Quit Facebook Day is May 31


Friday, May 14th, 2010 — 10:51am PST
Comments 14

Photo by: John Bollwitt

To many people, Facebook is the internet. It’s open in a browser throughout the day, it could be their home screen, and on average users are connected to 130 “friends” at a time [Facebook: Stats]. However, even with close to 400 million users (11 million in Canada alone) Facebook isn’t on everyone’s friend’s list.

Recent changes from everything to layout, policies, and terms of use have some people wanting to quit the platform. This has prompted the creation of “Quit Facebook Day” which will be coming up May 31, 2010.

For a bit of background as to why the extraordinarily popular site is seemingly losing momentum, here’s a brief history of Facebook:

Facebook Timeline

2004
February: Mark Zuckerberg and co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin launch Facebook from their Harvard dorm room
December: Facebook reaches nearly 1 million active users

2005
August: The company officially changes its name to Facebook from thefacebook.com
September: Facebook expands to add high school networks
December: Facebook reaches more than 5.5 million active users

2006
August: Facebook and Microsoft form strategic relationship for banner ad syndication
September: Facebook expands registration so anyone can join (not just school networks)
December: Facebook reaches more than 12 million active users

2007
February: Virtual gift shop launches as a feature
March: Facebook reaches over 2 million active Canadian users and 1 million active UK users
July: I wrote a post about why I use Facebook (and you should too)
October: Facebook and Microsoft expand advertising deal to cover international markets; Microsoft takes a $240 million equity stake in Facebook

2008
January: Facebook co-sponsors Presidential Debates with ABC News, Vancouver hosts first Facebook Awards
April: Facebook launches Facebook Chat and releases Translation application to 21 additional languages
August: Facebook reaches over 100 million active users
The Privacy Commissioner of Canada launches the world’s first investigation into Facebook’s scanty privacy safeguards [Globe&Mail]

2009
February: Facebook updates its Term of Service, backlash follows: “Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore. Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. ”

December: Facebook reaches over 350 million active users

2010
February: Facebook reaches over 400 million active users
April: A new privacy setting called “Instant Personalization” was launched. It shares data with non-Facebook websites and it is automatically set to “Allow.” Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites and uncheck “Allow”, then repost this to your profile. “Many users take issue with the social network’s now-default opt-out inclusion of its users in new features and services and “How do I delete my Facebook account” has become a top search suggestion on Google.”[ReadWriteWeb]

Quit Facebook Day

When I give presentations about social media for business I usually focus on Twitter and blogs however Facebook always comes up. It’s a great way to connect with millions of users and it’s good to have a presence there. However, in every presentation I have at least two people who were completely unaware about Facebook’s Terms of Service. What you upload to Facebook, belongs to Facebook and they may share your information at will. See: “Shocker: Facebook Does What’s Best for Facebook“.

facebook tshirtsThat being said, many users are rightfully unhappy about the “opt out” information sharing that can now take place on Facebook. This is where “Quit Facebook Day” comes in. Created by Matthew Milan and Joseph Dee they are hoping to organize a mass exodus of users from the platform.

From the campaign’s website:
“Why are we quitting? For us it comes down to two things: fair choices and best intentions. In our view, Facebook doesn’t do a good job in either department. Facebook gives you choices about how to manage your data, but they aren’t fair choices, and while the onus is on the individual to manage these choices, Facebook makes it damn difficult for the average user to understand or manage this. We also don’t think Facebook has much respect for you or your data, especially in the context of the future.”

Still, ReadWriteWeb has us ask ourselves some valid questions:
“And while the sharing of your data sounds quite scary, we have to wonder if this reactionary unchecking is causing some who would otherwise benefit to miss out. After all, are we really all that concerned about Pandora knowing, from the moment we load the site, that we’re huge Weezer fans?”

You may take a look through the updated policy (with changes highlighted) in order to form your own opinion on the matter.
[poll id=”53″]

Current contests on Miss604.com

14 comments

  1. I am at an odd place in this situation. Although I do use Facebook, it is only to organize stuff, or to send the odd #fb Tweet, I barely have anything on there. Anything I do post on Facebook I post on my blog and my Twitter, both of which I wish were indexed more.

    That being said, I never did like Facebook and will be the first (as I oft am) to join any replacement for it, but in the meantime, I will continue to never check my Facebook anyways.

  2. Nissa says:

    I use Facebook too much for event planning and photo sharing to ditch it, but I’ve killed most of the personal info I had included on the site. Still, this event can only be a good thing if it succeeds – Facebook really needs to take notice that it’s abusing its users. Sure we’re just a product to them, but if they lose us, they won’t have anything to sell to advertisers.

  3. I’m shocked at how quickly this backlash has escalated! I heard whispers about nerd anger towards Facebook on Monday, but it just kept picking up steam! First the Engadget guys left, then there was that NYTimes piece on Disapora, now this Kill Facebook Day.

    I was one of the first among my friends to join the service back in ’06. At that time everyone was on Nexopia, then about 8 months later, somehow or another, everyone jumped ship onto fb! Since then, growth has been miraculous and I’ve long suspected that people will have invested too much in the platform to make another move to a different network. I’m not sure how much I still believe that, though it is clear that despite some objections people have to privacy concerns, many are not yet prepared to leave.

    I think it’s because Facebook obviously fills a need in our online lives. It’s a great space for photo sharing, events, and businesses. To me, it’s become a modern day rolodex. Until there is a comparable service which does all of this, Facebook will remain king of the social networks. Users need an alternative to move over to. Besides, competition is always a good thing, and perhaps Facebook will clean up its privacy policy, leaving everyone happy in the end.

  4. Brad says:

    I quit Facebook (as did my wife) over a year ago and it was the best decision I ever made. Amazing how much time you waste there…and for no reason what-so-ever.

    I say quit Facebook…and give it a couple weeks, then see how much free time you have.

  5. Linda says:

    I read your blog this morning and later this evening heard you on CBC and it felt like hey! I heard that from Rebecca and what do you know she’ on the program too.

  6. Lynda says:

    This certainly gives me something to think about. I do have concerns and questions about their Privacy policies. Will you be quitting?

  7. photodreamz says:

    I use facebook both for work and personal life. Its hard not to use it. Though I don’t agree with the direction they are going, I will wait until they become really obnoxious. In social media, everyone uses it, so you need to be up with the times.

    As a company how do you draw the line so to speak. When the privacy issues and terms of use become to controlling?

    Its a fine line.

  8. Darren says:

    I’m pretty sure most of the Facebook user base could care less about privacy, so despite Facebook’s misdeeds, I doubt it’s going to hurt them much. What, for example, is the alternative network that Facebook users will migrate to?

  9. Jon Jennings says:

    I’m making a conscious effort to use Facebook less and less. I don’t like the policies, I don’t like the direction and I like even less Facebook’s general attitude towards its users.

    The problem is that, for connections, you have to be where the people are and, at the moment at least, the people are on Facebook (and I suspect that 90% of them don’t care of don’t know about the reasons they shouldn’t be there).

    There are some really juicy snippets circulating right now. This graphic from the NYT showing how complicated it is to understand what Facebook can & can’t do with your data: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/05/12/business/facebook-privacy.html

    Then there’s the alleged IM conversation when Zuckerberg first launched Facebook (he says people are dumb to trust him): http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/Report-Zuckerberg-Called-Facebook-Users-Who-Trust-Him-Dumb-3599

    Given the debate in the courts over the origins of Facebook, this behaviour shouldn’t really surprise anybody.

  10. Laura says:

    I enjoy facebook for finding out about events, concerts, babies born ect… But, that being said, I really think that people put too much information on the website. Do we really need to know what you ate for breakfast? That your kid threw up at night? That your dog pood on your rug? No… It is a strain on relationships due to time on the computer (among other things). Relationships not just with a significant other, but that kid that threw up might want some time with you, not you sitting at the computer. I’ll be keeping it for the events and messages with friends. Some people need to take a look at how long they spend at it each day.

  11. Kristi says:

    I think that we will see facebook fazed out and replaced by another platform that is probably very similar, but has dealt with the info and privacy issues. There will always be a demand now for this kind of social network, but the platform will change with the times. But…I’m not quit ready to quit yet ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Rachel says:

    I really enjoy being able to connect and keep in touch with so many people from different facets of my life that I really can’t see quitting fb anytime soon. That being said, I have significantly reduced the amount of information I post about myself and have basically deleted all photo/video tags, etc. I will keep the info limited but will likely continue to use fb for some time until a better option comes along.

  13. Kenth says:

    “I’m gunna quit Facebook!”

    “But, but, what about ma Farmville? Who’s gunna take care of Rosie?”

    I think mot of the 400 million FB users out there are generally relatively clueless to what’s going on.

    I assume that most of the people that know anything about what’s going on are the ones that have a deeper interest in social media. I know so many people that joined just because someone told them they should and they rarely ever log on to check anything anyway.

  14. Chang says:

    It’s amazing to pay a visit this web site and reading the views of all mates about this article, while I am also keen of getting familiarity.

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