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Why you should #DeleteFacebook

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Jan 18, 2019 11:50 AM
The Free Software Foundation does not use Facebook -- and neither should you. Here are some reasons why.

It may feel as if everyone you know uses Facebook. But there are many compelling reasons not to do so.

When you use Facebook, you give up control over your computing to a server run by someone else -- it's Service as a Software Substitute. The parts of it that do run on your local system are nonfree JavaScript (or other kinds of nonfree software, if you use the mobile app). Because you cannot inspect or modify either the code on Facebook's servers, nor the nonfree code running on your system, you are expected to trust that code only Facebook can read does what Facebook says it does.

Using the unethical power of SaaSS and nonfree software, Facebook disregards your privacy by tracking, recording, and selling as much of your data as it can get. The site's user "privacy" settings are anti-privacy by default. In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018, Facebook made it easier for users to decide who and what got access to their personal information -- but that's too little, too late. The fact is, if you use Facebook, you can virtually guarantee that you are being tracked and your information is being turned over to companies, and even governments, to use as they please.

Facebook's power comes from its users. By using Facebook, you help them gather information about you and the people in your life -- not the other way around. Organizations that share information on Facebook draw others to use the site, too. Even if you don't use Facebook, your privacy is at risk if others share information or photos including you on the site.

You might brush this off, believing that being tracked while using the Internet is an inevitability. But even the most jaded person would be stunned by the extraordinary amount of personal information that Facebook gathers. Their tracking may change as they attempt to placate those who have turned a critical eye on Facebook's laissez-faire attitude toward user privacy, but Facebook has collected mobile phone metadata, along with information on all of users' activity performed on the site. Even people who refuse to use Facebook aren't safe, because their friends may have shared their contact information by giving Facebook permission to access their phone contacts, tagged them in photos, or discussed them by name in a post or a private message.

But being subjugated by nonfree software and tracked on the Internet aren't inevitable! Fortunately, there are many efforts underway to provide distributed, user-controlled, free software services to facilitate connection between people, including GNU social, Mastodon, and Diaspora. Free software is software that gives you, the user, the freedom to share, study, and modify it -- with free software, the user is free!

The Free Software Directory offers an up-to-date listing of replacements for Service as a Software Substitute, including a comprehensive listing of free software-based social network services. These services will not have the same kinds of problems, because both the communication-handling code and the communication data will be in the hands of the people doing the communicating. (Government regulation prohibiting privacy violations is important because your privacy is at risk even when you use decentralized, free software for social networking, but social media technology itself still should have respect for user privacy built in to its foundation: read more about decentralized and federated software on the FSF High Priority Projects list.)

To keep up with the FSF on free software-based, distributed social media platforms, follow us on GNU social (which can talk to Mastodon) and Diaspora. You can self-host on one of these platforms, or create an account on one of the public instances listed for GNU social, Mastodon, or Diaspora.

Not f'd — you won't find me on Facebook

Copy and paste this code for your own website!

<a href=""><img src="" alt="Not f'd — you won't find me on Facebook" /></a>

You can encourage people not to give up their freedom, privacy, and control over their computing while thinking that they are connecting with you, by putting this button on your blog or web site, with a link to whatever method you would prefer they use to contact you directly -- maybe your GNU social or Mastodon account.

Alternatively, you could point it at this post.

Our button, of course, is not linked to any surveillance database or tracking system.

Note: You may find some pages about the FSF or GNU on Facebook, because anyone can create pages there. Know that these pages are unofficial and not maintained by FSF staff or the GNU Project, nor did we ask for them to be created.

Download our dislike button and put it on your website, or print your own dislike stickers.

All buttons released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

Please feel free to change the buttons, but keep both of the creator names intact, and make sure your buttons are under the same license.

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