Saturday, May 8, 2010

overdue facebook rant

A rant?  On THIS blog?  It's more likely than you think.

As of now, posts from here are no longer being syndicated on my facebook profile.  The reason I'd developed this stigma against posting random bullshit on here is because of that.  On Facebook my posts get a very targeted audience: people that know me.  This audience was targeted enough that I felt like I needed to limit what I said, hence I made Random Bullshit.

I have actually gone in and told Facebook to delete my account.  This is not the same thing as clicking the infinitely easier to find "Deactivate my account" link.  To find this link you have to go into Help and search for "delete account".  In case you want the URL (or if you're logged in and loathe Facebook enough to delete your account), here it is:

In Facebook's infinite wisdom, account deletion is not instant.  After navigating a maze of large red text, confirmations, password entry, and captcha entry, you are informed that your account will be deleted in 14 days.

Why did I do this?  Facebook has been making tons of changes to the way their privacy system works recently.  Under the guise of adding finer-grained control over who sees what on your profile, certain things are being made completely public, all the time, and you can't hide them.  The finer-grained privacy controls are indeed extensive, and are helpfully set to their least useful values by default, but can be tuned so that you know that only the specific people you want to be able to see each piece of information are seeing it.

Or so I think.  I went into the privacy settings earlier and discovered that two of them (I forget which, logging in will kill my account deletion request) had been reverted from "Only Friends" to "Everyone" for me.  I changed them back, and then changed a whole new page of options that I believe were added when they decided to link all of your profile information to pages just to piss you off.

Then I finally manned up, went in, and changed everything to its absolute most restrictive.  In most cases, this setting is "Only Me", which is buried under the "Customize" option.  Some things like allowing people to friend you can't be outright denied, but the most restrictive option will suffice.

Following this, I went on a crusade.  Removed the Blog/RSS entry for this blog and painstakingly deleted every single post it had imported one at a time because there's no mass-deletion option for notes that I could find.  So count the number of posts I've made since I believe sometime in 2008, and multiply that number of clicks by two.  Also deleted was every single picture I'd ever uploaded (I made a 50x50 profile picture containing the text "facebook does not respect your privacy" to use so I could delete my face from my profile).  I removed every single friend, and I untagged myself from everything I had ever been tagged on.  I even changed my username to "user" from its previous value of XT8147.  I didn't change my real name or delete my comments from anything, but in 14 days that shouldn't matter.  Comments will probably still be there with my name on them, but it won't link to a profile.

Anyway, back to why I haet Facebook.  Other than their glaring privacy issues, Facebook Beacons and Facebook Connect attempt to track your activity around the internet and link it back to your profile.  Even if you disable Beacons, the beacon page on Facebook's servers still gets loaded in the background, so they still know you did something.  As for Connect, it's their proprietary "alternative" to OpenID, and thus sucks balls.

They aren't content at all with the way the site ever looks or operates.  They're always changing something.  It's under the guise of providing a better user experience, but yet they ignore the feedback they get from the very users that have to experience their clusterfuck of a website.  Your news feed is not sorted chronologically by default.  It tries to pick and choose specific things that it thinks you'll find interesting and displays them in a purely random order.  You can still click "Most Recent", but you'll have to do that every time you log in.

They are trying to make their site operate more like Twitter.  It's obvious that they recognize that Twitter has a far superior interface.  This is because it's much simpler.  Sure, Twitter is basically just akin to a Facebook status update, but it's something I value very much in a service: it's dedicated.  It does only one thing, and does it well.  Facebook is this huge pile of shit that tries to be an instant messenger, Twitter, YouTube, your favorite image sharing site, a forum, newsgroups, a blog platform, event scheduler, email, and more.  There's no possible way it could ever do any of those things nearly as well as a dedicated service, because they've spread themselves way too thin.  They have so many features that are intertwined that they can't possibly do a serious upgrade on any one of them without having to perform updates on all the other features just to avoid breaking the site.

Facebook tries to coerce you into divulging every last little bit of personally identifying information you have.  They have profile fields for everything from your typical interests to your phone number and home address.  While you don't have to fill in anything for those, the fact that they have a field for some things basically means they want that information, and enough people use the site that it's very mathematically probable that someone will enter that information.  In fact, tons of people have.

Facebook employees have (anonymously) admitted that they never actually delete anything, ever.  This is very troublesome given that they ask for so much personally identifying information.  I hold the firm belief that the internet and real life should be as far separated as possible.  I've already slipped up and related my real name to the name I normally use everywhere online, but I'm beginning to use other names whenever possible.  Unfortunately, I can't really change my name anywhere because then my real name will become associated with whatever new internet name I come up with, so for sites like this one I'm stuck using this name.

I won't be importing all the posts from Random Bullshit over here or anything, but expect that blog to get fewer posts.  I may update the layout of this one (let's face it, it's been the same since I created it in 2008).  It'll probably resemble the layout on Random Bullshit, except without the opacity CSS since that does weird things with subpixel rendering/ClearType.  I'll leave the link to Random Bullshit from here just so those posts can still be experienced if you so desire.

So, things I didn't post about on here that I can now that I no longer have the stigma of having everything I post be guaranteed to be seen by people I might not want to be reading it include:
  • Chu-Bra!! (The anime about middle-school girls obsessed with underwear)
  • Kiss x Sis (I am very much into 2D wincest, not so much 3D/IRL)
  • B Gata H Kei (main character (female) has the goal of having sex with 100 guys while in high school)
  • well, this list was going to have more in it but that's really it
Also, in case you haven't been reading Random Bullshit, I now have a Twitter account.  It's taking the place of Random Bullshit, and more long-winded stuff will be here since I'm not limited to 140 characters here.

I have several unfinished posts sitting here, so hopefully I'll get around to them soon.

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