Seriously. I’m not even kidding.
A quick guide on how to exorcise Facebook from your computer and send it back to the data privacy hell from when it came… permanently.
This is a guide for macOS, but it’s about editing
hosts, so it will work under any operating system. For Windows users, your hosts file lives in
C:\Windows\System32\Drivers\etc (it’s the file in there literally just called
hosts, no file extension, but it’s just a text file). Just copy-paste the list of domain from page two of the Mac guide into that file. Note you’ll probably need to open a text editor as Administrator first (right click on it, then find the “Run as Administrator” option).
Because the hosts file works at the OS network layer, making changes here will impact everything on the computer. If you block Facebook in
hosts, no app or browser will ever be able to resolve it ever again. Also note that this technique works for literally any domain, and also means you can redirect arbitrary domains to arbitrary IP addresses so, like… I’m not saying that the opportunities to prank people by editing their hosts file exists, but…
A somewhat measured take from Techdirt on the whole “Facebook gave all your data to Satan incarnate, a.k.a. Cambridge Analytica, to help the Russians elect Trump” thing that’s been going on.
The tl;dr of this is basically that this whole thing was Facebook Working As Intended. If that bothers you, then… here you go.
Relevant to Current Events, here’s how to grab a download of all* the data Facebook has on you.
I have an account on Facebook, but I don’t routinely use the platform. Nonetheless, my own data dump was around 220 MB, including the page on “Advertisers with your contact info”: Airbnb, Deliveroo, and Uber.
Facebook’s ‘internal policies’ are crafted to create the appearance of civic concerns for privacy, free speech, and other similar concerns. But they’re actually just a business model. Facebook’s ‘internal policies’ amount to a kind of Stepford Wives version of civic liberalism and speech and privacy rights, the outward form of the things preserved while the innards have been gutted and replaced by something entirely different, an aggressive and totalizing business model which in many ways turns these norms and values on their heads. More to the point, most people have the experience of Facebook’s ‘internal policies’ being meaningless in terms of protecting their speech or privacy or whatever as soon as they bump up against Facebook’s business model.
Josh Marshall on corporate law.
A neutral observer might wonder if Facebook’s attitude to content creators is sustainable. Facebook needs content, obviously, because that’s what the site consists of: content that other people have created. It’s just that it isn’t too keen on anyone apart from Facebook making any money from that content. Over time, that attitude is profoundly destructive to the creative and media industries. Access to an audience – that unprecedented two billion people – is a wonderful thing, but Facebook isn’t in any hurry to help you make money from it. If the content providers all eventually go broke, well, that might not be too much of a problem. There are, for now, lots of willing providers: anyone on Facebook is in a sense working for Facebook, adding value to the company. In 2014, the New York Times did the arithmetic and found that humanity was spending 39,757 collective years on the site, every single day. Jonathan Taplin points out that this is ‘almost fifteen million years of free labour per year’. That was back when it had a mere 1.23 billion users.
John Lanchester on Facebook.
From a much longer and end-to-end excoriating article about, basically, the evils of Facebook. And, like I’m not usually that into the whole “modern technology is ruining our lives!” hand-wringing thing, but… Facebook is kinda evil. And this is a good 101 primer on why.
Incidentally, might I take this opportunity to suggest taking some time to investigate the browser-based privacy tools uBlock Origin and, for advanced users, uMatrix. Oh, and Vanilla Cookie Manager if you’re on Chrome, to boot.
Today, more and more, not only can corporations target you directly, they can model you directly and stealthily. They can figure out answers to questions they have never posed to you, and answers that you do not have any idea they have. Modeling means having answers without making it known you are asking, or having the target know that you know.
–Zeynep Tufekci on the asymetry of Facebook.