Monday, September 15, 2014

Facebook Is No Friend of Freedom

I am not one to write complaint articles, but in this case I will make an exception.  Facebook disabled my account because I do not use my so-called "real" name, but a nom de plume, which I do for reasons of privacy.  There are people in this world with whom I have no interest in holding conversations or having any contact whatsoever.  I'm in no humor to be "found" by some of the less stellar people I've known in years past and therefore choose to retain my anonymity to the degree that casual searching frustrates the seeker.  Naturally, anyone who really wants to find me would be able to, but I am nobody of particular note and by that fact do not expect too many hard-core researchers to be out scouring the net in the attempt to deduce my "real" identity.

Facebook has changed.  It used to be that one could establish an effectively anonymous account, but no more.  Now, one is required to enter a "verifiable" (IOW traceable) phone number and/or an image of an "government-issued ID".  This is unacceptable IMO.

Some may say that if the change is egregious then don't use Facebook.  I agree.  My purpose here is not to whine until they let me have an anonymous account, but to warn people away from using the site as they are no friends of individual liberty.

Facebook is a privately run site and by that virtue they can adopt whatever lousy policies they choose, and they have chosen so very well in that regard.  Why can there be no anonymity?  Why does Facebook feel they need to "know" who you are?  The only credible answer there is because they are in bed with government agencies who may decide to show an interest in the individual behind a given account.

So long as one is not committing a crime or acting atrociously, and many people behave terribly on Facebook, then why would they care who is behind a screen name?  There is no justifiable reason.  I must, therefore, warn people away from using it.  Yes, I know that this will have zero effect on usage, but at least I can say I wrote my peace.

I believe Facebook cannot be trusted to the end of one's nose and so long as they demand government-issued ID I will stand by that assessment.  Nothing they provide there is so important that I cannot make my way at other venues.

For me, Facebook has become an irrelevant and untrustworthy entity.  Perhaps the answer I should give is a rival site where people can establish anonymity and rest assured that nobody will be getting their information, at least not without a warrant.  I would add that such a system would be architected to retain zero information about the transactions occurring on the site.  If someone is conducting criminal activities, the "authorities" would be welcome to play tag with the parties in question in the effort to ID and apprehend the culprits.  I would have nothing more to do with such activity.

So here's to the launch of  Just kidding.  I have better things to do with my time.

So do yourself a favor and either discontinue your Facebook account or at least greatly limit your activity there because those people cannot be trusted in the smallest measure.

Until next time, please accept my best wishes.