No. 9: Can Facebook be Escaped?

In light of Facebook’s recent data breach, many are becoming increasingly concerned with their digital privacy. In a world that is dominated by technology more and more everyday, these issues and protection against them are beginning to feel unavoidable.

Within the dialogue surrounding the breach, the New York Times published a piece about  if you can actually #DeleteFacebook. Turns out… you really cannot. To delete and remove yourself from Facebook for the average user means a social media overhaul. When we say #DeleteFacebook, we are thinking too narrowly. It is naive to believe that we can simply log on, delete our account, and be done. Many are completely forgetting about (or choosing to ignore) the wide reach Facebook truly has over the world.

Say you delete your Facebook account because you are concerned about online privacy–you still likely have an Instagram account and in some cases WhatsApp. Both of these services are owned by Facebook and using information from your Facebook account. So if you truly want to be part of the #DeleteFacebook bandwagon that unfortunately means rethinking you other social media accounts as well. This is something many users are unlikely to do.

Additionally, an interesting point raised in the New York Times article is that Facebook is not our only online privacy concern. Websites are constantly collecting data through cookies, which is fairly unavoidable. I would argue that escaping Facebook’s grip is nearly impossible. If you delete your Facebook account you are still vulnerable to data collection just from a different actor. In our current culture, it is almost a fruitless endeavor to try and “#DeleteFacebook”. If we want the benefits of an increasingly technological world, we must at times accept the unwanted side effects.