Posted here, rather than on the TwitFace, in response to one of the people I admire most, contemplating leaving Facebook for privacy concerns.
Personally, I am very sympathetic to the opinion that the TwitFace is simply a result of Establishment players successfully and intentionally squatting on the shoulders of the blog phenomenon: historically, if blogs represented an unanticipated move toward open, decentralized (TPTB translate that to "dangerous") freedom and away from the tightly controlled, pre-Internet Establishment media outlets, then social media as we know it now is pretty easy to view as simply a means of re-capturing that monopoly control into a virtualized (and neatly toolkitted) variant of what pre-Internet media had before.
It's frustrating and disheartening, of course, to see how effective and rapid the squatting and marginalizing of the more open, freer frameworks has been; and of course at a personal level nobody likes to be snooped on, even (especially) for his own good. But if we can be appalled at the monopolists happily monopolizing, we can hardly claim surprise.
Yeah, they've got your data--mine too. Ultimately, we gave it to them. Now what? At this point it's not possible to "get it back".
The participation psychology is pretty scary, too, when you think about it. The TwitFace's primary function is to be the place to go not to care about something, but to be seen caring about something, a phenomenon which has now taken on its own name: virtue-signaling. Increasingly social media also seems to have the secondary function of acting as a court of wrongthink. And now we are starting to see the emergence of this latter idea, weaponized, being used as a deliberate political tactic. Scary freakin' stuff.
So, should everyone drop Facebook? Well, arguably yes. It won't get your data back, but delegitimizing the whole horrid idea of a centralized social network may well be the only way to stop it from metastasizing further. Otherwise it's just like an election: we keep participating, so we must be consenting somehow, right?
And yet most of us are already more hard-wired into social media than we care to admit; simply dropping it isn't a trivial step, even beyond the very real phenomenon of I-was-so-disgusted-I-was-just-about-to-drop-it-entirely-when-I-saw-this-post-from-someone-I-haven't-heard-from-in-years-and-I-remembered-why-I-joined-in-the-first-place.
I wrestle with it, but (QED) I'm still here too, just in a darker mode than several years ago. I post just once in a blue moon now (what little I write tends to go to blogs instead), and comment even less, and for the most part I'm a bit fatalistic about what data "they" have on me. Unfollowing nearly everything helps a lot with the outrage fatigue from the newsfeed, but some people are so committed to minding my business that even that can't stop it all.
For me at least, we'll see where it goes from here. The backbreaker may well be this use of the medium as an actual political weapon. If that shit escalates without sane people stopping it, then I've gotta be out--because No. Oh, hell no.
Not holding my breath, either. Instead, I'm trying to spend more time in meatspace. Most people are much more human-like there, than here.