I’m sure you, dear reader, are a user of Facebook. Who isn’t? It seems silly to even discuss. But for the sake of history, let’s. You’re not a new user. I don’t think anyone is, except that weird great auntie of yours who wears men’s western shirts and just discovered FarmVille.
Being something of a veteran Facebook user, I’m sure you’ll recall that time Facebook changed its format. Remember when your feeds got all messed up and there was a whole different aesthetic? Yes, Timeline was what it was called. Folks were really up in arms about that.
But with Timeline came a sponsored stories feature. All of a sudden, Facebook was filled with ads! If one of your yahoo friends “liked” Target, you’d see an advertisement for Target. If you bothered to read it, you probably received a notification of a class action lawsuit very recently, in which you were named as one of many faceless plaintiffs. If you didn’t read it, you can catch up on it here.
We’re on the brink of something even bigger here, though. Right around the corner is a thing called Graph Search. It’s a handy feature that helps you to connect with other people who share your interests. For example, if you are looking for a single woman who frequently checks in at the local bar down the street from your house and “likes” rape fantasies, there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to find one. Great news, right? If you think for a second that I’m kidding, click here for some real Graph Search results.
So what to do? Sure, you can sit back and wait for that sweet $10 payout from the impending lawsuit settlement, or you can be more proactive about things. The first thing you should do it review the pages you’ve “liked.” Remove anything that’s dumb or embarrassing. Or anything I’ve expressed annoyance about in the past. I’ll wait.
Done? Great. You’ve taken a step toward not getting raped and murdered the next time you head out alone for a nightcap.
Step two is subverting the system. Now no one’s going to have fuel to stalk you, but Facebook is still selling you without your consent. It’s time to mess up their advertising system. Here are seven Facebook pages you can “like” that will not help the social media giant sell anything:
Of course, the obvious argument here is that we don’t have to use Facebook. And that’s true. But we’re going to. We’re going to stay with the service until something better comes along to replace it, because all of our friends are here. It still performs its basic functions well. But, as users, as the bread-and-butter of the Facebook stockholders, we should have some say in whether or not our private information is sold or used against us in any way. Facebook is not inherently bad because it is trying to make money; it is bad because it is trying to make money by exploiting its users, which is just bad practice.