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Facebook for/against

Posted: Fri May 26, 2017 6:55 am
by chris stockdale
Goodness knows what comments I'll get but I thought I'd risk dipping a toe in the water and say:

Why are some folk so anti Facebook?

I used to think it was full of bods saying the likes of 'I'm with Fred and I'm eating a Mars bar' i.e. hugely banal. And so it is. But then someone put me on to their Groups function. With a bit of decent moderation groups stay nicely focused on the subject matter. I'll cheerfully admit such groups have a bunch of pros and cons.

Some pros:

- someone else (i.e. Facebook) sets up and operates the software

- it's free

- a lot of bods use it so there may well be something to interest you that you can't find elsewhere

And some cons:

- traditional Forums are a lot easier to find older stuff on with threads in sections - at least FB does now have some Favouriting functionality to grab and save stuff you rather like and there is a decentish within Group search functionality

- some groups are set up as 'Private'. Fine if you want to keep prying eyes out but for railway type interests why bother? I find it somewhat irritating not be able to see the content without joining, but, hey ho, if you do join and don't like it you can just leave again.

- you get adverts. And so you do but you can use an ad suppressor like Adblock and Poof! they're gone. :D

Before now I've seen comments along the lines of: 'I'm not letting them 'use' all my data', but since you need supply no more than a date of birth (it doesn't even need to be true, they can't check), an email address, a user name and a password you're not exactly giving away the crown jewels, and it's little more than you would provide for any forum.

And, to put my money where my mouth is, as you may have spotted, I run a Group for one of my own particular interests, see my signature. It's been happily trundling along now for a bit over three years and, amazingly enough, has scooped up some 1800 bods to come play in my sandpit. Admittedly it's the usual thing with such set ups, only a few tens of people ever post, but that's fine. Providing everyone plays nicely - and I make sure that do - it's all good.


Re: Facebook for/against

Posted: Sat May 27, 2017 9:40 am
by PeterH
Facebook is much smarter than we can ever imagine at figuring out who you are, and at tracking you in the context of your family and work. Facebook is free because that information is worth much more to them than any subscription you would pay. Using tracker blocking software on your computer helps a bit but only delays things.

I don't use Facebook for two reasons:

1 - Because I loose my privacy.

2 - Because Facebook's avowed aim is to be the only player in the world. They want everything to be through Facebook. I read an example recently: a person was in a carpool scheme and the scheme changed to force users to organise rides through Facebook. Thereby giving Facebook information about who was travelling where and when.

Try searching for 'Facebook privacy concerns' or 'Facebook world domination'. Though use an anonymous search engine or you will be noted as someone who might oppose Facebook.

Re: Facebook for/against

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 6:59 am
by Kerluk
I totally agree with you Peter.

Re: Facebook for/against

Posted: Wed May 31, 2017 7:35 am
by Nige
I'm with Stockers on this point. Facebook isn't the be-all and end-all but it's a useful tool. As for privacy, people can probably learn as much about me from my business web page then they can from my Facebook profile and, of course, it's a matter of choice what I put on each.

I think the biggest problem with Facebook is that many of the users need protecting from themselves! I can cite the example of a friend who is well known in their community who posts pictures of their kids (and comments on their sporting successes) and running commentaries of their holidays with pictures on their Facebook page. This person is educated and in a profession but doesn't seemed to have twigged that it's not that hard to find out where someone lives at which point their Facebook page becomes an advert targeting the local lowlife!

And please don't get me started on another friend who is now so entrenched in Facebook that they now rely on it for some of life's harder decisions - 'I'm going out for dinner tonight, should I have the meat or the fish?' being one such example!


Re: Facebook for/against

Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 4:49 am
by Jon Randall
Virtually every company who has my name and/or my address uses my data. Before I was on Facebook I entered a competition (Readers Digest or similar) but using a different first name and received junk mail from over 30 companies using that name. They kept coming in waves suggesting that if they didn't have a reply they then sold my info on.
Another pro is that you can search for groups using key words and the results are pretty good and it offers up suggestions of other groups when you visit those groups. You also don't have to spend ages filling in membership forms and this coupled with the sheer number of similar groups mean you are less likely to stick with groups where you don't like the vibe just because you've invested time. I also notice that some people are members of some groups I'm a member of and I've looked at their page to find what other groups they are in and found some gems. I've also had people suggest groups to me which only takes a couple of seconds. Keeping up with new products and services is easy too.
As for layout that's down to personal taste, I find it's second only to this site.

Re: Facebook for/against

Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:07 am
by chris stockdale
Re FB and the thought that 'they track/use/whatever' your data.

Yep, I'm sure they do. Indeed, I have always assumed that to use the internet at all is to open yourself to data tracking whether it's FB, Google, the security services or a supermarket etc. etc.

Having worked on the business side of IT I tend to imagine that there's so much data being collected it would taken an exceptional bod and miraculous algorithms to make great use of it.

As an example, the best that a lot of sites I visit, FB included, have come up with recently is to put more adverts for holidays I've already booked or saute pans I've already bought, in front of me again and again. Too late there chaps! If that's the best they can do with all that data...

Thus I happen to think that the upside of all this stuff, especially our dear Gnatterbox, relatively quiet as it is these days, with the friendship and info sharing that it offers, far outweighs any downside.


Re: Facebook for/against

Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:06 pm
by PeterH
One aim of Facebook is to make money from advertising, and I don't begrudge them that - their service is free.

But that's not 'the best they can do'. Their goal is to dominate the internet to the extent that there is nothing else. That means no gnatterbox. We should be concerned about that. For example:

"Facebook has signed up almost half the countries in Africa – a combined population of 635 million – to its free internet service in a controversial move to corner the market in one of the world’s biggest mobile data growth regions"

From a recent Guardian article here ... zuckerberg