Word is out that Faceplant will soon say to us: “If you thought this new life dossier was going to remain optional, think again.”
Okay. I can’t prevent it. I could deactivate my Faceplant account, I suppose, but I would rather keep hosing them. I never see their ads, so I cost them money, and I get use and enjoyment out of it. I am freeloading, and delighted to do so. (If you see their ads, know that it’s by choice. Want to stop? If using Firefox, go Googling ‘block Facebook ads’ and you’ll find many ways.)
So how can we screw up Facebook Timeline?
My theory is that every time we give them context, it helps them create a timeline. For example, Faceplant recently nagged me about my Ireland photo album: “Were these pictures taken in Ireland?” Why answer? I just ignored the question. Thus, refusing to tag locations is one way. Refusing to post that you are at a given location is another. (Why do you need to advise the world that you are with Joe at Yo-Yo’s Fro-Yo Palace anyway? Who cares? Who has time to care?) We are also told that we will have some sort of ‘cover photo’, probably a total temple to our egos. My thinking is to use a blank white space. Why do I need a big bright splash screen of some sort? The way you mess with data collation and analysis is to provide false data, or otherwise do what they don’t expect. So, I’m probably going to start adding false dates and locations to photos.
Lying doesn’t come naturally to most of us. We are taught from earliest youth not to do it, though most of us eventually learn that there are times and places to lie. However, if you want to damage data, you don’t delete it–it may be recoverable. If you want to damage data, lie. Lie without conscience. It is powerfully difficult to design a reliable system that can detect lying.
So, I’m going to take a long look at what Faceplant imposes upon me. And then I’m going to start concocting some whoppers. I’m not going to tell it my job history. If I ever go out to apply for work, I’ll deactivate my Faceplant account for a while.
First whopper: I just searched for the word ‘blossom’ and came up with an eternal list of blossom-related items to ‘like’. I ‘liked’ most of them. How’s that for trashing the data?
Why don’t I just migrate to G+? Oh, that’s an easy one. I’m not swapping one info-hydra for another. Any time a company says it’s motto is “Don’t be evil,” be ready for a steady flow of evil. At this point, Microsoft is actually about fourth on my Evil list, Information Tech subcategory.
Don’t I feel some guilt for freeloading on the USS Zuckerborg, then doing my all to cause headaches even while benefiting from it? Zero, nada, none. Said vessel is using me more than I use it, which is why its founder is rich. I don’t see an application of the laws and principles of hospitality here. I see a company that has established a situation where it is moral and ethical to use them as I please provided I harm no other users. That includes depriving it of profit, advocating non-cooperation, mocking, providing fictitious data, and otherwise creating headaches. Petty? Sure. So is voting, though, by that logic.
Here is an okay article that briefs you on the new feature. If you come up with any other good ways to thwart the goal of a full life dossier, please share!
Edit, 9/1/12: if you use Firefox, and you just want to not see Timeline–yours or anyone’s–I suggest the add-in SocialReviver. Of course, you should still screw with Timeline any way you can manage. It’s still there, even if this spares you having to see it.