I am not on Facebook.
I do not now have, nor ever have had, a Facebook page.
To many people, this is absolutely unfathomable. I have, when stating this fact, received skeptical looks and even the snarky response, “Everybody is on Facebook!” To which I respond with a shrug, and the reply, “I guess I’m nobody, then.” Once, in response to the snotty-voiced remark, “You HAVE to be on Facebook”, my own retort was just a tad snarky: “Ex-cuuuuuse me! I fail to remember that line in the Constitution of the United States which states, ‘Every citizen will be required to have a Facebook page!”
If questioned more politely regarding my decision to eschew Facebook, I simply explain that I had a very bad experience with its predecessor, MySpace, and nothing that I have ever read or learned since regarding Facebook nor its originator, Mr. Zuckerberg, has made me lean toward establishing a Facebook account—especially all the most recent revelations regarding the misuse of user data and egregious violations of privacy.
But, if anything were to convince me to remain one of the anonymous 7 Percent—the Non-Facebook People of the world—it would be the laundry list of promised “I’ll get back to you on that” statements that Mark Zuckerberg made to Congress in the hearings held during the spring of 2018. I understand that the New York Times noted 24 times–24!–in which Facebook’s originator replied to members of Congress with a remark along the lines of, “I’ll have to get back to you on that.” Some of those questions were extremely serious matters, such as how Facebook handles law enforcement requests, data tracking of minors even when they have logged off, investigation of unauthorized data access, and (most upsetting to me) data points on non-Facebook users.
Of course, I’m pretty certain I know how this works. Much like the biennial reports on vaccine safety that the pharmaceutical industry was supposed to have been producing and submitting to Congress since 1986 (a Freedom of Information lawsuit proved that not one—not even one!–such report had ever been produced, and no one has ever been held accountable for that failure), it’s highly doubtful that any of Facebook’s promised responses to Congressional questions will ever be submitted. The smoke from this particular fire has dispersed and dimmed, and the public and their representatives have moved on to other, more enticing, matters.
A young acquaintance’s husband explained to me that he established a Facebook page solely for the purpose of looking at photos that friends post. He posts nothing himself, he explained; he makes no status updates; he accepts no friend requests other than his genuine personal friends; he does nothing but look at family photos. And considering my actual real-life status as a new grandmother, I’ve considered his viewpoint—especially after learning of the collection of data on non-Facebook users, and thoroughly considering the general lack of privacy in any form in today’s society. After all, I tell myself, I broadcast opinions and ideas and thoughts on this blog every week. So perhaps I should, after all, create a Facebook page….