What To Do About Facebook?

By , April 23, 2018

Like everyone else who has any involvement with the social media platform, we’re wrestling with what to do about Facebook.

Back in 2013 I turned to Facebook to expand the outreach of this blog. I did so reluctantly, as indicated by the title of the post: Facing Up to Facebook. If you read the comments, you’ll see concern over the move from the outset. I felt that concern was justified at the time; far more so now that we’ve learned about Cambridge Analytica, not to mention all the abuse of our collected data we don’t know about.

Personally, I’ve analyzed my participation on Facebook since before the news broke. For a couple of years now, I’ve joked that “Facebook is like Listerine, I hate it, but I use it twice a day.” I don’t enjoy the site; it’s too full of bad information, unpleasant opinions, and, to put it bluntly, willful ignorance.

Yet, how better to connect with friends and family members, who I honestly would never hear from (as they would seldom hear from me) without casual, non-committal contact through Facebook? It does serve some purpose. The questions yet to be answered are, is it enough? And, is it worth the cost?

Zeiger Family Homestead Facebook page

The Zeiger Family Homestead Facebook “Masthead”.

I checked Facebook’s data collected on me, using the instructions found in this article. I happily discovered that they have relatively little. I’ve been good about avoiding posts that may harvest information. As careless as I feel online, apparently my level of paranoia avoids some traps.

Promoting the blog via Facebook proves a mixed bag. I get more attention from some of the people for whom we originally started the blog: family members. We do gain new readers. On the other hand, it’s an annoyingly complex system. Seems like I can’t do half of what I intend, because of arcane restrictions (some of which I’ve placed on myself through settings).

The data scandal itself has increased problems. Our Facebook followers may have noticed my blog post blurbs no longer include photos. There’s supposedly a way to get that back, but doing so appears overly complicated—and I am a professional Web developer!

Inevitably, at least temporarily, I’ve decided to continue promoting the blog on Facebook. Even with members leaving Facebook in droves, I can still reach people I don’t know.

However, I don’t want to help Big Data get readers’ information. So, a few tips:

Shut down tracking on your Facebook account. Myriad articles tell you how. Choose one that makes most sense to you, follow the directions, and reduce the flow of data!

Visit the page anonymously! Almost every browser offers private browsing, with less tracking than normal. This will hurt our bottom line. We have ads on the blog from which we glean some revenue—the level has dropped drastically since concern over data increased. I don’t know if I can do anything to change this, and I’m not sure I want to try.

Facebook LIKE symbol with question markYou probably know even more solutions, if you’re concerned about data mining. Please feel free to share them with all of us through the comments section.

And, if you want to help keep us afloat, consider buying our books or handicrafts, or join Azure through our links (see Azure Standard Affiliate!). Your patronage is appreciated—and untracked (I think . . . ).

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