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Big Revolution - The trouble with quitting Facebook

Welcome to Wednesday's Big Revolution, coming to you from the UK where we seem to have entirely lost
December 19 · Issue #297 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Wednesday’s Big Revolution, coming to you from the UK where we seem to have entirely lost our minds over this Brexit thing. I’ll be trying to forget ‘the B-word’ over Christmas, at least.

Big things you need to know today
  • Another week, another Facebook data scandal. The New York Times has details of how the company gave extraordinary account access to many big companies. Some of these were for well-publicised features, but others will raise eyebrows. For example, Spotify could access your private messages (although Spotify claims it wasn’t aware it had this capability) Either way, it’s more dirt to tarnish Facebook’s reputation. More on this below.
  • Controversial self-driving vehicle engineer Anthony Levandowski claims to have ridden in an autonomous car from California to New York. The journey, powered by his new startup’s tech, would be by far the longest self-driving car trip yet recorded – although he obviously had to stop for breaks and refueling along the way.
  • Twitter is rolling out its toggle between algorithmic and chronological timelines. Users on iOS will get it first, with other platforms to follow soon.
  • Oath, the Verizon-owned combination of AOL and Yahoo, will be renamed Verizon Media Group from January 8th. Puzzlingly, it has a ‘Y’ as its logo.
The big thought
Credit: Thought Catalog on Unsplash
The trouble with quitting Facebook
Like many other people, I’ve recently considered leaving Facebook. I still get value from it in terms of being able to keep in touch with people easily, even if I rarely bother scrolling through the timeline.
Every time a new data privacy scandal emerges (assuming it’s valid, which some aren’t particularly), I get a renewed urge to shut down my account. The latest news (summarised in the section above) is really a case of Facebook just putting no real thought into data privacy and controls.
Why should I reward a company so reckless with its users’ data by letting it continue to profit from mine?
But Facebook’s tendrils are so tightly entwined into my my online life that it’s hard to let go. Personally, there are four things keeping me locked into the company’s products:
  • The group for local startups that I founded and am an admin for is based on Facebook.
  • My account for Final Fantasy Record Keeper, a mobile game I play every day, is connected to Facebook. If I ever want to install the game on a new device across iOS or Android and keep playing where I left off, I need to sign in with Facebook.
  • My Spotify account is tied to my Facebook login. It is apparently impossible to move to a dedicated Spotify username and password login without losing all playlists and other data.
  • If I’m going to quit ‘the blue app,’ I should really quit Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger too. But I become much harder to contact for many people if I do that.
Oh, and with a busy life, quitting a social network is one of those things that’s always a little bit too much hassle to prioritise.
So I’ll just keep using Facebook, and Facebook will no doubt continue being sloppy with my data, and I’ll continue to resent their data handling practices, and nothing will change.
One big read
"Influencers" Are Faking Brand Deals "Influencers" Are Faking Brand Deals
You’re not a real ‘influencer’ if you don’t have sponsorship deals, so some wannabes are faking it. They publish unpaid 'ads’ on social media to boost their credibility with brands and their peers.
One big tweet
I know I featured a tweet by Nilay yesterday too, but the thread that follows this tweet is well worth clicking through for.
nilay patel
Here is my hottest take, which I should just write for the website I work at: the entire concept of a terms of service agreement should be illegal
2:56 AM - 19 Dec 2018
That’s all for today...
Back tomorrow. Don’t forget, if you want to receive Big Revolution over Christmas (between this Saturday and January 7th), you’ll need to become a member.
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