You might never join Facebook, but a zombie you — sewn together from scattered bits of your personal data — is still sitting there in sort-of-stasis on its servers waiting to be properly animated if you do sign up for the service. Or waiting to escape through the cracks of another security flaw in Facebook’s systems.
In the past, I’ve not exactly forgiven Facebook for its methods per se, but I have tried to put them in perspective. For decades, American business has employed all kinds of tools to determine what you might want to buy. After all, consumer spending does drive the economy, and a better connection to your wallet does mean jobs and the creation of wealth. It also means that you spend less time and trouble finding that product that fulfills a need. We have come a long way from the days of spending a whole afternoon with a copy of the Yellow Pages and a telephone in search of a particular widget that would fix a problem.
On the other hand, those efforts that targeted me targeted me alone and left out the innocent bystanders. The insidious manner in which Facebook and its ilk delves into our personal lives to build up databases to sell to marketers seriously calls into question the value that it might provide us as users. Despite its methods, I am simply not seeing anything advertised in my timeline that relates at all to my life. In the time I’ve spent on Facebook, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve clicked a sponsored post and fewer where it lead to a sale.
I’ve considered myself something of an iconoclast and perhaps brazenly thought that marketers couldn’t pigeonhole me, but I’m certainly not averse to mainstream consumerism. However, other than a connection to people that I would have otherwise consigned to memory, the exchange of quips, jokes, and cat photos, and yet-another method of re-broadcasting RoadsideOnline posts, Facebook largely wastes my time. Deep down, I know that. I see myself laying on my deathbed regretting all the hours and hours I spent poring over my feed looking for something useful, funny, or insightful.
And now, I find I’m merely a conduit, unwillingly spying upon my actual friends who refuse to join the “fun.”
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Mark Zuckerberg is a lying punk. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw his collection of hoodies.