Why people are deleting their Facebook and you should do the same

If you still own a Facebook account, you are apparently living in the past. After a recent privacy scandal causing 78 million Facebook users to have their private data shared around the world, and abused for political reasons, problems involving the once popular social network are piling up.

The most recent shocking event involves the team of Facebook attempting to convince hospitals to share their patients health information with the site, causing a new outrage among (former) users of the social goliath. Facebook began speaking with hospitals last year about the possibility of matching anonymized user profiles with health data, but the news leaked last week.

Meanwhile a huge online movement called #DeleteFacebook is convincing millions of Facebook victims to delete their accounts and to never come back, something that has caused a loss on the stock market of over 110 billion in value. The movement is active on many locations on the internet and is becoming more popular fast. It is now estimated that at least 1/3 of all individuals active in the tech world have deleted their Facebook or are planning to do this.

The #DeleteFacebook movement suddenly received a big boost, and became a lot larger, when celebrities like Elon Musk, Will Ferrell and Cher attached themselves to it. After whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange expressed their support as well, the cat was out of the bag.

So what are the main reasons you should consider deleting your Facebook account?

1: The social network saves all the images and videos you send on it. Even if it is done in private chats. They then share this content with different companies and partners around the world. This means your private material at this moment could have been watched by millions of people on the planet.

2: Facebook has been caught recording your text messages and your phone calls. They also keep meta data showing exactly who you call, when and for how long, this data includes the full information and phone numbers of your contacts. Even if your contacts are later deleted from your phone, Facebook still records it all. They do the same thing for text messages, logging everything. And again this is shared with all their partners around the world, or pretty much anyone who pays for it.

3: Facebook has been censoring activists, dissidents and hacktivists for years causing it to become a bubble of disinfo and reactionary political speech, where advertisers and media are feeding you with information that is not only destructive for your brain, it also harms your quest for knowledge.

Why should you delete Facebook now instead of trying to change it? The website collected a lot of data about you. The terms and conditions are carefully constructed to make it look like you agree to this. The only option you have now is to delete your account, effectively cancelling your agreement. This means they can no longer sell your data. We believe this is your only option if you want to avoid further damage to your private life.

How will our lives change when we lose net neutrality?

Net neutrality helps to balance the internet in such a way that internet service providers can’t use the laws to their benefits. This year (2017), a repeal against net neutrality is to be decided upon by the FCC in the United States. The United States is a country where the internet service providers are mostly monopolies created by the government. Therefore, the government, which controls the internet, will be biased in favour of these big businesses. And these businesses, owned by wealthy businessmen, will want to take advantage from removing such regulations and safeguards.

Despite the fact that the FCC in the United States is asking for net neutrality to be gone, the aftermath effects the whole world. The supporters of the repeal against net neutrality spread a list of countries which lack net neutrality in their law, trying to convince the public that even without net neutrality, such countries are doing great in regards to free and cheap internet use.

However, these European countries they keep listing never had a bandwidth or network issue, due to their strong enough internet infrastructure. The United States internet infrastructure, on the contrary, has been like a cheddar cheese. It is exploited by the ISPs to such a degree that the US can’t meet the quotas anymore, since they oversold the lines. Even the public funding that was used by such ISPs on public lands was never returned by these big business owners. Subscriptions were also oversold and all profits went to these companies. All ISPs laid the internet infrastructure with public funding on public land because they were allowed to. And nothing was ever paid back.

As a result, the internet infrastructure of the US was weakened, and will soon be handed over as private property to these ISPs, if they would be succesful at appealing the net neutrality law. This draconian overtake is expected to happen on 14 December 2017.

Without real competition among ISPs, the internet is nothing more than a heavily regulated tool of the elite and the people in power, for controlling news and discourse. Isn’t that what happened with your TV channels as well? Being subjected to the controlling mechanisms of the government, it is now hard to find informative and neutral news or programs and even while more TV channels become available, the price is also increasing and the quality is dropping.

When net neutrality is absent, it is ofcourse unlikely carriers would block entire services from being accessed by their customers because it will harm their business. However, they can use bandwidth throttling, since they will aim to force the users to select the carrier’s preferred alternative, to earn more on the packages they will be selling. If smaller companies wanted a better deal, ISPs like Comcast would ask for fees in exchange for such services.

Such deals will make the services small companies are selling to their customers more expensive, while paying for internet use as one fixed price package will be a thing from the past. Monopolized by the government, ISPs will be able to ask whatever price they want from site owners. Those not able to meet the demands, will see their sites slow down to a degree they can’t reach their followers anymore. In this case, both users and the site owners would have to pay for the services. Users for the internet access, and site owners to make sure the ISPs will not be not slowing down their website speed or the speed at which their videos stream.

In addition, customers will be accessing features like social media through service providers. Such redirected routes will make the internet experience for users complicated, even slower and more expensive.

Bigger companies like Google and Netflix (as they had to pay for Comcast in the past), will be able to pay for the fees ISPs will demand. For small companies, like alternative news sites and personal bloggers (for example, activists), it will be much harder to afford such fees..

ISPs, as big businesses, already have been abusing the internet while working with the government, by functioning as a regulator. Now in the US it will be even easier to block social media and any site unpopular with the big businesses or government. While small companies and a lot of sites all over the world may disappear, the big corporations will control the internet, even growing bigger and now armed with an effective strategy of creating an everlasting monopoly.

Sources:

The inside story of how Netflix came to pay Comcast for internet traffic

https://www.wsj.com/articles/netflix-agrees-to-pay-comcast-to-improve-its-streaming-1393175346

http://viapopuli.com/what-is-net-neutrality-and-why-is-it-important-for-a-free-internet-simplified-version

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2007/08/pearl-jam-censored-by-att-calls-for-a-neutral-net/

http://bsalert.com/news/853/Comcast_Caught_Filtering_Political_E-Mails.html

Million Mask March 2017 – The day activists and hackers unite and march together

There is one day each year that is special to both activists and hackers. Every year on that day they unite and march together, all over the world, to fight against censorship and oppression. They are united by hiding their faces, walking anonymously through each big city, showing the world they exist.

It started small, a few years ago, with an operation called #OpVendetta, created by the collective of Anonymous. This collective is often portrayed by the media as being some sort of shady hacker group, but really Anonymous is just an idea. Everyone can be anonymous and it doesn’t have any members or leaders. People involved with Anonymous hide their identities, for safety reasons, but also to be united as one. To show they do not act as seperate entities, but rather as one big block.

Over the years the operation once known as #OpVendetta became famous as the Million Mask March. The name #OpVendetta ofcourse refers to the movie V for Vendetta, wich ends with thousands of people marching while wearing their Guy Fawkes masks. It became a symbol for global protest in large numbers. Nowadays the Million Mask March attracts thousands, some say millions, of activists all over the world. Mostly marching in their capital cities, but marches also exist in smaller cities.

The protest marches do not carry any group opinion. It is said that you can join the march for whatever reason you want. Most of the activists march for their freedom, and to combat censorship. But it is not necessarily limited to that. The last few years there are many animal rights activists as well, for example. What unites everyone is the concept of anonymity.

Do you want to know if there is a march close to you? The easiest thing you can do is go to Facebook, then type Million Mask March Yourcityname to find a march you can visit. Also search for the hashtags #millionmaskmarch or #mmm2017 on Instagram or Twitter. You will see many people advertising their marches or talking about this subject. Even if you don’t plan to march, it is truly an event that touches the hearts of everyone.