This cartoon is an updated look at my original Facebook dogs, who kicked off Noise to Signal as the first cartoon under that name. And they are, of course, a reference/homage to Peter Steiner‘s iconic New Yorker cartoon.
This hasn’t been a good past few weeks for Facebook. Growing concerns over what Facebook’s deliberately doing to your privacy collided with news about what Facebook’s doing accidentally with your data.
There are two upcoming ways you can protest: by not logging in on June 6, or – if you’re ready to finally cut the umbilical cord – quitting altogether on May 31. So far, while they’re getting press attention, neither initiative is showing signs of snowballing yet, with registered followers numbering only in the hundreds.
That’s not to say the discontent is limited to net activists and privacy advocates. “How do I delete my Facebook account” is suddenly a very popular search on Google.
Which I actually find encouraging, and not because of hostility toward Facebook. (Not that I’m happy with its privacy practices, or its approach to the open Web, by which it seems to mainly mean a Web that’s open to driving data into Facebook. And not that I side with the “your-privacy’s-dead-anyway-so-shut-up” crowd, either.) If so many people are at least thinking of voting with their feet, then maybe there’s at least some awareness among regular users that our privacy, attention and data are all worth something. And maybe, just maybe, that awareness could coalesce into a market force that rewards openness and accountability, and punishes arbitrary, high-handed behaviour.
Otherwise, well, I likely won’t quit this year. But there’s always May 31, 2011.