Monday, May 31, 2010

Will people quit Facebook today?

MANILA, Philippines - Days ago, creative web technologist Joseph Dee and systems designer Matthew Milan of Toronto, Canada asked Facebook users to dump the social networking service, citing privacy concerns.

They created a website, which declared May 31 as "Quit Facebook Day" and provided alternatives to the popular social networking site, such as Twitter or Flickr.

"If you agree that Facebook doesn't respect you, your personal data or the future of the web, you may want to join us," the website read.

A screenshot of the Facebook login page.

Facebook was recently hit for its so-called confusing system for setting privacy safeguards, which made it possible for unwanted users to gain a wealth of information about the social networking site's members. (Read full article here)

In response to this, chief executive Mark Zuckerburg promised to "roll out changes" over the coming weeks to prevent personal information from being accessed by others.

Quitting 'not easy'

Dee and Milan are out to convince the world that Facebook should no longer be patronized.

They admitted, however, that giving up the service will prove to be a difficult task.

"Facebook is engaging, enjoyable, and quite frankly, addictive. Quitting something like Facebook is like quitting smoking. It's hard to stay on the wagon long enough to actually change your habits," they said in the "Quit Facebook Day" website.

And they're right. The "Quit Facebook Day" website looms as a worldwide flop, with only 25,475 users vowing to deactivate their accounts as of 12:00 p.m. on May 31.

The figure is just over 0.006% of the social network's estimated 400 million members.

Just recently, data released by Google showed that Facebook is "king of Internet visits" with about 570 billion pages viewed monthly. This is more than 8 times as many pages viewed each month at, Google said.

Some Pinoys won't give up Facebook

In the Philippines, it seems that Facebook is also a hard habit to break. posted the question "Would issues about Facebook's privacy policies make you quit Facebook?" in its official Facebook page on Monday morning, and to date, only 3 members (out of more than 20 users who gave their comments) said "yes."

Most of them said it's the Facebook user's responsibility to be careful about what they post, and to hide things that they don't want other people to see.

"No, the problem here is not Facebook. People should really pore over and go around to learn more about the privacy settings, madali lang naman (it's just easy)," said Famela Bayawa.

"No, because I do believe if you're wise enough, no matter how tight the security of Facebook is, you would not put important or very sensitive items in your account," added Danilo Cruz.

Still effective

Although it looks like Facebook is here to stay for a long time, Dee and Milan still have a reason to celebrate.

The "Quit Facebook Day" campaign, although it didn't rake in as much "quitters," was effective -- it made headlines and gave a wake-up call not only to Zuckerburg but also to creators of other social networking sites.

At the end of the day, the website was about making the web an "open, safe and human place."

And with Zuckerburg working double time to ensure that Facebook gets back on track, it looks like the "Quit Facebook Day" page has served its purpose.

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