A lot of ink has been spilled discussing Facebook’s recent woes and how they have abused the trust of their two billion members. But most of us either willingly or negligently hand over personal data to apps in a trade off between privacy and accessing apps, quizzes, content or other media that is distributed through Facebook. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has announced that he is leaving Facebook but that he would come back if he could pay for a more private Facebook experience.
In comments made to USA Today, Wozniak said “I was surprised to see how many categories for ads and how many advertisers I had to get rid of, one at a time. I did not feel that this is what people want done to them. Ads and spam are bad things these days and there are no controls over them. Or transparency”.
Since Wozniak turned off his account, Facebook has made it easier to bulk delete apps from your Facebook account.
Wozniak hasn’t completely erased his account. He’s most likely used the “Deactivate your account” option available from the “Manage Account” section of the Settings screen. That option retains your account but makes you far less visible on Facebook. One of the motivations for doing this, said Wozniak, was to ensure no-one squatted on his name if he completely removed his account.
That seems like sound advice to me.
But Wozniak’s comments about being prepared to pay for privacy are worth considering. Many people say that if you’re not paying for the product that you are the product. But would that equation change if you started paying for Facebook? How much would you be prepared to pay for annual access to a ad-free and tracking-free version of Facebook? $50 a year? $100?