[LINK] More Aspects of the Facebook Fightback

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Fri May 28 09:22:42 AEST 2010

The term 'cyberspace' goes back to a William Gibson short story in 
1983, and has been mainstream since he published 'Neuromancer' in 

The notion of the Internet and/or cyberspace as 'the electronic 
frontier' goes back to some time prior to 1990, and is strongly 
associated with John Perry Barlow.  It's tinged with American 
libertarianism, but it's been a rallying call for a lot of people 
whose focus is much more on freedoms than on 'the God-given right for 
a man to carry a gun'.

In 1996, John Perry Barlow extended the frontier notion with this:

A friend drew the following 2010 re-run to my attention:

It led to two interesting posts.

1.  http://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account
Among other things, that makes clear that it's both a difficult 
process, and an uncertain outcome.

2.  The nicely-balanced comment below.  (And I always thought that 
both blogs and the comments on them were a complete waste of space. 
Tut, tut).

May 27, 2010

Sylvano said...
I have deleted everything from my facebook account, one at a time. 
All of my posts, links, photos, videos, etc, etc, etc...

There wasn't anything there that I didn't have somewhere else except 
for the status updates. So I saved the ones I liked. Typically, 

It was a pleasant activity, actually. Revisiting things, going 
backwards in time. Like reminiscing over an old photo album.

And when all that was done, I went through the privacy settings. One 
at a time. It was all in order, as that was something I had already 
done. But it is interesting to go through the nested list of privacy 
settings to remind oneself of why it is so much crud.

My account remains active, for the moment.

I have two posts remaining. The auto post that announced that I had 
joined facebook, and my last post announcing that I have left 
facebook, with my email address for anyone wanting to contact me.

And that's interesting point to reflect upon.

Because all my friends on facebook already have alternate means of 
contacting me anyway. And me, them. There is a redundancy in the 
connections between me and other people.

This redundancy in connections is rather important. Phone numbers, 
email addresses, postal addresses, twitter ids, IM handles, skype, 
etc, etc. And facebook, of course.

You see, facebook is properly viewed as only one of many threads of 
connection. It isn't and shouldn't be the only point of contact.

But facebook needs its connection between itself, us and the advertisers.
And that's why facebook can never be a true service to it's users.

Because while we expect the connections between ourselves as users to 
be *our* connections to do with as we please, facebook is predicated 
upon a business model of selling out our privacy in exchange for 
advertising revenue.

It seems that facebook goes out of its way to try and make us open 
our legs to get rooted, while telling us that everything is OK.

And there's a word for that.

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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