I quit Facebook.
Because I was curious to see the procedure and how to opt out my data.
Also because it was causing me anxiety, but that’s a whole other story.
There are a number of steps and procedures to follow in order to collect all your data and then delete your profile, of course they won’t make it easy for you, and why should they?
Sounds like a rhetorical question, but there is an answer: they should make it easy because of trust issues we have now toward the giant of silicon valley. They make it difficult, foggy, and the more we dig, the more foggy it gets.
I wonder if they made it simple what would have happened.
Probably the majority of people would not feel the urge to get rid of facebook and then abandon the platform with frustration without opting out.
Also we are talking of opting out from ONE of Facebook’s products, the social network. So with all probabilities you are currently using a high number of facebook products.
Once you opt out from Facebook and request your data, you will be dragged in an hours long ride, where all steps look like an actual penitence. As if we are all little kids again and going to the church and the priest would give us a 10 hail mary to repeat as a penitence for swearing.
Their leverage is the guilt and sense of absence you will experience. Not to mention the boring and endless procedure. All this in order to make it harder for you to get rid of the product if it’s not any longer satisfying your needs.
I’ll give you one good reason for you to do it
If you give up during the process, as I did many times, remember that your data still rests there, and we are talking about years of struggle, confessions, pictures, friends made and breakups. All this is public and will still be used to target you inside and outside the social network .Now I am not saying that getting rid of FB will break you free from being followed by ads. That is almost impossible, but it’s a good start, if you’re annoyed by it as I was. Or curious, or a wannabe digital Hermit. Your choice, alwais.
The experiment outcome, aka where I had a nervous breakdown.
download your fb data HTML OR JSON
This is the sentence that encloses the option to copy your data. In two formats. Now, I am no coder, but I do work in technology and I have to deal with these kinds of files on a daily basis. But I am also a people’s digital literacy advocate and I know for a fact that the majority of people that are using fb have never dealt with this kind of format. And as Bruce Shneier breaks up, people will want data on their own terms and formats they can use for their own purposes.
Bruce Shneier, in his “Click here to kill everybody” underlines the fact that currently our data is not only not accessible, but, when in rare cases it happens to be, it’s unreadable:
[As the Internet+ permeates more of our lives, People will want access to data from their fitness trackers, appliances, home sensors, and vehicles. They’ll want that data on their own terms, in formats they can use for their own purposes.]
So the very fact that FB can deliver the backup of all your data, BUT only in these two formats underline how impossible it is for a normal user to understand and this creates an enormous friction with waterfalling impacts.
So, for the sake of the experiment,
I downloaded both JSON and HTML and now I have this not-so-big file with all my past 10years of what I shared in it.
And now I am wondering where to store it. Definitely not on another server, cloud is not even in the picture. But this is definitely material for another story.
See ya, nerds