Facebook – cursed and beloved. And why I do not fear anymore they know everything about me.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Last Updated on May 10, 2019 by Lucie Klabanová

(For czech version of the post click here.)

Few days ago my friend was searching how to prevent her family and friends to see notifications about her activities on facebook.

It made me think about the real status of our privacy in today’s world. Why someone minds if someone else knows.

Aproximately two years ago I completely deleted facebook app from my phone in order to have a social network detox (I was not using any other social network at that time). I just wanted to try if I can “survive” without consuming information from there, if I am not dependant. Nothing at all happened. During four months I thought of opening the browser in PC maybe three times. Of course, I still used Google, maybe bit more than before.

When I installed the app back, I realized while looking at my facebook wall that the fact I have not clicked anything what is interesting for me, the wall was full of boring things. So I started to observe the functionality of one of the most used artificial inteligence – the one of faceboook.

Facebook learns from your interactions. Which means that if you are just looking at what is on your wall, it is quite likely it will be uninteresting for you.

Ads and similar posts

Lot of people complain to me that they see a plenty of advertising on Facebook. Also I do see them. But due to my interactions on for me interesting posts, the ads and posts showed to me are similar. And those are often more interesting for me than what some of my friends did two days ago. And mostly those are information more precise than what I would get by googling.

The more time you spend on facebook on what you enjoy and are interested in, the less you will see in your notifications and on your wall what you consider “trash”.

If someone tells me that facebook is full of tabloid info, I am just peering in disbelief because I see zero of such posts there. Some years ago I stopped watching news on television. I was discouraged by the form in which they were presented, so I completely skipped that. Facebook that time became one of the main sources of information for me. From a small group of people, my friends, I always find out about important happenings in the world. I have a chance to make up my own opinion based on facts. I also get their opinion (not the opinion of the person paying the TV news). When some of my friends are sharing something, usually they are aligned with what is there as it requires some activity, so it is kind of “filter”.

Let’s speak about some, maybe not fully known, facts about facebook.

  • Everyone can have only one personal profile on facebook. He should also use the own real name to prevent misunderstandings. If  someone has more profiles or uses fake names (and I know there are many) it is clearly against facebook rules (https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms)
  • Most companies or projects do have so called fan page, like the one I have for my project. It is a public page, administered by a certain person. Administrator can moderate any discussion (including erasing posts). By liking a page you are showing interest in that topic. But it certainly does not mean that from that time you will recieve notifications for all activities on the page. In the last year facebook has dramatically decreased organic reach of fan pages, today those are one digit percentage. If a company wants to increase the reach, it needs to sponsor the post.
  • Alternative to fan pages are groups – they were created in order to connect people with similar interests and they are meant primarily for discussion. There are three types:
    • public – in fact I miss a bit the sense, as the characteristics are highly similar to fan page
    • private – this group can be searched, e.g. based on interest, but accepting into it needs approval by admin
    • secret – this group cannot be searched, new members can be suggested only by current members.

In their beginnings the groups had a lot higher organic reach than fan page. Now it is decreased, too. But generally you can influence more than on fan page by interaction. In other words, if you like the topic of the group and you enjoy reading the posts, but you never liked or commented, unfortunately in time you will stop receiving notifications completely and maybe you will miss some interesting content.

And now back to the privacy.

Do you really think that nowadays, in the so called “connected age”, someone does not know everything?

Do you want privacy, anonymity? And do you have smart phone? So flush it into the toilet.  

Being it good or bad, we live in digital age. Each time has its positives as well as negatives – same as this one. We are doing better than anytime before, we have infinite possibilities how to get information about whatever. But there goes some loss of anonymity hand in hand with it.

I personally tried to protect myself from that for quite a long time. And then I realized that if I want to live fully in the world I do, I need to accept it as it is. And adopt it.

Therefore when I returned to use of social networks and decided to use them for my best. Get more from them than they take from me.

I spend around 15-20minutes daily on facebook as consumer. But the information I consume have changed a lot. I am getting what I need for my work, for what are my hobbies. And the “trash” is gone. Because I am more active, I let facebook learn something about me, what I really want.

(By this I of course want to stimulate you to not only follow me on facebook or group, but be active, like, share, add own posts and comment. Only in that way you secure more notifications on the posts. As well as similar information from others on your wall. And of course you help me spread my blog ;-))

On the other hand, I never forget to use a real critical thinking – on social networks needed much more than elsewhere. Because as a tool, facebook can (and we know it has been) misused. Nevertheless, when I heard this podcast: Facebook’s role in Brexit – and the threat to democracy by Carole Cadwalladr I was not so much fascinated by the fact that facebook was misused or that the brave journalist was beeing intimidated. But the fact how many people can so easily be manipulated by fear.

Critical thinking and searching for facts is what will steal power to facebook and people abusing it.

Maybe it is my view, naive, and I should still be afraid. But I do not want to live in fear. And so I accept it as it is now. What will come tomorrow, we will see.

I am a mentor, leader and pioneer of business process improvement. I help companies and individuals to find effective ways to achieve their goals. More about me you can find here>>