ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

FaceFacts —

Hello Jason,

I’ve recently learned of your amazing archiving efforts and I wanted to thank you for all that you have done for the internet community. You’ve really got me thinking more than I had before about the fragile nature of personal data and indeed so much of the personal expression ordinary people output every day.

To that end, I wanted to ask you about Facebook.

As Facebook matures, and presuming it remains the dominant social platform of its type for at least another five years, there are going to be many people who will have died after creating an account (I had a friend die aged just 20 last year and her Facebook has been instrumental in helping her friends and family, some scattered across many miles, come to terms with her passing. It has also provided us with a digital memory of her, but I now realise how fragile that memory is.) While Facebook offer memorial sites right now [which is of course better than their previous offer of deletion], what happens when Facebook is no longer active? Facebook, to me, would seem to be a harder than normal site to archive, due to the crosslinking-dependantcy and fleeting comment nature of such a site. This site, much like the site you mentioned in your talk at the personal digital archiving conference, is full of emotional expression. However, I fear that a similar fate to those of so many other large hosting sites will befall Facebook when it becomes unwanted.
What is your opinion regarding the longevity and challenge of archiving this internet behemoth?
Thank you for taking the time to read this email,


Hey there, Nathanael.

Well, first, let’s start with Facebook itself.

Facebook is the third of what is probably a quartet (or quintet) of the destruction of the innocence of computing.  First was viruses, second was malware, third is facebook. I suspect fourth will be related to control of networking itself, and fifth will be licensing of high level computer ability. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Facebook is a living computer nightmare.  Just as viruses took the advantages of sharing information on floppies and modems and revealed a devastating undercarriage to the whole process, making every computer transaction suspect… and just as spyware/malware took advantage of beautiful advances in computer strength and horsepower to turn your beloved machine of expression into a gatling gun of misery and assholery… Facebook now stands as taking over a decade and a half of the dream of the World Wide Web and turning it into a miserable IT cube farm of pseudo human interaction, a bastardized form of e-mail, of mailing lists, of photo albums, of friendship. While I can’t really imply that it was going to be any other way, I can not sit by and act like this whole turn of events hasn’t resulted in an epidemic of ruin that will have consequences far-reaching from anything related to archiving.

Each era of computing has had companies that rose above the others, whose stratospheric rise in income and success and mindshare and whatever else marketing fucktards want to call it turned heads. A start-up goes from an eyebrow-raiser to a non-proper noun to a verb. A million asshole salespeople and technological wannabes and pundits and sniffing elites make the word longer, as in “like facebook”. Something is like facebook, does something like facebook, wants to be like facebook, is like facebook but in some way different that somehow will magically propel it in even farther, without realizing that under contemporary situations, facebook is as high up as you want to go.

Microsoft did awful fucking things. I mean, all the time. Really awful things. So did IBM, way back when. Compaq? Assholery. Sony? Doing ten awful fucking things this morning before breakfast. Of course awful things are on the agenda and the lifeblood of any firm so big that it can affect law, affect standards, make millionaires just sucking under its folding metal chair for breadcrumbs. Facebook is just doing it to People.

People aren’t just eating Facebook’s Shit Sherbet of overnight upgrades, of lack of guarantees and standards, of enveloping tendrils of web standard breaking. They are shoveling it down. They’re grabbing two crazy handfuls of Facebook every minute of every day when they’re not forced to walk down a hallway or look up from their phones or ipads or laptops or consoles. They’re grabbing buckets of Facebook and finding ways to shove it down with one hand while pawing around for a second bucket.  People have bought the fuck in.

Remember that week when Facebook decided which of your friends would show up on your what’s new thing? That was great. Remember a week or two ago when they changed the behavior of the Enter key in text boxes? Awesome. How about that nosebleed you got when they changed privacy/information standards six different ways, trying them on like new Malibu Stacy hats, as an audience ranging from barely literate mouthbreathers to computer scientists got to experience One True Rogering Of Personal Information. And there we all were! We wondered if there was some sort of App we could install in Facebook to give us a third bucket and arm to keep that Sherbet coming.

The old saw is that people don’t understand that Facebook doesn’t consider the users their customers – they consider the advertisers their customers. Make no mistake, this is true... but it implies that Facebook takes some sort of benign “let’s keep humming along and use this big herd of moos to our advantage”. But it doesn’t. Facebook actively and constantly changes up the game, makes things more intrusive, couldn’t give less of a shit about your identity, your worth, your culture, your knowledge, your humanity, or even the cohesive maintenance of what makes you you. Facebook couldn’t care less about you than if it was born in your lower intestine and ripped out of you in the middle of the night.

I use Facebook every single day. Because of its disgust and distaste for borders and stratum, I’ve gotten back in touch with some very important folks in my past, and used Facebook to get information about a variety of people and figures that are relevant to my work in history and research. I can do this because Facebook lets you rip through millions of profiles to spearfish just the knowledge you need, out of a blazing torrent of intrusion and exposure, and grab the tailcoat of a person’s life and yank hard, real hard. I use Facebook, in other words, like a search tool on human beings. For that, it is really great.

But the fact that anyone would put anything of any unique nature on there, that matters to them, is beyond insanity – it’s identity suicide. It’s like you are intentionally driving down the road of life, ripping pages of your journal and photo albums, and tossing them out the window. Good luck finding anything again. Good luck knowing in six months, a year, something will even be findable. Try and communicate with anyone using their designed-by-a-second-trimester-fetus “message” system with any of the features from the last 30 years. Go back and try and negotiate it for search and topic control and usefulness. No. Not happening. Everything on Facebook is Now. Nothing, and I mean nothing on Facebook is Then. Or even last month.

So asking me about the archiving-ness or containering or long-term prospect of Facebook for anything, the answer is: none. None. Not a whit or a jot or a tiddle. It is like an ever-burning fire of our memories, gleefully growing as we toss endless amounts of information and self and knowledge into it, only to have it added to columns of advertiser-related facts we do not see and do not control and do not understand.

As we watch this machine, this engine that runs on memories and identity and watch it sell every last bit of us to anyone who will pay, as it mulches under our self and our dreams and our ideas and turns them into a grey miserable paste suitable for a side dish or the full entree of the human online experience, I am sure many of us will say it’s no big deal. It should say something that in the face of this situation, having watched what has happened, what has transpired and likely will transpire, that I am not even trying. I’m not giving one goddamned second of thought to extraction or archiving or longevity or meaning. I can only hope that all the projects and processes and memories and history that I am focusing on will make me happy in the face of the colorless, null-void cloud of pre-collapsed galaxy that is the Facebook Nebula.

Thanks for your question!

Categorised as: computer history

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  1. Ben Morgan says:

    About a year and a half ago, I emailed an old friend of mine about something, and in the ensuing conversation, he hits me with “dude, you gotta get on Facebook, you can talk to your friends, you can find old classmates, it’s awesome!” So I start going though the registration process, and I get about 3/4 of the way through when it hits me: “Duh, if I wanted to talk to him, I can just email him, and I don’t particularly want to talk to any of my old classmates”, but I was nearly done registering, so I went through with it.

    After trying unsuccessfully to navigate the site for about 4 days (looking at it makes me feel old — at 37! I’m starting to understand what all the baby boomers were complaining about when The Matrix first came out; there’s just too much shit flying at you all at once), I gave up and deleted the account.

    I experienced such a wonderful feeling of lightness and euphoria, I went an deleted my Myspace account as well (I was sick of all that bogus friend request spam, anyway). Then I went after Friendster, Hi5, and Fubar. Basically, my experience with social networking was about on par with Stan’s in the South Park episode about Facebook.

    On a completely unrelated note, I am totally loving these new resizable textboxes with Firefox 4.

    — Ben

  2. Terence Eden says:

    While I mostly agree with you, you’ve left out one crucial fact.

    You can bulk download all your Facebook data at any time. Photos, videos, messages, posts, friend lists. Everything. All in one big zip file.

    So, yes, Facebook can be a privacy nightmare. It’s features are often half baked and poorly implemented.

    But you can go to settings-export and then upload the results to Diaspora, your personal website,, or the Library of Congress if you like.

    …that’s assuming you do the back up a day before Facebook goes bust.

    • Jason Scott says:

      I reported on the fact and reality of the Facebook Export Function here, a month or so after it was introduced. If they improved, changed or otherwise made it apply to any standard, I haven’t heard about it. The Facebook Export, assuming you somehow know it exists, know where to look for it, click a link manually to beg them to assemble a backup, and then get over to downloading it, produces things in a bunch of HTML that you then have to strip out. There’s zero interoperability for a site compared to how it works to make import as smooth, slick and painless. And this would be an awesome time to lecture me on business. My criticism stands.

      P.S. Facebook recently, quietly, killed off RSS. You know, because they could. Without telling anyone. For no reason.

  3. ianf says:

    @Ben Morgan “gave up and deleted the account”

    … except you didn’t. Not really. Sign up/ log in WITH THE SAME EMAIL USED FOR FB to some third-party service that automagically polls FB to look up “friends” common to both services (e.g. Chances are you will be recognized straight away, complete with response fields filled-in with Firstname Lastname that you disclosed to FB.

  4. ianf says:

    ADMINISTRIVIA: Jason, you have a well crafted site spoiled by the justified main text column. ?Why? Because book pages are justified, and newsragmag columns? Well, this medium isn’t either of these, has no kerning or well-balanced typography of the paper-borne media. So forget about that particular pseudo-K3WL aspect of the site – it is plenty cool without that already.

    • Jason Scott says:

      And someone tell me the last time telling someone how to design their text resulted in that site changing. The text stays justified, green on black, and full of vitrol.

  5. Tigger says:

    I used ro use Facebook quite a lot until I got fed up during the new/old Facebook wars of a couple of years ago, and stopped using it.

    I went back to look at it recenty and pretty much everything I’d ever done there (boxes, aps, games etc) had been deleted.

    Anyone who doubts that we are the product not the customer should do what I did and change their age to 110, just to be unhelpful. Now all the ads down the right hand side are for retirement homes, funeral parours, incontinence pads and the like.

    What a horrible organisation!

    (I would add a link I used to have to an article I had parked there about the links between Facebook’s major shareholders anf various right-wing organisations – but hey! It’s disappeared!)

  6. Nathanael says:

    Hi, it’s Nathanael here, from the letter. I just wanted to thank Jason for answering my question. It made for very interesting reading.

  7. Peter Hoffmann says:

    I use face book. Have installed AdBlockPlus…add on for my browser… So no Advertising is reaching me even if the advertisers pay FB… If more people did this, it may impinge on the revenue drawn from that source…but hey..feels good.

  8. oook blog says:

    Not exactly moderate sentiments…

    Jason Scott on the Facebook:Facebook is a living computer nightmare. Just as viruses took the advantages of sharing information on floppies and modems and revealed a devastating undercarriage to the whole process, making every computer transaction susp…

  9. Chris Barts says:

    “Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even one which cannot be justified on any other grounds.” — J. Finnegan, USC.

    Just seemed apropos.

  10. Terence, last I tried the export it wasn’t anything near ALL my facebook data. My wall only went back about a year, IIRC. It also doesn’t have any comments you might leave on other content, which is where most of the real conversation is happening.

    Maybe it’s worth trying again, but it’s certainly not everything. I miss usenet.

  11. Derek says:

    Wow. I couldn’t actually disagree with you more.

    You rail that it’s a bastardized form of this that and the other thing, but I’d say it brought those technologies to orders of magnitude more people than were ever going to experience them while they existed in their then-present forms.

    You complain about the lack of “archivability” of Facebook when, really, very very few people care about that, so why should Facebook? Most people aren’t like “What was going on in my life on Sept 15, 1997?” And for the people who ARE that way, those people are still keeping diaries and such anyway, because they learn pretty quick that getting back to a status update without some frame of reference is damned near impossible. That lesson teaches itself fairly quickly.

    Tigger: you’re right. Heaven forbid they should try to make the ads relevant to the people that are viewing them. I know my life would be much more complete if they’d show me ads for feminine hygiene products that I’ll never use, or baby-supplies for kids I’m never going to spawn. Those bastards.

  12. Jake McGraw says:

    Jason: You’re right, it is terrible… but, I’d argue it provides the only realistic means (both in ease of use AND motivation) for self publishing for HUGE swaths of our society. Would you rather have this content never created? My hope is that Facebook serves as a gateway drug for a generation of contributors to the internet.

  13. Terence Eden says:

    I’ve just downloaded my data. All my photos & videos are there. My private messages &notes go back to 2007 – that’s certainly around when I joined. My wall posts go back to 2009. So, there is some data loss but, fairly minor.

    Regarding comments on other’s items. That’s an interesting question. They can delete the photos and comments at any time. Are those photos & conversations yours to archive?

    How about the comments on this blog post? How do you archive those?

    Usenet was great – but it was / is too complicated. Easy wins out over good every time.

  14. geneb says:

    Usenet is too complicated? Are you serious? If Usenet got any simpler, it could be realized as a big red button that gave you a food pellet when you smacked it with your paw.

    On what planet do you live where losing two full years worth of data is “minor”? If *I* lost two years worth of information that I’d entrusted to a company to store, I’d have someone’s guts for garters.


  15. Derek says:

    geneb: the AVERAGE internet user – your mother or grandmother – isn’t going to sort out how to use Usenet, if they can even find it in the first place.

    It’s really time for us old-school net-folks to remember that the average savviness of user is orders of magnitude less than our own, and just because we know how to find our way through usenet and other obscure and obsolete technologies, not everyone else does.

  16. Shockwave says:

    Well, you don’t HAVE to put in those pictures and that data, you know. My entry has a misspelled name, wrong Bday, no likes or schools or anything. And I’m still in touch with folks using it. Much as I dislike Facebook’s constant drone that there is no privacy anymore, I don’t have to agree, and I don’t have to share diddly squat with them. And I don’t.

  17. Joe Crawford says:

    Gosh! And I thought you didn’t like Wikipedia!

    I’m smart enough to not defend either with you.

    Your diagnosis that Facebook is about Now and Nothing Else is the most precise way I’ve heard it said. If that’s so, then like Friendster and MySpace, it will gradually become not the NowNow thing and then turn into a slowly evaporating enclave.

    The primary issue with Facebook boils down to the fact that it is a corporately controlled walled garden and it’s likely it will only ever be that. Efforts like Diaspora *seem* like the answer to that issue, but the effort required to get Diaspora right, get traction, and get momentum? That is nontrivial.

    There are over half a billion people. Nearly 1 in 10 of the people walking around on the planet have Facebook. Facebook is very smart to bring FB to every single device it can. I can use the dumbest phone possible and get FB status updates. I can use almost the oldest browser possible and still use FB. Ubiquity and usability will make FB very long-lived. I can’t see any corporate competitor beating it, so for the time being it’s hard to see an alternative.

    Facebook really works. I found it annoying how useful it is. I set my mom up with an account several months before she died, and it was that account that I used to notify her friends about her decline and then death. It was a powerful communications tool — better than email, texting, phone calls, better than a newspaper obituary, better than anything for the purpose I used it for.

    And like text messaging, it’s Ephemeral with a capital “E.” All those moments lost like tears in rain, as the wise man said.

    I don’t know what to do about it, but there’s a human need Facebook is satisfying that I’m not seeing satisfied elsewhere. It’s turning into the walled garden where the storytelling occurs. The story of our lives. Each of us gets our very own campfire around which our friends and family and acquaintances get to congregate.

    I’m rambling now. I like to ramble. Blogs are good for that. Facebook is not, I probably would have hit their text length limit were this a comment on FB.

    Thanks for letting me share, and thanks Jason, for sharing your vision of electronic freedom and permanence. It matters.

  18. […] 2011Asked to comment on the prospect of one day archiving Facebook, Jason "Archive Team" Scott got his rant on: Facebook is a living computer nightmare. Just as viruses took the advantages of sharing […]

  19. deepgeek says:

    Had to join FB. My IRL friends are there, they are lame, and insist on not listening to me about computers. I’m stuck, and I hate it.

    My Tips for dealing with FB

    Subscribe using only bogus information. You can find those obstinate computer illiterates and friend them, phone them and say “I’m mister x so accept my friend request, and don’t use my real name there.” Be especially sure your age and zip are bogus, reference “How to be Invisible” if you don’t know why.

    Never post anything you would not tell a stranger, or publish someplace else.

    Use a program like “listgarden” to maintain a blogroll of links on your computer, and publish it at a paid webserver. Be sure to back this up monthly and have enough entries available for a whole month. Two paths to extra-coolness, 1) modify Archivteams “georape” script to take that saved blogroll and download every page to your backup disk monthly. 2) Host it on a webserver that you run yourself ala “vps” hosting, so you can wipe that log file weekly.

    Lastly, use a facebook service to import your RSS feed entries from your webhost to your facebook account.

    There you have it, you can be on facebook, be backed up, and if you like, never need to sign onto the damn thing.

    Hope this all helps, thanks for reading this far!


  20. deepgeek says:

    BTW, when I said “subscribe with bogus information,” that means “email address too.” Use a yahoo or a freeshell. When it goes south for non-use you get an annoying “your email is out of date” message on FB. Ignore that fucker, it keeps on working.

  21. Where’s the Like button?!

  22. MCbx says:

    Like button? In fact, I’ve never seen one for a year. 😀 I stripped FB in my firewall with other web pages which I’m not using and probably will never use. I call it “client-side web page optimization” – in usual words removing everything which can slow down my already slow connection.

    I may forget to post later: Facebook != Internet. Like Linux != Window manager, like DOS != Norton Commander, as for some new Internet users web pages different than bigger ones (Wiki, FB, a favourite information service) seems not to exist! The network is built of more or less independent servers. If something is inconvenient for one server’s admin, it can be stored on another. FB is one big server with its rules, some written and some not, which, as “data extinction” trend advaces, will become a “state-owned” communication platform. A complete monopoly with disinformation.
    Welcome back in the USSR :).

  23. […] so lange, bis mich Eve Maler (a.k.a. „@xmlgrrl“) gerade auf einen Blogpost von Jason Scott hinwies, ein ziemlich abgefahrener Typ (wer sonst würde sein Leben der Dokumentation der […]

  24. MCbx says:

    More news, today’s newspaper gave me final conclusion that most of these network “socialists” (social network users) are so blind that they aspire to be called total idiots :).
    In Cracow, there was a problem with tram rails on one of streets. City public transport did nothing with this over years, and streetcars had to slow down on this street or stayed there half-derailed until service car came to move car a few meters down the street and restore situation.
    And people disturbed by this situation… made a page on FB. Next week the inconvenient page was deleted, which is predictable on Facebook. And when the newspaper wrote about this everything was cleaned like in Orwell’s 1984.
    Isn’t it stupid – criticizing corporations using media fully censored by them?
    I know we have no choice – search engines are monopolized, and set towards companies to process more customers, and small, useful web pages have no way to get even to the 10th page.
    Example: During my studies (Computer Science on Faculty of Metallurgy) I made a few reports about computer simulation of metallurgical processes. In Google I found useful scientific works on 30th page or so. Earlier – Internet shops, steel companies, SEO link farms.

  25. Tim Smith says:

    So all in all you like it then

  26. […] May 21, 2011 by gewiese *Profanity warning* FaceFacts (ASCII by Jason […]

  27. Andrew Murray says:

    As interesting as the content is the green color choices is making my eyes hurt. If you really want people to read all of this important information please change your color scheme.

  28. […] I’ve just come across this page, a rabid rant from an internet archivist who is asked about how problematic it would be to attempt […]

  29. Modus Operandi says:

    @Andrew Murray: I hope you are joking, but just in case my sarcasm filter is malfunctioning, I thought I should explain something for you.

    If the green on black color scheme hurts your eyes, you can change it yourself.

    It’s a web page, silly — not a physical object like a book or magazine — and as such, it must be rendered by a web browser in order for you to view it.

    I’m using Firefox 4, and the fonts and colors can be changed (under “Firefox menu –> Options –> Fonts and Colors”) to black on white, or whatever I prefer. You can do the same thing in your browser.

    Just for kicks, I fired up Windows Internet Explorer 9, even though I don’t really use it, and the fonts and colors can be changed under the “Tools” menu (by clicking on the gear icon in the top right corner or using the keyboard shortcut “Alt+X”) and voila! The fonts and colors can be changed under the “General” tab, in the section at the bottom labeled “Appearance.”

    Lest you imagine that this is a new innovation supported by only the latest browsers, allow me to reassure you that it’s as old as the web itself. The end-user has been in control of the formatting and presentation of hypertext markup ever since around 1990, when Tim Berners-Lee sneezed and begat the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Markup Language (HTML) and the World Wide Web (WWW). At the very latest, I’m certain that this functionality was present in the NCSA Mosaic browser, circa 1993.

    Please, save yourself from sore eyes, and take five minutes to locate the menu options in your browser of choice which will allow you to view this site in your favorite color scheme.

    HTH. HAND.

  30. david karapetyan says:

    This was great. I had been thinking about why I dislike facebook so much but I just couldn’t put my finger on concrete reasons. Your posts helped me figure it out. It had something to do with individuals being digitized into n unknown bits to be probed and prodded by the interaction paths on facebook.

  31. Jeni says:

    Terence Eden wrote: on the 17th May:
    “While I mostly agree with you, you’ve left out one crucial fact. You can bulk download all your Facebook data at any time. Photos, videos, messages, posts, friend lists. Everything. All in one big zip file”.

    I have tried this url in the past – but it only downloads your personal fb page – not community/ group/business pages; unless I am somehow doing it incorrectly? I keep 2 fb film pages and one documentary community page:

    If this is the case then Jason’s post: “Everything on Facebook is Now. Nothing, and I mean nothing on Facebook is Then. Or even last month” is right on track. Any further tips on archiving other types of fb pages, apart from personal pages? JT

  32. Alan Ralph says:

    Hi Jason,

    I use Facebook to stay in touch with friends – but that is about it. Most of the links that I share are either crossposted from my Tumblog, or auto-posted by those (few) sites that I’ve authorised to do so. I’m using Tumblr as my primary blogging point now, mainly because it allows those of my friends who hate Facebook to still see the stuff that I post. (I’ve tried other platforms as well – LiveJournal, Multiply, etc. – but I’ve found Tumblr to be much easier for me to work with day-to-day)

    I have also stopped using Facebook to receive updates from sites that I follow, and have gone back to using Google Reader for that. That way, I don’t miss anything, and if I need to catch up I can just tell Google Reader to mark stuff over a day old as read. The important thing is that it’s under *my* control, not constantly scrolling away!

    Another issue with Facebook that you did not touch on is their propensity for deleting photos and other images that they deem to have violated their rules. A lot of my friends are artists, photographers or models, and many of them have run into this problem, where someone reports the image and it duly gets yanked, without any explanation and with very little way to get an answer out of Facebook. Rather humourously, one model of my acquaintance, Ulorin Vex, posted photos of herself modelling fetishwear with strategically placed Facebook ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons on. 😀

  33. Jason, as usual you’re spot-on. People gulp down this Facebook shit as if it’s the first time anyone has ever come up with a way to interact with others on the Internet. And the worst part is, they do it to the exclusion of the rest of the Internet. All of the blogs, web forums, BBS’s, even things like IRC and all the other cool stuff out there — it’s *all* struggling to keep people around, because all anyone wants to do these days is fuck around on Facebook.

    I’m wondering how long it’ll take for the Fecesbook craze to run its course, and whether the “real” Internet will ever have a chance to thrive again.

  34. D says:

    IGnatius: As fun as IRC and Usenet are, they seem to be going the way of Gopherspace.

    I think what we’re seeing is the Internet coming full circle. It started with a handful of computers and then just exploded when everyone began making homepages all over the place. Now the Internet seems to be contracting and centralizing as the homepages vanish, the blogs eat each other, and the giants at the top absorb anything they can get their claws into.

    When I look at users today who have grown up with this technology, most don’t have the curiosity that we did. The browser today is a tool to consume a certain number of sites – not a mystical doorway into the world’s largest text-based adventure game.

    As much as Geocities sucked, I am so happy that Jason and the others made such an incredible effort to save it. It was one of the first kids on the block when the Internet really took off outside college campuses (give or take a couple years), and it really captures the sense of excitement people had for just how much was out there and their desire to carve out their own niche.

  35. […] fellow hates the facebook, in an amusing way. Wayne singles out the phrases “shit sherbet” and […]

  36. egoiste says:

    My Facebook rss feeds still work in, google reader, and in the wordpress blog I crosspost all my social networking to. Every link I post is also collated by in case I need to look it up again without having to dig through page after page of my status updates and didn’t bother to add it to my diigo account. I also use to crosspost to multiple services in one wallop, so it’s mostly all archived there too. Shortsightedness on Facebook’s part may also be shortsightedness on yours.

  37. appleshampoo says:

    You should really have a button to share this on Facebook.

  38. Sparrow says:

    I’ve never had an account on FB and I never will. I smelled a rat as soon as I heard about people opening accounts with their real names and posting personal information on there. I know that’s what the site is for, but after all those years of warnings about privacy and never putting anything like that online, I found it bizarre that people were jumping in head first the way they were (and still are). Didn’t they remember any of that? (I do have a blog page, but it’s at an older site, under an internet handle and never contains anything identifiable.)

    So I was and still am very unsympathetic to people who run into problems with FB and the whole gamut of problems associated with it. As far as I’m concerned, if you go online and splash your personal information all over the place, complete with awkward revelations and embarrassing photos, you pretty much deserve the headaches that may come at you.

  39. slec says:

    To 40. appleshampoo: NO.

    All those buttons are beacons for fb, which it uses to spy on everyone.

    They know about your web surfing on all pages with them, even without being logged in unless you specifically block it.

    You need to use adblock+ with squirrelconspiracy’s ‘facebook privacy list’ and/or antisocial sub from abp pages.

    Also, requestpolicy and noscript are highly recommended to be used by everyone.
    Betterprivacy extension to kill flash cookies.
    And maybe even ghostery, too.

    For Chromium users there’s also disconnect-extension to make that blocking easy and visible.

  40. freen says:

    The idea of using any commercial web-based service to store your memories is patently ridiculous. I use facebook for convenience, but it hasn’t replaced my photo album or my (archivable) email.

    Facebook is fine, just as long as you remember their’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  41. June 14 was the day my Facebook stopped allowing my RSS reader to pull down my shit sherbet feed. I suppose they want me to spend more time on their site and less time in my RSS reader. It ain’t happening. I’m on Google+ now.

  42. TraderTimm says:

    Jason – good for you. You’ve articulated what has been bouncing around my skull for a while about Facebook. I see the blatant disregard they have for users, the continual privacy failings and all the other pull-the-rug-changes that have become the standard Facebook experience. I decided not to play a long time ago.

    Failbook is to the 2000’s what AOL was to the 1990’s. Everyone thought they were some unstoppable juggernaut, instead of realizing that something successfully marketed to people who don’t give a toss about ‘technical’ details will become successful for a while.

    I maintain a fake ‘shell’ FB account only to access things that I’m forced to use on their system. (For research, argh.) Other than that, they can take their data collection apparatus and send it all to /dev/null.

    Just waiting for the first ‘incident’ where FB profiles and data are used by one of the three-letter agencies to do a little citizen snooping. (If they haven’t already.) Failbook is a very dangerous data source in the wrong hands.

    Like the site, AND the font/color scheme.


    • decora says:

      Actually in the “Team Themis” HBGary dump by Anonymous, there is a specific email thread that talks about how they built a facebook scraper and were using it to find people linked to ‘subversive’ activity.

      Team Themis of course was HB Gary, Palantir, and Berico, all of them are security / IT consulting companies with federal contracts. The Team Themis project was an attempt to hook up with the Bank of America to deal with a planned wikileaks dump. Anyways blah blah blah.

      They are not three letter agencies, but it seems pretty naive at this point to assume the TLAs aren’t doing what these little contractors were doing already.

  43. sgage says:

    That was beautiful – thank you!

  44. […] off your timeline and fade away. Indeed, as online archiving extraordinaire Jason Scott observed in an excoriating critique of Facebook: So asking me about the archiving-ness or containering or long-term prospect of Facebook for […]

  45. asiekierka says:

    Terrence Eden, that does not include metadata (IPs) or deleted data.

    If you want to acquire THAT, sorry, only the European Union law allows you to do anything in order to get it and the Facebook staff will hate you forever… but you can!