Honestly, I almost forgot what MySpace was when I read an article on Modern Alternative Mama, which led me to an article at Living Whole (it’s linked at the article I am providing).
I could leave it at the simple statement that Facebook is the new MySpace, but it’s at once so much more and so much less.
It could be hashed out here all the reasons why Facebook is creepy invasive, but many other authors have covered that sufficiently. I want to share my personal experience.
First, about a month and a half ago, I learned about MeWe through a friend in an amazing Facebook birth group (and keep hoping they’ll all convert to MeWe!). Since I am all about privacy and protection from invasion (a ridiculous but scary run-in with CPS, invasive/abusive mother-in-law, a child molesting ex-husband – they all tend to enforce that mindset), it appealed to me.
I decided to wean myself over to MeWe and shut down my Facebook account by the beginning of May. Between that and using a Bullet Journal, I was down to under 25% of my average “device” usage, and I loved it.
I posted about MeWe on Facebook like crazy on April 30th, more than I had in the weeks leading up to leaving. I started writing down everyone’s contact info, and thought I had three more to go. I also planned to write down a bunch of information from a thread in my birth group, to share with a friend.
As I was opening my 3rd to last contact, I got a page telling me to sign back in. When I tried, I got this:
That was weird. What is this all about?
I clicked “accept a number of documents” to find out and get this rubbish, confirming for me why I have moved to MeWe in the first place:
Seriously, aside from tracking people, using their information for financial gain, and being creepers, what do they need THIS for? Even those documents don’t prove jack crap, really. I could still say I am whoever I want. But… invasive much? Most charities don’t require this rubbish when applying for assistance with rent or food – some do, but not many. I’ve certainly never had a forum, chatroom, or other social network require this kind of “evidence” that we are using the name that helps us have our best experience. Banks do. Governments do. Facebook does, too, apparently.
I sent an “ID” picture of me, with my two fingers over my eyes, MeWe #NOT4SALE style. They responded with this:
It looks like the name on your Facebook account may not be your authentic name. We ask everyone to use the name they go by in real life so friends know who they’re connecting with.
Please help us by responding with your first and last name.
If the name on your account is already the name you use in everyday life, we would like to work with you to verify that this name best represents your identity.
We accept a number of documents to allow you to verify your everyday name. Learn more in our Help Center:
We appreciate your patience, and thank you for being a member of the Facebook community.
View updates from your support dashboard: ____________
The Facebook Team”
Seriously? I have friends that play roller derby – we all know their player name is their authentic self. I have fun college kid friends who have used their best friend’s last name as their own, joking they were married, we knew who they were, or who used “danger” as their name. Then, there are folks like me, which I’ll get to in a moment.
If you click on the link that they shared, above, you will find a section “Why do I need to upload an ID?.” It states that after they are done “verifying you,” that they’ll delete the ID document… except, the ridiculously long user agreement everyone signs says they can and do keep all our information – which includes the government-issued ID.
This was my response to “the Facebook Team”:
“It’s me. Not only can I verify I began and maintain my FB profile by providing the correct email and password, but I access it with this very email account, which is connected with it.
I am happy to be moving over to MeWe. I still needed to gather contact information from a few people, so I would have appreciated being able to collect it so I can get the heck off of your violating system, via the name EVERYONE there knows me as, _________.
I don’t want anyone else to find me, as I have a child-molesting ex-husband and you don’t allow for more privacy than a made up name… and now you rob the hunted of safer connection with their loved ones. Not surprising, after sexualizing and abusing women with pictures nursing their babies, selling people’s information for your profit, and generally being the promoters of invasion and intrusion into people’s personal lives.
If this was about ME getting MY best experience from FB, then you wouldn’t care about this issue, as having a harder-to-search-for name IS what gives me *my* best on social media, but it’s really about government tracking and your own financial gain from advertisers to target me.
I’m making sure to blog about this and tell everyone I know – and hopefully it won’t be long before your stocks crash and you close down for good.
Good riddance to them, I thought. They sent yet another email saying basically the same thing, to which I copy and pasted only this from my first email to them:
“via the name EVERYONE there knows me as, ________.
I don’t want anyone else to find me, as I have a child-molesting ex-husband and you don’t allow for more privacy than this made up name… and now you rob the hunted of safer connection with their loved ones.”
Their response was more dismissive than I imagined it would be and makes me sick to my stomach, given that I was extremely clear about what my family has been through in terms of trying to live life and connect with our loved ones, while staying hidden from abusers.
“Hi ____ (my first name),
Thanks for your response. We’ve changed your name and reactivated your account. You should now be able to log in.
Please keep in mind that you’ll no longer be able to update your name from your settings. If you need to change your name in the future (ex: you get married), please fill out this form:
You can also list another name (ex: nickname, maiden name) on your profile along with your authentic name. Learn more about other names in the Help Center:
View updates from your support dashboard: _____________
(Ironically, Flynt didn’t give me his last name so I could verify who he really is.)
So, they did not demand the government-issued ID they wanted to begin with. But, not only did they change my name to the name I stated would put my family in potential danger, but they made it so, if I kept the account, I would have to grovel to someone else to change my name, and they REINSTATED my account that I wanted shut down anyway.
Facebook is monitoring all of us, and they DO NOT CARE about YOUR safety OR what kind of experience you have.
Do we want to be a part of a system that doesn’t care about not only us, but our friends and family… people who may desperately want to stay connected with their loved ones, but need a safe haven to do so? Do we want to be a part of a social network that endangers everyone who uses it?