Facebook would like users to trust them with their friends and contacts, photos, private communications, business dealings and more. I ask: what have they done to earn this trust? The answer is very little.
For a long time, I was reluctant to link this blog to Facebook, even though the option has been available for some time. Facebook and Google's Big Brother way of taking over choices and decisions has left me highly suspicious. I already have a personal Facebook account that I have devoted ample time to. But I'm reluctant to devote any more time toward projects that will come under the umbrella of these two companies due to their sheer unaccountability. Facebook can freeze an account at any time for any reason whatsoever and it is accountable to no one- no clear guidelines have been established, no official appeals bodies, no system of openness or checks and balances. The same is true of Google services such as Adsense and Google Plus. Both companies have already shown their ability to punish users for actions as frivolous as publishing under a pseudonym or posting a video of the Buzzcocks.
After giving my blog a major facelift and making slight changes to the URL, I decided to incorporate it with Facebook in order to take better advantage of Facebook's sharing and commenting capabilities. Facebook reached out and grabbed like a vortex. After clicking through the appropriate linking buttons on my Typepad account, I was surprised to discover that Facebook had created a new "Page" for me. This new page was called the name of my blog, in its rough draft at that stage: "New Breningstall.com." The problem of course is that this is not the name of my blog. How to change this? Unlike Yahoo, Typepad and other major web companies, Facebook does not offer help tickets. If you've encountered a problem, they like you to believe as far as possible that you're on your own. I did search through the FAQ page and found a guide dealing with the precise problem I've encountered. This guide states that I can change the name by either altering "basic information" or deleting and recreating the account. Neither solution works. When I go into "manage" and "edit profile," no "basic information" appears. If I delete the account, which I have tried several times, I get the dire Facebook warning: this account will be permanently erased forever. Then when I try to recreate it, the bad account rises up from the dead, with the same false name, even though the working name of the blog has been changed to its permanent title by now and "New Breningstall.com" does not appear anywhere on the site- clearly Facebook is lying when it states the account is being deleted.
For me, this is simply a huge amount of hassle. For someone whose business model depended on Facebook integration, this could be even more worrisome. Time and time again, Facebook has set a precedent of being unresponsive to its users needs. The question is when will the public ask them for accountability.