As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve had my Facebook (FB) account since 2007. But I rarely log on and use it. It’s just one of those things I keep around, and it comes in handy about once every 2 years. Even in the beginning, when everyone was just figuring out how to use FB, I never engaged with any 3rd-party apps, with 2 exceptions.
A 3rd-party app is one that is created by an entity external to FB that then integrates with it, usually in the form of logins, games, purchases, quizzes, etc. The reason I never engaged with any 3rd-party apps on FB, even from the beginning, was because I always understood that FB could not be responsible for how my data was collected and used by an external party. I believe this is pretty standard, even today, with how social media works with 3rd-party apps and extensions. Once data leaves FB, either obtained legally or illegally, it is no longer under the control of FB and they can’t track or manage it on behalf of its users anymore. In the early days, FB also allowed 3rd-party apps to collect your information, and your friends’ information too.
Every time I get wound up about something like this, inevitably the person at the other end of my tirade shrugs. Then says something like, why should I care? I’ve got nothing to hide. I blogged about this some time ago. (Read here.) It’s not about having something to hide, it’s about having something to protect. Information is power. We freely give it up, performing thousands of hours of mundane data entry, for FREE, so other companies can swoop in and make a profit off of it. And what do we get in return? Addictive online services that distract us with high volume, low quality items? Manipulated?
Many apps and services also encourage, or require people to sign up through an FB account or Google, etc.. This is popular with people because it means there are fewer logins to remember, and it makes FB a one-stop shop with everything conveniently linked in one place. However, if you’re fond of using your FB login to access other services, deleting or deactivating your FB account will be difficult. You will lose all the other information and services integrated with your account. That doesn’t seem convenient.