As all my regular readers know, I am not on Facebook. I’ve never had a Facebook account and I never will. I don’t care how much business I may miss out on by not being on Facebook or how many fun social contacts and interactions. Facebook’s anti-privacy model and practices are are antithetical to everything I believe in.
But tonight, I felt actual terror as I read about how Facebook is putting people’s lives at risk.
In a post, Violet Blue documents her recent security hassles with Facebook over access to her account. If you follow her on Twitter, you already know some of what she’s gone through, but there was a section of her post that I specifically wanted to cite here:
The most recent story about Facebook with my byline is Women, LGBT least safe on Facebook, despite ‘real name’ policy. In it, I revealed the company’s practice of taking user ID on the pretense of verifying identity ‘to keep its communities and users safe’ and then publishing information not voluntarily provided by the user without consent. It detailed the findings in a new report on harm done to domestic violence victims, A Glimpse From the Field: How Abusers Are Misusing Technology, which found Facebook to be the source of harm in 99% of cases – the epicenter for abuse, due to its ubiquitousness and lack of anonymity. The report found that Facebook is the most misused social media platform by abusers, period, and Facebook is a key place for attackers to access information about victims or harass them by direct messaging or via their friends and family. The respondents included national domestic violence programs, sexual assault programs, law enforcement, prosecutor’s offices and civil legal services. The primary mitigation against this harm from leading organizations such as the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is advice to victims to never use, share or show real names or “real” information on the victim’s account. The victims on Facebook of this harassment were estimated at over 23 million female Facebook users as of June, 2015.
You can read her full post on Tumblr. It’s painful to read, and I have nothing but admiration for her for sharing her story.
Read what she’s written and then ask yourself if you want to be on a platform that knowingly implements policies that puts lives at risk. And if you want your children and the people you love to be on that platform.