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Cass's picture
Cass's picture
Cass

I have started an account on ILeftFacebook.com, even though really, I only barely qualify for that dubious "honour".

I created a Facebook account to try and combat the increasing amount of FB spam from well-meaning friends trying to get me to join the site - full of their excitement at being able to communicate using this exciting new medium, and having apparently not read my many rants on the subject (maybe they only skimmed their former social network - maybe they just added their whole addressbook? Who knows..?) they wanted me to become part of the Borg. I put up a profile begging people to please stop inviting me to join - I would never add them as a friend, and I was not interested in the site, as the morality of the founder and the security and privacy issues, had always worried me - and do so now more than ever.

You know what happened when I put up this damning profile? The spam got worse. I got event invites, friend requests, SO much more than I ever got before - because now not only were people adding me by adding their whole addressbook (or just ignoring my formerly polite requests) - because FB kindly let people know that I was now on FB and didn't they want to connect with me? Yeah, they wanted to connect with me so much they happily clicked a button right next to my name, instead of thinking "hmmm, Cass hates FB, why would she be here?", and looking at my profile, and respecting my wishes - nope, the click of a single button is made so insidiously easy - in fact, required - that that's all they did. In retrospect, I can hardly blame them, knowing now what social pressure they were put under by the site to do so!

So I deleted this profile put up to deter people from spamming me and, for the first time ever in over 14 years online, created an email filter to assign all FB emails to the spam bin and never see anything from the site ever again. I hated doing this. The site was far too powerful. Nothing had ever forced me to do something like this before. But at least, there was peace in my inbox for a while.

Of course, FB has created numerous problems in my life since that time.

The anger I felt at FB's social pressure on people I liked and previously had a lot of interaction with before they migrated to FB spilled over and has tarnished, and in some cases, ruined, friendships that were fine before FB existed.

I still have a great deal of trouble controlling emotions regarding Facebook, as I see it as an entity that has brought out the worst in so many people - including myself, ironically. I have seen families split apart. I have seen events destroyed through thoughtless social "management". I have seen stalking facilitated, I have seen people delete their grandmothers because they can't stand the pressure any more. There is an endless list - I'm sure you all have yours. Mine just had added to it the likely destruction of an event, due to the way FB encourages people to forget that anyone outside FB exists or should have a right to input to what gets said, or when.

The news is full of the worst of FB, and I'll probably be posting links and commentary here as things come to my attention.

If you have stories to share, if you need to vent - most of our friends who've drunk the kool-aid really don't want to hear us rage in their faces through our existing social networks. So I'm not going to say much more elsewhere, and move my ranting here instead.

So please share your stories. The more of us speak up, the less lonely it will be over here, while we wait for a better solution to communicating online without the mediation of a sociopath.

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jeremygbyrne's picture
jeremygbyrne's picture
jeremygbyrne

This website will be developed as a prototypical "Social Network 2.0" style application, with a variety of content feeds both in and out, advanced security, notifications and the like. As such, its design is likely to be in a state of flux, and may not operate as expected.

If you have any ideas for features you'd like to see in such a site, please leave a comment.

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jeremygbyrne's picture
jeremygbyrne's picture
jeremygbyrne

Over the last few months it has become clear that Facebook's domination of Social Networking is bad for the internet—bad in a way which challenges the basic infrastructure, culture and conventions which have developed in the "online world" over the last couple of decades. Facebook is closed, insecure and monocultural; and if the press is to be believed, its business practices are predatory and its management unethical. Facebook is simply not the right company, nor the right technology, to set the standard for how we interact with one another online.

This site is dedicated to encouraging and assisting people to stop using Facebook and instead to use alternatives which accord with those conventions, and thereby benefit everyone. The idea for this project is two and a half years old; the compelling need for it has only become obvious more recently. I can only hope it proves both timely and valuable.

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