An excellent article on CSOonline.com today gives you 10 reasons why you should quit Facebook, beginning with this one: "Your privacy is history." If you still need nine reasons other than that to quit, you're an addict.
Peer pressure compelled me to try Facebook a while back, but thankfully, I quit before I got hooked. I found it invasive, intrusive, annoying and a colossal waste of time, so I had no problem dumping it. If I hadn't, I hate to think how much more thoroughly violated I would have felt when I came across my unauthorized profile on Spokeo.com.
In case you're not familiar with it, Spokeo aggregates your personal information from a host of sources, notably social media Web sites, and presents it to anyone who searches on your name. To its credit, the site does have an easily accessible link to a privacy page that explains what it does:
Spokeo aggregates publicly available information from phone books, social networks, marketing surveys, real estate listings, business websites, and other public sources. Spokeo does not originate data or publish user-generated content like Facebook or MySpace. Rather, Spokeo indexes third-party data in ways similar to Google or Bing. Spokeo does not control or maintain any aggregated third-party data, and therefore cannot guarantee its accuracy or currentness. Spokeo does not publish any information for children under 18.
What Spokeo doesn't explain is what it considers "user-generated content." The profile it had on me, for example, included the photograph I use in my Twitter profile, and that was certainly user-generated. But what's really disturbing is the content that I didn't generate. My Spokeo profile, which I have removed, also included:
Removing my profile was easy-there's a mechanism on that same privacy page that enables you to remove your profile, although it forces you to provide your e-mail address to do it. No doubt they had my e-mail address on record, and used that for identity verification.
If you're a social media junkie, and even if you're not, take the time today to go to Spokeo.com and remove the profile they almost certainly have on you. And if you're on Facebook, go read that CSOonline.com article. It might just be the treatment you need to break your addiction.