Wired Wednesday: Good for Facebook Users to Know


I’ve been doing “Wired Wednesday” for a couple years now, writing about various concerns related to our collective digital dependence. Over that time, yes, I have become more mindful about some of my own digital dependencies. Yes, I (most nights) disable WiFi so we can sleep free of excess EMF exposure. Yes, my basic hygiene includes not looking at my smartphone when someone is speaking to me (and encouraging the same courtesy from them). But no, I have not jumped ship from Facebook.

All I can say is, if you’re a Facebook user, regardless of how infrequently, take a look at this Slate article by Katie Day Good: “Why I Printed My Facebook.” It simply describes what Good found when she decided to download and print out her entire Facebook dossier. It totaled 10,057 pages, 4,612 of which were nothing but “disembodied ‘likes'” that Good chose not to print.

Consider it as part of your own due-diligence—knowing with more specific clarity the implications of your participation in that social media juggernaut. A couple highlights:

“It seemed absurd to print something so massive, and with so much disaggregated data that I’d never want to read in full, but I was glad I did it. I had no illusions about ‘reclaiming my data’—I knew all of this was Zuckerberg’s to keep —but I felt a smidgen of empowerment in finally getting a grasp of the mountain of information I had given him.”

“Other files were less amusing. ‘Advertisers Who Uploaded a Contact List With Your Information’ was a 116-page roster of companies, most of which I had never heard of, that have used my data to try to sell me things. The document called ‘Facial Recognition Code’ was disturbingly brief and indecipherable, translating my face into a solid block of jumbled text—a code that only Facebook’s proprietary technology can unlock—about 15 rows deep.”

“Why I Printed My Facebook” by Katie Day Good

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