As a birthday gift to myself, I quit Facebook and deleted my account

Update: Almost 2.5 years after deleting my Facebook account and writing this post, I have gone back to Facebook and created a new account for myself. This time I will be mainly a passive viewer on Facebook and WhatsApp (which I joined a bit earlier) and keep myself protected from Facebook’s evil designs by doing everything necessary. Details are probably long enough to warrant write a separate post some time later 🙂

I am really glad that my parting message inspired a few of my friends to join Diaspora on one of the pods (http://diasp.org). Here is the message for the benefit of those who didn’t read it before I deleted my account. It strengthens my belief that we can empower our friends with freedom.

As a birthday gift to myself, I am quitting Facebook and deleting my account.

Why? Facebook (and a lot of other websites) tracks and stalks the users (and non-users too, through shadow profiles) all over the internet and make money by selling information about you and targeting advertisements at you. The kind of evil things they do, I am too offended to even list here.

I want to be in full control of my data and privacy, which is why I wanted to quit Facebook about 6 months back. But I decided to wait till my birthday so that I can pass on the message to my Facebook friends who visit my wall to wish me on my birthday.

I already use a lot of anti-tracking measures – Using Facebook only in incognito mode, using a lot of browser extensions like Ghostery, Facebook blocker and browser settings to keep the tracking to a minimum. The all-pervasive Facebook social plugins which put “Like” buttons on all websites are pure evil. They help Facebook to track your internet activities – what websites you visit, what links you click, what your interests are and much more.

I am interested in getting to know more about people whom I have encountered in my life and also to find interesting people. But Facebook barely facilitates that. My ‘News feed’ is full of spam from an ever-growing list of Facebook applications, scam/spam/porn posts broadcast across friends by friends who are smart enough to be easily fooled by such things and Youtube videos, celebrity photos and etc. which I am totally not interested in. Previously there used to be a filter for the news feed through which only the status updates could be viewed, but Facebook has removed it.

Facebook never deletes the user data from its servers even after the user deletes own account. That doesn’t matter to me as I am more bothered about not giving Facebook any more data.

We don’t need a Yahoo! email account to be able to send emails to other Yahoo! users. All that is needed is a valid email account on the internet. But to keep in touch with friends on Facebook or Twitter or Google+ we need accounts on those websites. How sensible is that? There are a lot of other social network which value users’ privacy and also provide inter-operability, meaning you can follow a user on other social network from your current social network. This is possible through a lot of upcoming open standards. Identica (running the StatusNet software), Diaspora are a couple of social networks that provide this feature.

So how do you get in touch with me once I quit Facebook? Those who are in touch with me, already know how to reach me through other means. 🙂 If you are not one of those, but still want to get in touch with me, you will find me on Google+, Twitter, Identica (http://identi.ca/guruprasad) and Diaspora (http://diasp.org/u/guruprasad) and of course my website (//www.lguruprasad.in/) and my blog (//www.lguruprasad.in/blog/). If you are already thinking why I am still on Google+ and Twitter after blabbering about privacy, tracking and control over my data, just hold on. I am on my way to get out of those too pretty soon 🙂

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