Seriously though – delete the Facebook App from your phone.
(This may not seem directly crypto-related... but it's actualy quite closely connected. If you don't see the linkage, I invite you to do some research on Monero which appreciates the need for privacy.)
I’m not telling you to not use Facebook. If you want to keep using it, by all means keep doing so on your desktops/laptops. If it doesn’t bother you that they mine you for data, track all your activity on the internet (and physical locations), filter your news-feeds so you only see the censored content they deem appropriate – then by all means go ahead (but if you want more reasons to ditch it altogether, check this out. Never mind that you might actually find more time to do other neat things... like engaging with the real world and stop exposing yourself to ridiculous, unrealistic and unhealthy depictions of reality).
But seriously, delete the App from your phone.
Why now? Well, if after this week’s Snowden revelations don’t convince you, I’m not sure what else to say. So let’s recap what we know about Facebook and their App.
1) Facebook, like other big internet companies, has deep connections to the U.S. spy and surveillance community. In what’s now old news, it’s clear to anyone who stops to think with a clear head that (at the very least) if Facebook has the data, so too do the spy agencies.
2) This week, the Intercept released information that the NSA had basically perfected not only voice transcription, but also voice recognition algorithms… ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO. In other words, they can not only listen to a conversation, but write it down word-for-word with the identities of all the speakers. You can only guess how much more advanced it’s gotten by now.
3) Facebook has been surreptitiously recording user conversations on their smartphones (through the phone app) since at least around 2014. (when you agree to the Terms & Conditions, you give them the right to do it whenever they want). Even when you have the app turned off. It doesn’t matter. They are listening. Yes, that’s why you ‘suddenly’ noticed advertisements for snorkelling gear when all you did was have a chat with a friend about snorkelling. They are listening, and using that information.
But now let’s put it all together, and see what you as a Facebook (phone) user can expect to be happening:
When you have your phone anywhere within earshot (in your pocket will do), it’s reasonable to expect that full transcription of ALL your conversations are being recorded, along with the statements and identities of anyone you’re talking to. The conversations would be scanned, analyzed and stored – not just for ‘marketing purposes’ and residing on Facebook servers, but on NSA servers where true to form of any spy agency, dossiers are no doubt being collected on all people – with flags thrown for any reason they deem fit, and with a fantastic ability to keyword search any/all conversations indefinitely.
When you have Facebook on your phone, not only are you compromising your own privacy, security, and liberty – but you are potentially doing the same for anyone and everyone within earshot around you.
Unfortunately, even writing this article is something of a Catch-22. People realizing that they are more-and-more being spied upon can have a chilling effect on free-speech as people increasingly self-censor themselves... especially as they realize that they may be surrounded by 'unwitting spy-agency accomplices'. But the downside of not making people aware at all are, I think, worse. Awareness is required if we are to evolve. There's no free lunch.
Friends don’t help spy agencies spy on Friends.