There has been a lot of critical discussion of Facebook recently, especially because of large amounts of user information that were obtained by right-wing electoral consultation firm Cambridge Analytica.
However, the problems with Facebook go much deeper than this most recent scandal. The Cambridge Analytica incident was not an aberration or leak so much as a partnership compatible with one of the most foundational functions of Facebook: to collect and categorize information about individuals and groups, and use the access to this data to make money. There are many forms that this surveillance and data collection can take: from the use of analytics for targeting advertisements, to the turning over of your private information to the police and other state institutions. Facebook is not the only company making money through this kind of surveillance, but they have taken a leading role in making the corporate internet operate more in this way.
Statistics released by Facebook for 2017 show that the social network complied with 85% of requests for user data made by law enforcement in Canada. For activists organizing using the social network, non-status individuals needing to keep their addresses private, or any other reason one may want to keep their personal information out of the hands of the police, using Facebook can present a huge risk.
In 2009 Koumbit joined Facebook for the first time, seeing it as one among many ways that we could improve our communications and visibility on the internet and in the communities and networks where we are active. In the time since, we've never been very active on the social media network, much preferring to keep our communications with clients and community groups whose work we support private and secure.
At Koumbit we work together on building and maintaining autonomous internet services, according to our values of horizontality, freedom and solidarity. Important tenets of these values include respect for privacy and freedom of expression, as well as Transparency and the free exchange of information. We find that these values are in direct contradiction with the way that Facebook operates, and the direction it is attempting to push social media and the internet as a whole.
It is for these reasons that we have decided to permanently delete our Facebook account and page, and encourage everyone who can to do the same. Though Facebook does not provide a path to permanently delete your account in the settings (instead only offering the option to deactivate it), you can click the following link: https://www.facebook.com/help/delete_account to delete it right now!
You can continue to reach us at : Koumbit.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 514-907-9494, or by stopping by 1883, rue Amherst, Montréal, H2L 3L7