About a year ago I took a look at the data which Facebook held of mine. It was about three gigabytes worth! I joined Facebook relatively early in its genesis and had shared all sorts on it.
Call me bloody minded, but I didn’t see why that smug person Mark Zuckerberg should benefit from all that data of mine.
At the same time, there is no real alternative, other than Facebook, for sharing baby and travel photos with close friends and family.
So I took the decision to download all my Facebook data – all three gigabytes of it – and come off Facebook for 90 days. That way, all that data got deleted from the Facebook servers.
I then re-joined Facebook using a different email address.
But I re-joined under my own terms – and fully aware of what I was doing (unlike when I first joined it many years ago).
I have not shared my phone number with them (although they have probably snaffled that via WhatsApp). My profile photo does not show my face so that it is not easy to see which Paul Walter I am amongst the scores of other Paul Walters. I am careful about what I “like” – because that tends to give Facebook more data about me. I have used the maximum privacy settings. Most importantly I only use Facebook for personal things like baby photos and travel photos. I do not share political and news stuff on Facebook.
And perhaps critically, I reduced my friends from about 300 to about 60. So now I only “friend” people who I have actually met and talked with, who I actually like and who don’t argue needlessly with me, and who are….well, actual friends. You know the kind of thing.
I use Twitter for politics and news.
To find out how to do what I did, Jack Schofield of the Guardian wrote an excellent article about it.