Why Quitting the Big Five is Bad Privacy Advice

Why Quitting the Big Five is Bad Privacy Advice

The big five – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google & Microsoft – have got a stranglehold of our digital life. Not just our digital identities, but almost all of our web experiences are reliant or connected to the technologies of these five companies.

Recently, Daniel Oberhaus from Motherboard and then Kashmir Hill from Gizmodo both experimented by completely “quitting” the Big Five, for four and six weeks respectively. Both of their stories are very insightful and definitely recommended reading for anyone. However, quitting the Big Five is exactly the kind of take on privacy that turns many people off from becoming more privacy aware.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again in r/privacy, where people who have just tipped their toes in the world on online privacy and security are getting barraged with comments like “LOL IF YOU’RE NOT USING LINUX YOU’RE SCREWED” and “YOU NEED TO DELETE ALL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS”. But if we as a privacy community would dial back our tone just a bit, I think we could do way more good than what we’re doing right now.

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The Inconvenient Truths about the Cambridge Analytica Files

The Inconvenient Truths about the Cambridge Analytica Files

I reluctantly joined Facebook back in December 2011. During the couple of years I had the account, I learned more and more about the shadowy monster that provided us with our daily hourly doses of dopamine in the forms of likes, shares and status updates.

This brings us to the first inconvenient – and most obvious – truth about the so-called Cambridge Analytica case: there’s absolutely nothing new in any of it.

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How to Delete a Facebook Account – It’s Harder than You Think!

How to Delete a Facebook Account – It’s Harder than You Think!

I joined Facebook relatively late, in December 2011, and even then only because it was semi-mandatory for me at the time. I didn’t see true value in the platform before that, and frankly, even during those three years I had an account, I hardly used it besides the groups-feature (that I originally joined FB for). Following brands’ pages would have been convenient, but as we all know, only a tiny percent of users actually see companies’ updates, whether sponsored or not. Throw in the mix the continuously piling issues of Facebook’s notorious spying behavior, and for me the platform became just repulsive. For more info on how Facebook stomps on your privacy, check this must-read article “Get Your Loved Ones Off Facebook” by Salim Virani.

So this month the long-awaited opportunity finally rose for me (i.e. all responsibilities for different groups & associations were over) to delete my account. Turns out Facebook doesn’t want to let you go easily.

Continue reading “How to Delete a Facebook Account – It’s Harder than You Think!”