It’s Day 3 of my eight day Data Detox and today was the day I went deep into the belly of the social media beast: THE FACEBOOK.
First up, I was tasked with adding a neat little chrome extension from ProPublica “What Facebook Thinks You Like.”
That’s when I discovered that I like turtles.
The chrome extension was a little buggy and I did have to restart my browser a few times before it would work. Finally, I was given a little pop-up window with a “Creepy Meter” that listed a bewildering amount of categories of things Facebook thinks I like. Since I have gone deep into my ad preferences before, none of this was too surprising to me, as much as it was an exercise in absurdity. I keep imagining the ad exec somewhere saying: “Quick! We need ad buy for 40-year-old women who like funeral director and turtle.”
Next up, I re-visted my Privacy settings and was pleased to note that I was still happy with where everything stood. I have long had an unhealthy obsession with the changing facebook privacy situation (and no, I have never shared that viral Facebook status “I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, messages or posts, both past and future. By this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute” Although it does sound legal and scary).
This attention to the ever-shifting landscape of privacy and Facebook has led me to do privacy check-ups fairly regularly. For instance, when I am actively looking for a job, I loosen how easy it is to find me. People like to know who you are when they are thinking of hiring you. When I’m not on the job market, I lock it down.
Next up was an account deep clean in which I went through my Activity Log, untagging things and deleting other things. Again, I have had Timeline Review enabled FOREVER so I never get tagged unless I want to be. I also regularly clear my searches and delete things for funsies on Friday nights. It’s like the konmari approach to social media (“does this 2013 photo of me in a mustache bring me joy?”)
Finally, my next job was to grab myself some good social media karma by untagging friends from my photos. I also like to do this on the front end by asking people first before posting and/or tagging. There are many embarassing photos of me on the interwebs (see Day 1), but I chose them and that feels really different than when someone else does the choosing.
Today’s challenge asked me to install another chrome extension (two in one day!). This one is called Data Selfie and it tracks how you are interacting with social media online to give a snapshot of what’s been collected. It needs a few days to run before the data is useful, so I will have to swing back to this in a follow-up post. The extension sits up in my browser with a little eyeball icon that feels really creepy, which might be a good reminder that I am being surveilled at all times. They know all.