So for the second time I’ve disabled my Facebook account. I’ve also removed myself from LinkedIn. The real reason is that I got no benefit out of these web app’s. Maybe if I had lot’s of online contacts I wanted to keep in touch with then they would be useful, but I don’t. For those that I do want to keep in touch with e-mail, IM, the blog, Flickr and Twitter all do a decent job. I also felt uncomfortable about the amount of personal information that these sites shared amongst my ‘friends’.
The recent furore around Scoble and his removal from Facebook due to running a script raises an important question I hadn’t considered. Who is responsible for my contacts? Is it me or is it Facebook? Facebook have said they stopped a script from running on Scoble’s profile as it was scraping information and they were protecting their users from having their information taken by this script. While that sounds fine in principle why do Facebook want access to my Google, Microsoft, Yahoo contacts when I first sign up? All smacks of double standards. The real reason is to stop you easily moving to another site.
If I worry about my information and who has it online what’s to stop real friends from sharing that information with Facebook, LinkedIn, Google – anyone. I guess nothing really. My contacts on Facebook or in real life have allowed me to store their information making me responsible for it not the application or website that I store it in. Ultimately it is you that is responsible for your information and giving it out to those people or applications that you trust. If your at all worried about it the only person that can really address it is you. It’s a pretty sobering thought, especially when so much of my personal information is easily found on the internet…and that’s mostly down to me. Annoyingly for a lot of the information it’s already too late to clean up. If I could roll back time I would have been a bit smarter in protecting my real life identity online.