Facebook is bad for you

A good few years ago some guy invented a website called The Facebook. Originally only used by Harvard students as an alternative, online version of the old "face books" handed out by universities to help students get to know one another, it wasn't long before it was expanded to all universities. Pretty soon that expanded to just Everyone Ever. About 500 Million people are now on Facebook. What originally started as Facemash, a Hot or Not clone using hacked and stolen dorm ID pictures of Harvard students has become one of the most used websites on the planet. Predictably, this pisses me off.

You've all heard the privacy problems, heard about workers getting fired for having the wrong groups or saying some stupid things or posting dumb pictures, heard the stories about people losing jobs or even being straight out actually killed cause of Facebook. I'll save you the age old arguments there. I trust all of you are smart enough to not end up dead cause you left your address and working hours on Facebook along with a detailed description of the best and worst ways to break in.

The reason I really dislike Facebook is manifold, its censorship of critical subjects, lack of customer support and H-h-hilarious views on your right to not be sold like a Thai bride being just some of the many many issues that the site has. They seem like a decent place to start;

Censorship. That can't be right? Surely Facebook allows people to spread messages quicker and get news and ideas out into the open, why, just look at how many people join those petition and all the good they do (none). Well you're wrong, again, damn why do you even bother. you big stupid ape. In February 2010 Facebook deleted every group that had anything to do with the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. No reason was given  The groups were later restored and Facebook said it was "due to opposing members flagging the groups". In May they deleted the group for a radio station that posted some critical comments about Facebook and linked to an article about why Leo Laporte deleted his account. Small fries maybe, but there were no repercussions for this censorship, just as they wont be for any future ones. I realise Facebook is technically a private service and are allowed to do whatever they please, but deleting accounts cause they said mean things sounds almost so childish I can hardly believe it.

These articles highlight one fact that you should always remember. Facebook owns your ass, they own everything you post and everything you say. they own your address, email, real name and phone number. The can, do and will sell all of this to whoever has enough cash, they are in many ways a bigass mailing list. Course, what other mailing list lets you send your friends pokes and show everyone the pics of you getting mad wasted? As if that wasn't bad enough, Facebook boasts Paypal as a major shareholder. You may know of Paypal as the big online NotBank famous for screwing everyone and selling everyone's details all the god damn time. If you have no idea why an online NotBank having access to every bit of info about your life is a bad idea well I guess you're probably a happier person than me.

Facebook's customer service is non-existent. I can't really describe it in any other terms while maintaining my impeccable journalistic integrity. Much of its reporting facilities are automated and scripted. For example, imagine you stumble upon a profile that has nudity in the profile picture. You hit the report button on the page and file a complaint for nudity. What we'd like to imagine is that one of the administrators of the website has a look and decided what the best course of action is. Unfortunately that isn't always the case. There have been many many cases of people ebing banned for posting reports. This ban is automatic. This is just one of the nigh infinite ways you can be banned from Facebook.

Facebook's legal history is more that a bit murky too. There have been a handful of times when the website has been sued by others for intellectual copyright theft. I have yet to find strong evidence either way on this subject, but Facebook has never been cleared by law, only by out of court settlements, of which I am always weary of. I'm not saying here that all or any of those cases are true, but they warrant notice.

As one final note. Facebook has a very long history of being dishonest with its terms of service agreement. This is basically a contract you sign by using the service. A while ago there was a brouhaha about the terms when it was found that Facebook has the right to hold all of your stuff, forever, and do whatever they like with them. This started a large domino effect leading to the new "democratic" system they are implementing. There is, unsurprisingly, problems with that as well.

I'm not saying "Do Not Use Facebook". Though it may look that way cause I've just been a cock this whole article. All I'm asking is to think about what services you use. Facebook has many benefits, millions of people connect each day in ways that would be impossible otherwise. Just two weeks ago I helped my Granddad find some old guy he knew 60 years ago. Turned out the guy was dead but thats hardly the point. On the other hand (the massive, overused hand that we've been on this whole article) you only need look for a second before finding pages of complaints and disgruntled users. The question, I suppose, is "Is it worth it?" And the answer is No stop using that shitty site.

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