On Facebook and Privacy (from the archives!)

Note: whoa, I found this post from November 2014 sitting in my drafts pile! Am publishing it now because it’s an interesting retrospective on my thought process at the time. I’m not this cynical about the voting process – or at least, on most days I’m not.

Just an FYI for those friendly folks I see on my FB wall who may have been taken in by this hoax about how putting up a legal notice on your Facebook wall will guarantee your future privacy.

There is no simple fix for this. Increasingly, in our society, there is no simple way to exercise your rights; perhaps voting used to be, but in the system we have right now in Canada, even that is about as effective at shaking up the government as posting an official-sounding screed about your rights and freedoms in a venue that is set up to exploit your content, your photos, your very self down to the last penny. I digress. In my opinion, if your information’s going to be out there anyway, might as well make your peace with it and move on with your life.

Heading accusations off at the pass here: yes, I do think that Facebook’s data harvesting is evil, that the accelerated capitalism of this day and age has resulted in a system where the cost to human life outweighs the benefit to the pocketbooks of the rich, and that our very social structures are set up to exploit and abuse us. Yet I still vote, I stay on Facebook, I do all these things despite that.

To borrow an example from popular religion, one can hold the that humanity is fallen from grace, that we are all sinful by nature and require salvation from that state, yet somehow refrain from detaching oneself from the world, proselytizing obnoxiously, and/or verbally abusing others by shoving their brokenness in their faces. In order to effect any change whatsoever, we need to be “in the world but not of it.”

I’m in the world of Facebook which can be fun and informative and useful, but I’m trying not to be a part of its perpetuation of exploitation and consumerism. I operate within a capitalist paradigm but am critical of it. I am thankful for my rights and freedoms but don’t let myself sink into complacency just because I have it a bit better than my neighbour; optimally, I can better my lot and extend a hand to the ladies and dudes beside me to pull them up on to my new improved platform.

We’re in this thing together, all of us. Taking ourselves outside of it, imho, shuts down any chance we may have to a) educate others about it who may not know and b) lobby for change from within because c) who can know & critique & effect change better than a frequent, engaged user?

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