AAAAAAARGH!!!!!!

What’s that?

It’s the sound of automated feed filling by a site that only allows you to sign in with a pre-existing social media account. And you know what? I’ve had enough!

ImageThere was a ruling in Germany this week slapping Facebook over the back of the hand in regards to their facial recognition data. They have been told to delete it, because it’s deemed to be against EU regulations, even though it’s perfectly fine by Irish standards, where Facebook’s European offices are located.

So what does this all mean?

Well, at the heart of the matter is the fact that Facebook did not allow users to opt-in for this. Instead, it was forced upon them and they had to opt out. Now, if you remember from when you signed up to Facebook (because we all read the Terms of Service, didn’t we?), we gave them the right to use any and all information we publish on their site in any which way they want. That’s right. We don’t own our own information, they do. So when we are forced to use some kind of facial data recognition, and that data is stored, anything published that employs that until we opt-out of it (which, in some cases is darned hard to find), is therefore theirs and they can use it however they want.

Likewise, other SNSs (Social Networking Sites, for the uninitiated) that only allow you sign up using a pre-existing SNS account are responsible for adding to that information. I am looking at Spotify, Pintrest and other useful sites that are fast becoming part of the social media/community manager Must-Have ToolBag (or, at the very least, we need to know about them in order to explain why we wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole). These you can only sign up to with an existing social media account. I understand that Facebook now owns Spotify, but why can’t I use it without attaching my facebook account to it? I have to download it… and THEN you want me to sign up with my facebook account? WHY?! Why isn’t my email address good enough? And then having automatic posts “on my behalf” (read: “whether you like it or not”) until I go and turn it off.

Now, I know I’m banging on a lot about Facebook and the evils of it when I use it for so much. I know I am just as responsible for the perpetuation of these unethical allowances as any other user. However, I am aware that whatever I put out there is no longer mine, but if it’s so bad and I hate it so much, why don’t I just opt out of Facebook altogether? Well, there’s a simple answer to that. “If you can’t beat them, join them.” I was going to disable my account and shut it all down. Cancelling Facebook alone would have had far-reaching ramifications to my “displacement activities” when assignments were due. In fact, I probably would get more done. Thing is, I accept that it still, for a little time at least, is the number one SNS of the world, which means I need to keep up with what is going on in, on and around it. Also, until my friends understand what I have been saying now for over a year that Facebook will not keep its “top dog” position in the SNS world for too many more years (I’m guessing about seven to ten more years tops), I will miss out on much of the invites to parties, knowledge of life and whatnot. It’s a sad but true fact.

 

So, what do I suggest you do? Stop. Think. And if you really need to sign up to these things, please, for the love of all that is lovely and dear to the people of the world, opt out of those updates STRAIGHT AWAY! Don’t let Automatic Update Syndrome be the thing that turns your friends to opting out of your updates altogether.

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