If you use Facebook regularly, you know one of its creepier aspects is its ability to cull information in a way you might not initially think is intuitive.
This has proven to be problematic in the past- such as the discovery that targeting advertising could accidentally out some gay people. Or the fact that it knows certain things about your relationships even if you don’t clearly define them. The breadth of Facebook’s knowledge about their greatest commodity- you- is pretty clear when you get to use the service somewhat regularly, and you realize that Facebook’s algorithms are joined by its user base in the habit of collecting tiny bits of seemingly useless data about members of the site.
So it’s probably not too surprising a growing number of users are freaked out enough about the inherent leakage of information to eschew the service entirely. The New York Times profiled some of these “Facebook resisters,” former members of the service who liked it well enough, but felt the “share and share alike” atmosphere was unnatural and unsettling. The piece opens with an anecdote the sums up the concept perfectly:
Tyson Balcomb quit Facebook after a chance encounter on an elevator. He found himself standing next to a woman he had never met — yet through Facebook he knew what her older brother looked like, that she was from a tiny island off the coast of Washington and that she had recently visited the Space Needle in Seattle.
“I knew all these things about her, but I’d never even talked to her,” said Mr. Balcomb, a pre-med student in Oregon who had some real-life friends in common with the woman. “At that point I thought, maybe this is a little unhealthy.”
Have you given the social network a pass in recent months? Do you feel connecting with Facebook has supplanted real-life interaction?