Deleted Facebook

Yesterday was my last day on Facebook. Today I deleted my account.

I may write more later, but fundamentally I don’t trust Facebook with my data or their motives.

I have similar concerns with Google as well and I don’t use GMail (I use FastMail), I don’t use Google Search (I use DuckDuckGo), and I don’t use an Android device (I use an iPhone).

Facebook (similar to Google) has repeatedly demonstrated they want to ingest all possible information they can about me, my family, my friends, my coworkers, and my acquaintances…damn the consequences.

They do this in overt and obvious ways, such as on the Facebook site itself when I provide them information, as well as offsite via the use of embedded “Like” buttons across the web. I used Firefox’s ‘Facebook Container’ and EFF’s ‘Privacy Badger’ plugins in an attempt to segregate Facebook from the rest of my online digital presence.

Facebook also does this in more covert ways, such as creating social graphs to see how people are related and interact with each other, scanning photos to identify people (even people who aren’t users of Facebook)[1], and even creating ‘shadow profiles’ for people who don’t have accounts [2].

Facebook desires to be at the intersection of every kind of interaction they can be — social groups, personal communication, advertisement, sales, currency, etc — and to profit off it…to profit off of me.

This is a dangerous desire, in my opinion, and one I do not want to be involved in or exploited to achieve.

I also don’t like what Facebook does to my brain in terms of the intermittent reinforcement (similar to what happens at casinos) with new posts and updates from friends as well as the comparing (and glamorizing) of idealized existences.

I also hate the polarization that occurs with Facebook, and is in part driven by Facebook. Through their algorithms, Facebook encourages echo chambers and the spread of (dis)information thereof.

This is incredibly scary in our current socialgeopolitical climate…we seem to have lost the ability to have rational debate…something that is very urgently needed.

But know that I’d still love to keep in touch, so please call, text, email, or visit the blogs: andrewferguson.net (more tech and politics) and andrewandrachel.com (more life events and pictures…you’ll need to create a login because it’s private, you can also get email updates if you want too!)

[1] https://chicago.suntimes.com/metro-state/2020/1/29/21114569/facebook-could-pay-550-million-to-illinois-users-in-privacy-settlement

[2] https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/11/17225482/facebook-shadow-profiles-zuckerberg-congress-data-privacy


No More Facebook

If you’re missing me on Facebook, don’t worry, I didn’t unfriend you. About two weeks ago, I left Facebook. This is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but could never bring myself to do — until two weeks ago.

I’m not sure if this is a forever move, or just short-term.

I’ll still be here and there.


Facebook Integration Philosophy

I’m trying to figure out if and how to best integrate Facebook into AFdN (which I would then presumably roll in to AnRdC), as well as to also gauge understanding in the necessity of pushing to Facebook (via user participation, or lack thereof, in the form of comments/feedback).

For several months now, I’ve been using the Social plugin from Crowd Favorite to push posts to Facebook (and Twitter), but the integration is not exactly what I want.

The ideal scenario is that a post on AFdN is also posted to Facebook (and Twitter) in full (syndication), but comments (and “likes” and retweets) are captured by and centralized at AFdN. Social does a pretty good job of this, but comments are still fragmented because while AFdN can capture comments from Facebook (and the like from Twitter), it doesn’t do a good job of integrating comments from AFdN back into Facebook (or Twitter)–the syncing problem.

I think my end goal is to use my Facebook timeline as an RSS feed of sorts for my friends, and drive any comments here to be published. I’m not sure if that’s possible though. I don’t want comments to be fragmented or lost though. I may end up saying screw it and not worry about Facebook at all.

All of this also presupposes that maintaining connectivity with Facebook is what should be done to begin with. Historically, Facebook has been the social gathering place for people my age. And Back In The Day™ (when it was called The Facebook), Facebook reached this sweet spot of with a super high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). It aggregated all the basic data, connections, and updates of friends (high signal) while also being easy to use and free of cruft (noise). Facebook, though, has always been marching towards something else: profitability. However, their stock price since their IPO has been lackluster at best. And their SNR has continued to deteriorate. Facebook has fallen to serve the lowest common denominator (LCD): people who play FarmVille.

Well, actually the LCD is money. Facebook’s product is its users, in particular selling the users to advertisers. And generally most of us are okay with that, as long as we get some value for it. The problem for Facebook is the users aren’t getting the value from Facebook they once did. This poses a problem for Facebook because if they can’t keep their user base engaged, they don’t have a product to sell.

Anyway, for now it seems Facebook remains an integral part for many of my friends. I want to be able to keep my friends updated. Ergo, Facebook seems to be a good vehicle to do that.

I’d welcome any comments to the contrary, especially from those who see this on Facebook.


Moving Registrars

I’m switching registrars so I can leave GoDaddy. There should be no issues since only the registrar data is changing. While this technically touches the DNS system, it’s only updating the registrar data at Internic and leaving the DNS servers the same (including the Start of Authority server). However if something does go wrong, now you know why.

This is the first step in a reorganization of some of the technical assets that I use worldwide. I’m cooking up some really cool things that I hope will leverage WordPress in an incredibly awesome way and also let me move away from Facebook.


Facebook, Twitter, and Paper Shredders

I gave up Facebook and Twitter for Lent.

Well, I gave up most of Facebook1 and Twitter for Lent. I’m allowing myself five minutes of time on Facebook and Twitter each day (total for the both of them, and no rollover minutes). And even then, the only reason I’m doing that is because there are still some critical communications and event planning that occur through them. I don’t want to be completely antisocial, you know. I also want to be able to respond to @ reply’s on Twitter. So the five minute limit is really just designed so I can get in, do what I need to do, and get out.

I figured this was a good thing to give up for Lent because I found myself constantly checking Facebook and Twitter even when I had no good reason to. Basically, if I was bored or didn’t have anything fun to do (which should not be confused with not having anything to do) I would check those sites. The most annoying thing was that I found myself doing that the first thing in the morning while eating breakfast. I would sit there in my pajamas, eating my cereal, scrolling through the Facebook updates with one finger on my Android phone.

And so it was.

Yesterday, I went to Costco to get some supplies and made a somewhat big-for-me purchase (it was $50…not that big I suppose, but still). I got home and broke my new toy out of its packaging and thought about posting something witty about it on Twitter. I started thinking about what I could say in 140 characters or less.

Then I remembered that I couldn’t. Because I gave it up for Lent2. I actually kind of felt sad! That’s when I knew that giving up Twitter was probably a good idea.

I also think Twitter — and even Facebook to some degree — have contributed to my lack of posting here. Why write out 300, or 750, or even 1500 words on something when I can be lazy and write 140 characters?

This brings me to by big announcement: I bought a paper shredder, which makes me feel like an adult. But oh how I like to shred!3

Now, the whole irony of this thing is that new posts on my blog get automatically tweeted to Twitter, and then pushed to Facebook. But that’s pretty much the only activity you’re going to see from me on Facebook and Twitter until April 24th.

Anyone else give anything up?

  1. which is quite incredible considering that just give years ago I passed up on giving up Facebook for Lent because “I’m really not that into Facebook (I might check it every three days or so)“…Facebook, you time sucking bastard. 

  2. who’s silly idea was that? 

  3. 90 characters 

A Red Hook Brew Tour

I went with Girlfriend to the Redhook Brewery on Saturday for a fun date (lunch + brewery tour = awesome).

The tour was pretty fun, although not many people were there (it was noon and a bit overcast, not quite beer drinking time, I guess). Our tour guide for the day was Spencer; who was a new guide for me, but trained by the perennial favorite Valerie. He was also good and I would definitely recommend him as a tour guide. This post isn’t about that though. This is about the phone call I got later that night from a number not in my phone book.

I picked up the phone and didn’t hear anyone. A pocket dial? I called the number back, “Hi, you’ve reached Spencer….” Drat, a voicemail.

Wait, wasn’t that the name of our tour guide today?

I left a vague message with a request to call back. Then I got this message via Facebook:

Hey! You were on my tour today! So, I accidentally called you. Funny story – not trying to be creepy at all, I found you on facebook on my iPhone and it listed your cell phone number, which I bumped and called by accident. I think you might have tried to call me back – and I felt really awkward so I didn’t answer… so sorry for the call – I really didn’t mean for it to happen and I feel really bad. I did, however, notice that you know Kelly Knowland1, who I went to highschool with, and Kiel Johnson2 who I went to college with in Portland! Which is awesome! Small world! I love them both endlessly! And they can vouch for me that I’m not a creeper. I can’t begin to tell you how awkward I feel about the accidental call.

Anyway… hope you had a great time on the tour today, and thanks for the hug3, haha! If you come back to Redhook, I think I owe you a beer. At the least.

Okay, well at least that solves the question of who was calling me4. But what prompted him to look me up in the first place?

If you happen to be going on a Red Hook tour soon, I suggest you ask Spencer, “So I hear you like to call people from your tour…and offer free beer if you find them on Facebook?” (a thought mentioned by Andrew Z)

  1. who I know from the Edge, I think 

  2. who I know from highschool, we both went to SAAS 

  3. I was getting our tokens and asking who was going to lead the tour. I noted that I hoped it was Valerie, because she’s a very good tour guide, as well as the guide I’ve had on all the previous tours. Spencer took offense to this, jokingly, so I offered to hug it out with him. 

  4. I’m the guy who always picks up the phone when a new number dials, just so I can solve the mystery 

More On Copyright

My cousin Amanda1 wants to know:

I just finished a painting and I wanted to put it on Facebook, but I need to know about copyright stuff, if I put it on Facebook does that give the Facebook people right to it?

Editors note: edited for grammar and such.

The short answer is yes.

Facebook has something called a “Terms of Service”2. It’s a long document, but the part you’re going to be interested in is near the top, section 2 “Sharing Your Content and Information.”

Part 1 reads: “For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

I’m not a lawyer, but when you put content you create (such as a picture of your painting) on Facebook, you automatically give them certain rights. However, as soon as you delete the content, the rights you gave them are automatically rescinded unless your content has been shared with others who have not deleted it.

Copyright is a very interesting subject and one that is not very well understood by many people. I’d encourage you to learn more about it. A good place to start would be Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright

If you have any questions, feel free to let me know. I may not be able to answer all of them, however I can also ask my roommate who’s in law school.


I also sent an email to Auntie, just to make sure everyone is on same page and to (hopefully) provide a Teaching Moment™:

Amanda was asking me about copyrights, which I’m more than happy to give my two cents on in my non-lawyer capacity. However, I’m rather passionate about copyright (or more appropriately, the abuse of copyright and the rights of people) and was hoping this could turn into one of those “teaching moments” I so often hear about from my parents. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (sort of like the ACLU for the electronic age) has a website called “Teaching Copyright” (http://www.teachingcopyright.org/) which provides (for free) a curriculum for teachers to “present the laws surrounding digital rights in a balanced way.”

I think there’s lots of confusion about what copyright is and isn’t. The current copyright (and patent and trademark) system is (in my opinion) a mostly vile shell of what the original intention behind the system was. Yes, strong words, but also words I believe to be accurate. Anyway, I’d encourage you take a look. The site is pretty decent and while not comprehensive, at least gets the ball rolling.

You may also be interested in Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org/), which “provide a flexible range of protections and freedoms for authors.” An example of this would be my website (https://andrewferguson.net/some-rights-reserved/) and almost all of my photos.

As always, feel free to ask lots and lots of questions.


I’m curious where copyright and the like is headed. I’ve been fed-up with the current system a little while now, but I’m usually on the early side of the “early adopters”. My hope is, of course, that we are starting to see more uptick in the desire to return to the origins of the copyright, “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”3

A graph of Everett Rogers Technology Adoption Lifecycle model. Copyright 2007 Natebailey, Creative Commons Attribution 2.5.

  1. who is, incidentally, the sister of my cousin Nick 

  2. http://www.facebook.com/terms.php?ref=pf 

  3. Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution 

Note Craze

As I prepare to head out to Europe, I’m trying to clear out my inbox to zero (thus earning this badge). Ergo, another episode of Inboxen™ cleaning:

A friend from Mines posted a note on his Facebook:
From www.facebook.com:

Post your name and I will do each of the following:
1. I’ll respond with something random about you.
2. I’ll tell you which song or movie you remind me of.
3. I’ll pick a flavor of jello to wrestle you in.
4. I’ll say something that only makes sense to you and me.
(if it doesn’t yet, we can give it meaning.)
5. I’ll tell you my first memory of you.
6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wondered about you.
8. I’ll tell you my favorite thing about you.
9. I’ll tell you my least favorite thing about you.
10. If you play, you MUST post this on yours

I responded. Here’s what Sam had to say about me:

1. I bet you procrastinate a lot like I am doing right now.
2. You remind me of Primer, because you’re a young, charismatic, engineer like the guy in the film.
3. I always pass on the Jello thing, because I dislike Jello. I guess if I had to, I’d pick the white grape flavor.
4. Particle physics also gives me a hadron.
5. Down in the GRL a year ago, we were brainstorming.
6. A ferret, not sure why.
7. Do you plan on pursuing or somehow involving photography in your profession?
8. You’re good to work with, but also an interesting, artistic person. I rarely run into that.
9. I’m jealous of you, shame.
10. I want you to spread this thing like herpes.

With regard to number 7: I hope so.


Au Revoir to MySpace

Just killed MySpace account. I never really used it and have always hated MySpace. Normally, I’ just let it collect dust, but for whatever reason I decided to actually delete it.

Deal with it.

You can still find me on Facebook and, of course, here.