Facebook has just politely informed me that, without my consent, they’ll be removing a feature that prevents people from looking up my timeline by name. Their explanation is that now people can find you by clicking on a friend’s post where you left a comment (true, though that doesn’t bother me), or see you in a graph search when they cross-reference by pages you’ve liked, such as music pages.
Nicki Minaj rage scale: 50.
The thing about Facebook that has always pissed me off is that every change they make is based on the idea that only one kind of person has ever or will ever use their service: Hyper-extroverted hipsters who literally want to share everything about their lives all the time to everybody. I’m cool with those people having an outlet to do that, but I’d like for my privacy to matter at some point in this conversation.
When I joined Facebook, it was because my sister kept pressuring me to get on it. All my family was on it, and that had become their primary means of keeping touch. I spent over 30 years annoyed that I was always the last to find out about anything just because people assume someone told me already, or because I was in a room where they told someone and wrongly assumed I could hear them, or they said it in my presence when I could hear it just fine but made the mistake of assuming I was paying attention. Once everyone jumped on Facebook that problem got a million times worse. My finally joining actually made it better for the first time ever, and I found that this was something I liked.
There’s a hitch. I’ve been on the Internet a long time: long enough that there are some people I’d literally rather got hit by a bus than ever have to interact with again. Yes, literally. Not that I’d gloat over it or anything, but I am that averse to ever dealing with their crap again. (Those who think they know who and what I’m referring to, probably don’t. This goes way further back.) Granted I think I’m entitled to be part of their step 9, but just count me out altogether, thanks. I sincerely doubt the problem would ever come up, but even so I was reluctant to get on Facebook in the first place because of it.
For this reason, among others, I have been ruthless about keeping a low profile and a very small friends list. It’s pretty much all just extended family, with very very few exceptions. My privacy settings are all locked down. I don’t go around liking music and entertainment pages. (And thank goodness I don’t, because they just told me that would be visible to anyone searching from that page!) I haven’t given them my location, school, or job. I don’t want my Facebook page to be searchable by name at all.
All I want out of Facebook is the ability to interact with my friends and a very very small number of closed groups. It’s a place where I can rant in short form or post a bit of personal news. I can find out about whatever cute thing one of my cousins’ kids just did, or get an update on what’s going on with the people in my life. What I do not want is to be looked up.
So Mark, if you’re reading this, and I know you’re not: Screw you, buddy. I’m not a hyper-extroverted hipster. I’m just a guy who wants to keep in touch with his family, and also become a way better supervillain than the one you’ve become merely by bumbling into the role. You’re still trying to figure out why I won’t give you my cell phone number. You’re constantly looking for ways to erode whatever privacy I have left, because you’re so stupid you actually think I want that. And that’s why I hope you get mauled by a skunk.
P.S.: Blocking game posts from all my friends doesn’t actually work. Let’s make it two skunks, and a honey badger.