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  • Writer's pictureLucy Atherton

Should I Delete Facebook?

Some of you may have joined the #deletefacebook campaign, a few might even have taken the big step and actually done it (which is not as easy as you would think, Facebook much prefers 'deactivation' which inevitably leaves a door wide open for 'reactivation'.) We've all been a bit alarmed by the Cambridge Analytica controversy and its alleged misuse of millions of Facebook users' data.

But if you're outraged that Facebook could be tracking your life in this way, take a minute to consider that, while you might think you are getting a marvellous free service which allows you to link with friends and business colleagues, it's actually run by a hugely profitable mega business and none of it is really free. Like commercial tv, you have to put up with a bit of selling while watching 'I'm a Celebrity' or it would never get made.

Data mining for political or nefarious means, however, is a different story and let's hope Facebook gets called out on this if it turns out to be true. Even then, I won’t be deleting my profile, as I am prepared to sacrifice a bit of privacy for the connections it brings to my work and personal life.

However, you can avoid being data mined if you take some sensible precautions.

Here are a few of my suggestions.

Don't be tempted. There is no car.

Source: Hoax Slayer

Avoid: ‘IQ’ tests, name tests, “what fruit best suits your personality” tests and any “which celebrity do you resemble” type nonsense, or indeed any app that asks to access your photos. The one where you are re-done to look like a Vogue cover was so good even I did it, but there will ultimately be a price to pay for my vanity.

Don’t: share rubbish competitions for Range Rovers, implausibly large caravans, airline tickets or Aldi vouchers. Every time you do this, the rogues behind them have access to your details and before you know it your account has been hacked and all your friends are being offered to take part in a Ray Ban sale.

Ignore: ‘tag a friend if’ public posts, fakey news from dubious sources and friend requests from retired US military personnel with only two friends who are obviously Nigerian. It's flattering, he looks gorgeous in the photo, but stay firm - resist.

Ensure: your privacy settings are tight, you conduct regular friend audits and that all your posts are set to 'friends only'. Avoid egg heads who lurk on the site never posting or liking, just, er lurking. Not necessarily a security risk but, damn, they are creepy.

Lots of clients have said to me: "but I've already done all this, it's too late. And that Navy colonel was a fox." No it's not, you can go into your security settings and delete these apps to stop them running in the background and taking more of your precious data. And avoid the silver fox, he just wants to you to open a bank account for him in Lagos to fund his poor orphan niece's sex change operation.

Ultimately, being on Facebook is a Faustian bargain, but if you follow a few simple rules and apply some common sense you should be ok. Keep Facebooking on.


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