Brian Lamb and many others have been keeping a close watch on FB lately, and its a relief that such critique is on the record throughout the Web2 educational blogger networks.

Below is a copy paste email exchange between a friend of mine and “Facebook User Operations”. In it you will see the process my friend had to go through to get out of Facebook. This friend was once a FB enthusiast, and now he loathes it. I am also on the road out of FB and glad to be getting free of it.

Like most people I saw the huge growth in the numbers of users and got sucked into the vacumm. Being a self proclaimed media and education critic of sorts, I saw it as part of my role to get to know the platform, experiment a bit and advise and critique. Thanks to the many critical thinkers around (especially those that engaged in the FB analysis in the Facilitate Online Learning Communities Course) that job of investigation has been quick and wide ranging. In that focus group we looked at the tools, features and toys in FB, we considered the serious accusations and questionable aspects of FB’s terms and conditions, privacy practices, copyrights, and marketing data collection practices, and we have discussed the bigger social issues around things like FB. Now more recently I have been shown the difficulty people have in actually managing their accounts in FB which is the nail in the coffin for me.

Just as in our “real world” of credit cards, databases, consumer “loyalty” programs and the more serious PR efforts covered by Adam Curtis’ films The Trap and The Century of the Self, FB is just another cynical intrusion on our society and another lift of the bar for those that claim to “do no evil”. Observing the quality of ads on FB lately might indicate that things are not going too well for the inflated FB adventure.

The thing that annoys me the most about all this is that the critics of Web2 will gain yet more traction through FB like bubbles. Those who have been following the Web2 thing should probably see that the likes of FB have very little in common with web2 ideas (closed, locked in, dodgy). Some may recognise it as that familiar corrupting force that will help to derail the more hopeful aspects of the movement, such as the revived belief in the value of a critical, creative and participatory society that helps to develop a more responsive and responsible economy, and more representational culture and mediascape (Benkler – Wealth of Networks).

Sadly, FB is another nod to the chilling warnings in the old classic EPIC2014, “its the best of times, its the worst of times…”

> From: “Facebook Support”
>> Hi …,
>>
>> You’re welcome. Feel free to contact me with any further questions.
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> ….
>> User Operations
>> Facebook
>>
>>
>>
>> —–Original Message to Facebook—–
>> From: …
>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>
>> That’s fine thanks.
>>
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> ——————————

——————–
>> From: “Facebook Support” <….>
>> Sent: Friday, December 07, 2007 5:10 AM
>> To: <….>
>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>
>>> Hi ….,
>>>
>>> We have permanently deleted your account per your request. Please note,
>>> deletion is irreversible. Let me know if you have any other questions
>>> or
>>> concerns.
>>>
>>> Thanks,
>>>
>>> ….
>>> Customer Support Representative
>>> Facebook
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> —–Original Message to Facebook—–
>>> From: …. (….)
>>> To: Facebook Support (….)
>>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>>
>>> I have removed all my friends, profile picture, and inbox messages.
>>> Delete
>>> my account now please.
>>>
>>> Thank the developers of Facebook for making this process as difficult as
>>> possible.
>>>
>>> Is there a valid reason why I have to go through that process, or is it
>>> so
>>> people give up and deactivate their accounts, so they always have an
>>> account
>>> to go back to, so you can advertise to them? Or maybe you count
>>> deactivated
>>> accounts in your supposed 55 million users?
>>> If I have asked for the account to be deleted, I should be able to get
>>> that
>>> done. I should be able to do that myself from the Facebook interface.
>>>
>>> ————————————————–
>>> From: “Facebook Support” <….>
>>> Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 7:43 AM
>>> To: <….>
>>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>>
>>>> Hi ….,
>>>>
>>>> Unfortunately, you have not cleared your profile of all content.
>>>> Please
>>>> remove all friends from your friends list, photos from your profile,
>>>> and
>>>> messages from your Inbox. We will then be able to assist you.
>>>>
>>>> Thanks,
>>>>
>>>> ….
>>>> Customer Support Representative
>>>> Facebook
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> —–Original Message to Facebook—–
>>>> From: …. …. (….)
>>>> To: Facebook Support (….)
>>>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>>>
>>>> I have cleared everything from my account, and wish for it to be
>>>> cleared
>>>> from your server.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Thanks,
>>>> …. …..
>>>>
>>>> ————————————————–
>>>> From: “Facebook Support” <….>
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2007 1:28 PM
>>>> To: <….>
>>>> Subject: Re: Deletion
>>>>
>>>>> Hi ….,
>>>>>
>>>>> If you deactivate, your account, and any information associated with
>>>>> it,
>>>>> is removed from the site. However, we do save your profile content
>>>>> (friends, photos, interests, etc.), so if you want to reactivate
>>>>> someday,
>>>>> your account will look just the way it did when you deactivated.
>>>>>
>>>>> If you want your information removed from our servers, we can do this
>>>>> for
>>>>> you. However, you need to first log in and delete all profile
>>>>> content.
>>>>> Once you have cleared your account, let us know, and we’ll take care
>>>>> of
>>>>> the rest. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
>>>>>
>>>>> Thanks for contacting Facebook,
>>>>>
>>>>> ….
>>>>> Customer Support Representative
>>>>> Facebook
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> —–Original Message to Facebook—–
>>>>> From: …. …. (….)
>>>>> To: privacy@facebook.com (privacy@facebook.com)
>>>>> Subject: Deletion
>>>>>
>>>>> I would like my Facebook completely deleted, not just deactivated.
>>>>>
>>>>> Browser: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:1.8.1.11)
>>>>> Gecko/20071127 Firefox/2.0.0.11
>>>>> —–End Original Message to Facebook—–
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>> —–End Original Message to Facebook—–
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>> —–End Original Message to Facebook—–
>>>
>>>
>>>
>> —–End Original Message to Facebook—–
>>
>>
>>

 

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