcanTourist

    An ex- that just won't leave!

    I divorced Facebook a long time ago, but still haven’t got him to leave. He hangs out on the porch swilling beer, refuses to pay child support, and never picks up a broom. He sneaks around the house and peeks in all the windows, trying to spot dirty laundry he can use to shame me. He calls my friends and family and gets them to pester me about unlocking the door again.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proudly anti-social

    But you guys are OK.

  67. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    this is the best FB article Ive read in a long time

    I agree totally.

    Quit FB at the beginning of the year. Tired of the manufactured outrage, the manipulation of "news" and the explicitly allowed abuses that would not be corrected after hundreds of reports, while others nuked with a single complaint.

    Blood pressure dropped significantly, and whether it's correlation or causality, maintained a consistent 7 pound weight loss since January. Serious.

    the weird thing is people who are still FB addicts (and I use the term only semi humorously) look at me like Ive renounced my citizenship, or converted to Scientology or something.

    And I can't see anything positive that I'm missing without FB connections.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: this is the best FB article Ive read in a long time

      What about family whose ONLY connection to society is through Facebook because everything else costs money they can't afford (calls and SMS cost per, no e-mail, but FB free from the carrier)? And for some, cutting ties is not an option due to moral and social responsibility (a lot of the bespoke are Asians with very strong sense of family).

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: this is the best FB article Ive read in a long time

        Chuck, if they can access fb they can use any number of free email providers. And if family is all that important, snail mail still works, just as it did during California's goldrush.

        Stop being disingenuous just for the sake of argument. It's not becoming.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: this is the best FB article Ive read in a long time

          Snail mail costs money, e-mail requires Internet access, which costs money. Facebook for them is NOT through the Internet.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's Been Fun, But...

    I joined Facebook in May 2008. It was fun at first, but as time went on, not so much.

    In 2014, I was virtually held captive in front of my desktop/smartphone screen for hours and hours by this wacky user who forced me to solve every problem she had! It got to the point where she began harassing my spouse and we ended up getting a restraining order last summer!

    As of now I am in the process of deleting FB from my life forever!

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