Tag Archives: privacy

on the internet, nobody knows that you’re a dog

I mentioned this on Twitter, but as Twitter has grown and grown (congrats, Biz and Ev!) it's become very "in the moment" and not the best place to put very important things like this:

There's a page on Facebook that appears to be mine. The problem with this is that I don't use Facebook, and I don't want people to be mislead. (Ohh! Bold text! Wil must be serious!) 

This is not me. A casual observer could see this page and think it's legit, because there isn't anything on it that clearly identifies it as a fan page, or a parody page, or something like that. For all I know, it's well-intentioned and I'm overreacting, but I just can't take a chance with things like this. At the moment, it appears to be asking for donations to fight Alzheimer's, which is a noble cause, but if I stood back and let anyone claim to be me while asking for money – for anything – it could have really, really bad consequences. 

There is a fanpage, but I don't recall what the address is. I don't have anything to do with it, because I don't use Facebook at all, and I trust the former soapboxers who have taken care of it since it was created to maintain it.

I'm fairly sure that this fake page will be removed or at least forced to clarify that it isn't actually me (if the picture – which I think is pretty funny, by the way – didn't give it away) before too long, and I hate having to be a dick about stuff like this, but it's important to me that my identity (actual and professional) is protected.

Now, as long as I have your attention and I'm talking about Facebook: I think that Facebook is evil, guys. I believe that Facebook is making gazillions of dollars by exploiting its users, and Facebook doesn't give a shit about how its users feel about that. The only reason Facebook has made any changes to their laughable privacy policies recently is because the company was looking at legal action, and was in danger of losing money.

If you're a Facebook user, you should really understand exactly how much of your personal information you're giving up to play those games, and you should know exactly what those developers are doing with it. You should understand that Facebook, as a corporation, doesn't give a shit about your privacy, no matter what their press releases say.

EFF has some important and useful things about all social networks that you should read if you use any of them, but if you're a Facebook user, you should really read How to Get More Privacy From Facebook's New Privacy Controls.

Personally, I think you should delete your Facebook account and wait for Disapora to get going. I know that's unlikely, though, because Facebook has become a useful and convenient way to stay in touch with people you care about. But please, please consider the consequences of trading privacy for convenience, and think about this, from Newsweek:

If you really expect this company to suddenly become trustworthy, you’ve lost your mind. Over the past five years Facebook has repeatedly changed its privacy policy, always in one direction, and every time this happens, the same movie plays out. People complain. Facebook stonewalls, then spins, then pretends to be contrite, then finally walks things back—but only a little.

Whether you use Facebook or not isn't really my business, and I'm not getting all Dad Voice on you if you choose to use it, but I'm alarmed that Facebook is training an entire generation that personal privacy isn't as important as it truly is. If you use Facebook, please protect yourself, and remember that, on the Internet, nobody knows that you're a dog.