We need to talk. You might want close the door to your office, hide in the bathroom from your kids, and click the “do not disturb” setting on your iPhone. You’re going to want to grasp every word I am about to tell you. You’re going to get mad, you’re going to feel violated, and you’re going to want to do something about it.
If you’re like me, you’ve had a Facebook account since at least 2006 – the year of Akon, hot pink razor flip phones, mp3 players, and selfies. Okay, maybe selfies were around a few years before that but 2006 is the year I started posting selfies on my Facebook account. What can I say, I wanted to attract a man (in 2006, we college students thought selfies were the best way to do that), which was okay because Facebook was private. The only people who had access to my account were people in my college circle.
But then Facebook decided they would slowly sell us out. Harsh words, I know, but I call it like it is. Without anyone realizing it, Facebook changed its terms and conditions, expanded it’s definition of “privacy” and everybody and their grandma opened a Facebook account. We were so addicted to Facebook that we didn’t even read the terms and conditions that would take at least a year for someone without a law degree to sift through.
While we were sleeping, Facebook became the owner of everything we posted and the gatekeeper for anyone who wanted our private and personal information, something that anyone with a minority or unpopular viewpoint should be concerned about.
I know, I only have a law degree and all, but in anticipation of the accusations that I have no ability to read, analyze, or comprehend, feel free to close out of this post and spend the next year navigating through all of these policies yourself. For those who would like to be enlightened, I’ve summarized a few of my favorite services provided by Facebook:
1. They collect ALL of your information.
We collect the content and other information you provide when you use our Services, including when you sign up for an account, create or share, and message or communicate with others.
We also collect content and information that other people provide when they use our Services, including information about you, such as when they share a photo of you, send a message to you, or upload, sync or import your contact information.
In other words, Facebook stalks their users and is an uninvited third-party in all of your conversations. They know where your kid goes to school, whether or not you vaccinate, and whether you took up smoking pot in a state where smoking is illegal. They were even in on that super personal conversation you had with your best friend. Yes, when you created a Facebook account, Facebook became your new best friend.
2. They collect information from all of the devices you use to access Facebook. This includes any device where their app is installed and information about you on any third-party website where you log in with your Facebook account.
3. They spy on you and the groups you’re in (even those groups you think are secret):
We collect information about the people and groups you are connected to and how you interact with them, such as the people you communicate with the most or the groups you like to share with.
There is no such thing as a “private” group on Facebook. Keep this in mind next time you post something personal in what you think is a “safe” forum.
4. They have your credit card information.
[…] We collect information about the purchase or transaction. This includes your payment information, such as your credit or debit card number and other card information, and other account and authentication information, as well as billing, shipping, and contact details.
Tell me again why Facebook needs my account information if they aren’t making a deposit into it?
5. They know what you did last summer and they know the date and time of your last bowel movement…because they were there.
We receive information about you and your activities on and off Facebook from third-party partners […].
Do you know how many “third-party” partners Facebook has? Thousands. If you are someone who struggles with loneliness, you can take comfort in the fact that the peeps at Facebook are always with you.
6. They share your information with advertisers, vendors, and any other company they have a relationship with, including the ten companies they own and operate, their army of affiliates, and government agencies that want your information. Don’t worry though, these third parties have to adhere to the “strict confidentiality policy” that does not exist.
We transfer information to vendors, service providers, and other partners who globally support our business.
We may also access, preserve and share information when we have a good faith belief it is necessary to: detect, prevent and address fraud and other illegal activity; to protect ourselves, you and others, including as part of investigations […].
What exactly constitutes a “good faith” belief and does this include government agencies who conduct “investigations” on people who are a threat to their agenda? These are legit questions I don’t see answers to in the encyclopedia that is Facebook’s terms and conditions.
7. They don’t enforce their own safety policies. Go ahead, ask anyone who posts in opposition to vaccines, in favor of parental rights, or speaks on controversial issues like religion and natural health.
You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user. You will not use Facebook to do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory.
8. Facebook’s data use policy and terms of service are “in violation of European law.” They also deceived users into thinking their information was private, and then shared it publicly.
Sure, Facebook’s data policies were audited twice by Ireland’s data protection agency, which found them to be of “best practice” in 2012, but lets face it, these results are predictable when Facebook’s base for European operations is in Dublin, Ireland.
9. Facebook’s Terms of Service are more intrusive than any other entity’s.
They can track your movements (and the movements of anyone with you) on and off Facebook via your bluetooth, GPS, or wireless connection. They install tracking cookies on your browser which shares information with thousands of affiliates. They can commercially exploit your pictures and content on your Facebook without permission. (Well, technically you gave them permission when you agreed to their Terms of Service you didn’t read). They can read the status updates you make but never post and have even allegedly taken content from private messages and sold the information for profit.
If you have their mobile app, Facebook can read your texts, view your call log, contact list, photos, videos of your children, and anything else they want to. They can even stalk your pictures on Instagram and listen to your conversation via Skype. (It’s like having an imaginary friend in on the call who really isn’t “imaginary.”) Next time you call your mom, give a shout-out to the peeps at Facebook.
So, you have an account but don’t post? You’re good right? Wrong. Facebook still has your real name and birthday. They know who your family and friends are. They know what links you click, which websites you visit, and who you’re messaging. They can read your texts, peruse your phonebook, and can listen to the conversations you have through your phone.
10. Facebook pages that talk about unpopular political or religious viewpoints, essential oils, alternative medicine, natural health, autism, and vaccines can be censored or removed from Facebook.
Pages must not contain false, misleading, fraudulent, or deceptive claims or content.
This is a blanket definition that allows whoever is in authority to subjectively deem content to be misleading or untrue…even if it isn’t. If the CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which supports mass global “immunization” and funds many of the flawed “studies” deeming vaccines safe) was on my board of directors? You better believe I’d be pressing my “censor” button.
Oh, but Megan, that would never happen. Really? The creator of Facebook recently took a stance on vaccines when he made a statement deeming the science “completely clear” and recommended a pro-vaccine book to his book club (a strategic selection I’m sure). The next day the world was calling for Facebook to “shut the anti-vaxxers down,” and to “pull their pages, block their posts, twist the spigot of misinformation before more people get hurt.” And guess what, Facebook has full authority to do it.
Maybe you don’t care that Facebook has your digits, your credit card information, is spying on your messages and selling your information to third parties. But, would you care if you were arrested over a misinterpreted status update? Would you care if your kid ended up in prison for making a sarcastic Facebook comment? What about the real possibility that a pedophile could lure or obtain pictures of your children from your Facebook profile? What if your views on vaccines or the natural remedies you use for your children became the grounds of a Child Protective Services complaint?
Don’t be mad at Facebook. They aren’t violating the constitution. We agree to their ambiguously clear terms of service every time we log in. But if you’re like me, there’s something you value more than Facebook and that’s your privacy and control over your information. I am an activist who relies on social media for my voice and I want the freedom to express my ideas in a safe forum. I want to be able to connect with like-minded people without worrying whether someone is spying, selling, or trolling my information. I want to send a message to my friend, without wondering if it will end up in the hands of someone at Facebook. (Even Zuckerberg has said we are stupid for trusting him.)
If you’re wondering where you can go, let me bless you with the answer to your social media prayers – MeWe. This is the world’s only privatized social media platform. You can read their Terms of Service in five minutes. They don’t follow you to the bathroom, spy on your conversations, or censor your viewpoint because they don’t like it. They have no idea when you last shaved your legs, picked your nose, or picked your wedge. The only cookies present while you’re perusing MeWe are the ones you’re eating.
Most importantly, your posts and mine go to everyone who follows our pages – not the lurkers on your friends’ friend list or third-party entities. We truly “own” our information (unlike Facbeook, which just says we do).
Here are a few good pages to check out on MeWe when you get there:
Go. Make a profile. Build a platform. Follow your family. Follow my page. If you don’t, you’ll be the only one on Facebook, like you were the only one on MySpace when Facebook hit the scene.
Remember MySpace? Yeah…me neither.
If you want to check my facts, read Facebook’s Terms of Service (and the privacy policies of 10 of Facebook’s other companies) and watch “Terms and Conditions May Apply” on Netflix. To view Living Whole’s Disclaimer and Disclosures, click here.
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