2518864-8236474736-tombsA followup to my post of 21 May where I discussed not only the FB suicide, but how I did it. The question is: How am I coping since committing FB suicide? The question popped up when I had some time today to check my LinkedIn feed. It was Shared from Wired (I’m Quitting Social Media to Learn What I Actually Like).

So how am I coping? The answer is ‘very well, thank you’ 😉

I have some friends in my new anonymised FB profile. Although clearly I will never achieve anonymity so long as I have connections to friends. Nevertheless although I have few friends, my feed was filling up again….. panic! Not that I’m not interested in what my FB (and now only physical) friends are up too, it’s just I would prefer to choose when I check them out. You know when I have an hour to spare one evening, with a cup of my favourite tea, sitting in my favourite couch 🙂

So I unfollowed all my FB friends. It is a dream, I now have the advantages of FB without the intrusions on my life. No adverts, as I’ve clicked nothing outside of my direct FB friends, and no feeds, except those that really interest me, e.g. data protection commission. It is lovely, sometimes I am thinking, I wonder what so-and-so is up to nowadays? Then I take a look, but only if I have the luxury of time and I’m in the mood 😀

2518864-8236474736-tombsI have been contemplating Facebook suicide for quite some time now, since 2014. This blog post gives a step-by-step description of how I did this (with links) in case you want to do the same. I hope you find this useful…

Reason for this action – were primarily motivated by the feeling that my concerns for privacy started to outweigh the benefits. In addition the amount of junk popping up in my feed influenced by my click history was boring. I also felt that I had become a ‘passive consumer’ of social media, just as my generation were the first real ‘passive consumers’ of television. I wanted to stop this ‘addiction’ which is what it is… checking your feed for updates, checking if your posts got some Likes and Comments…. when I could be reading a book, or spending time with my family doing normal things.

Requirements:

  • I still wanted to be connected to my family and very close friends;
  • I wanted to delete the years of ‘my user behaviours’ from my account that were behind the adverts popping up;
  • I wanted to be anonymous enough so that anyone that searched for my name, would not know who I was through my connections, even if they shared something that I shared;
  • I did not want any personal photos that my FB friends would feel compelled to Like, and then I would be compelled to check my feeds for Likes 😉
  • I didn’t want to be drawn to restart my behaviour as a ‘passive consumer’ of social media content;
  • Given what I wanted, I knew that it is quite impossible to be anonymous from government intelligent agencies, they would keep my old FB content for at least 10 years, however I needed a compromise for today and the future;
  • I wanted FB, but I wanted a clean start.

Here is what I did:

  1. I set-up a new clean account and added my active FB account as a friend. I gave an age under 18, false name, an email not linked to my old account, and no additional information. The fact that I created an account as under 18 years, means some of the privacy settings are stricter by default.
  2. I warned my FB friends that I would be deleting my account – in January – and gave them the choice of connecting to my new account. When I deleted my active account I had 20 FB friends on the new clean account.
  3. I did nothing for 3 months, and made no postings on the clean account and minimal on the active account. My FB friends that were also friends on the clean account started posting to both during this time.
  4. downloaded a copy of the FB account to be deleted. This includes all your posts, your photos, even your click history, just about eveything except your Instant Messages.
  5. I deleted my Instant Messages. This is not so easy as you need to go into each message individually and delete, and it takes several clicks for each. What I did was use Chrome and downloaded an extension that deletes all your messages in one or two attempts, it works and it is good 🙂
  6. However deleting your messages does not delete them from your friends message archive unfortunately. Your best bet is to ask them them delete anything linked to your old account. I didn’t work this one out until after I had deleted all my messages 😦
  7. I removed my old account as a friend from my clean account.
  8. I deleted my FB account – Delete Facebook Account.
  9. I ‘unfollowed’ all friends feeds on clean account.
  10. Privacy Settings – I set ‘who can contact me’ to “Strict Filtering”
  11. Privacy Settings – ‘Do you want other search engines to link to your Timeline?’ = No
  12. Notifications – I basically turned them off except those pertaining to Security and Privacy.
  13. Apps, Websites and Plug-ins – Disabled
  14. Always Play Anonymously – On
  15. Apps others use – Unclick All
  16. Old versions of Facebook for mobile – Only Me
  17. Adverts – third-party sites = No one
  18. Adverts and friends = No one
  19. Adverts Based on Your Use of Websites or Apps Outside of Facebook – now this is a bit complicated, but you need to go into each of the Opt-out sites (there are 4) and choose Opt-out. You need to have cookies enabled to make this work. I did this in Chrome. Here you can see the sites that you are already opted-out of. It is dynamic, so when you opt-out it will update immediately.

This is as claimed by Johan Staël von Holstein. Do you believe that everything you are digitally, and do online should belong to you? This includes your “digital identity” and all data/information you create online associated with your identity?

I placed “digital identity” in quotes because today it is not your digital identity, it is in fact not a digital identity at all. It is purely some fields in a database somewhere, in many databases. In fact you have no idea where you exist digitally. You may know that you exist in social networking tools such as Facebook, but not where your information has propagated to. Social networking tools have enabled you to add contextual information to your identity name, or your ‘digital identity’, i.e. your digital footprint, but you do not own this. These rich corporations makes loads of money from your digital footprint, but it should be you who is making money from this. It is, after all, your intellectual property!

YOUR IDENTITY – YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT IS YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY!

Everything you create online should belong to you. All user-generated content should be the intellectual property of the individual, user, who created this content. You should have control over your digital identity, and your digital footprint. Organisation should have control over their corporate identity, but not yours! I call this not identity management (IAM/IDM), the term used in organisations, but IDENTITY CONTROL. This is the future!

Listen to a recent podcast released 07 May 2014, where Johan talks about these things, like when and why will Google and Facebook die? The future of identity control. Listen to it all, the real cool stuff comes in the second half of the podcast, so hang in there!

I think it’s a great initiative this Bug Bounty Program. Apparently quite a few companies are doing this, i.e. payment to white hat hackers, who report a security flaw.

Facebook has this initiative. However when a researcher and white hat hacker (Khalil from Pakistan) reported a flaw to the FB security team, they responded saying it was not a flaw. Well this was just a little bit annoying. He tried a couple of times for them to understand, and then he said, ok warned them that he would exploit the flaw.

The flaw allowed anyone that is not in your friends list to post directly on your FB Wall! So Khalil posted a message onto Mark Zuckerberg’s Wall. Facebook refused to pay the bounty amount to Khalil on the premise that he didn’t follow protocol.

Now this is old news… about a week old. However, what is new is that the CTO of a company called BeyondTrust decided that Khalil should be compensated for his service and created a crowd-sourced fund for the researcher, with a goal of reaching $10,000 after which the amount will be deposited in Khalil’s account. In addition to that, Maiffret deposited $3,000 from his own pocket to the fund. In less than 24 hours, 79 people contributed nearly $9,000 into the fund. Read more HERE.

There has been another Guardian exclusive – online access to Snowden Q&A that is worth a look if you’re just a little intrigued by all the excitement. Make yourself a cup of coffee first though 😉

What seems to be clear is that when Snowden says NSA has direct access to the 9 main Internet services, he means direct access. When questioned about denials made by Google, Facebook, Apple, etc., his response was that they had no choice. It seems they have some sort of ‘gagging’ order and break the law by admitting to these top-secret operations.

Another way the citizen can make a difference. Similar to the New Web post I made earlier today, but in the form of world causes. It’s called Go Petition on Facebook. So go and sign-up against your favourite cause. Make a difference!