The Bruce Masters Column

Thanks anyway, Facebook, but no thanks – by Bruce Masters

Thanks anyway, Facebook, but no thanks – by Bruce Masters

‘Get yourself on Facebook,’ they said; ‘You will love it,’ they said—they were wrong…

There are many bad (and some good) things about the Facebook social media platform that I will cover below, mostly relating to privacy, freedom and liberty; however, what ‘put me off’ Facebook most of all is its apparent pyramidal nature, in many ways it is the online embodiment of a pyramid scheme…

What am I talking about? Facebook brings people together, everyone is relaxed and at ease and just chilling out and communicating, aren’t they?

Well, I have to say that I do not believe the statement above is anywhere near to the truth of the Facebook situation. People (I discovered after ‘test-driving’ Facebook for a couple of days) were more forced together than brought together and the pyramid thing, yes, well; if you have one million Facebook ‘friends’ you are indeed on the top of that blue pyramid whilst the majority of others (I observed) make ever more desperate attempts to increase their presence and reputation on the artificial social hangout.

Just before I deleted my account, a few days back, a disturbing thought came to the fore of my mind (damn empathy!): “What is sadder than people not liking you in the real world?—People not liking you in a fake/digital world…”

Beyond the social pressures created by the Facebook platform, the horror stories of bullying and the sharing of extremist and often disturbing (and criminal) content, it is Facebook’s blasé approach to security and privacy that made my decision to keep away from Facebook (despite it being a great tool for information distribution and thus wealth accumulation) a real easy one.

There are the data leaks … selling the personal details of Facebook users … interference in politics … issues and complaints in regards to tax evasion … the list goes on and is worrisome to a fellow who wants the internet to work for him without stress and worry, as a ‘tool’—when security and privacy interfere in one’s interactions with others, the fun, excitement and exuberance created by interconnectivity soon vanishes.

Just imagine visiting your friends at their home, but before they opened the door you had to enter a password into your phone and confirm your email address thrice for “Your safety and security”—the arrogance and bombastic nature of Facebook has clearly reached its zenith, and I do wonder why another site (perhaps called NotFaceBook) isn’t offering a simpler and more hassle-free social media experience. Perhaps they will be challenged for supremacy in the coming months and their monopoly will end, stranger and more unexpected things have happened, look who sits in the Oval Office today, for instance, few saw that result coming!

Why did I leave Facebook, after less than 72 hours?

For all of the reasons above, but there was a single incident that riled me enough to change my entire (planned) social media outreach, book publicity and book advertising, which would have seen me paying Facebook a large amount of cash.

It happened out of the blue. When they asked me for it. A photograph … of me … to prove to them (just some website, I’ve got a website,, but I would never think to demand photo ID for any reason!) that I am, in fact, Bruce Masters rather than, say, Sandra Rainsthorpe—whoever she may be.

bruce masters
Here is my ID Facebook

How do they know it is me? What kind of AI new era of surveillance have we freely submitted ourselves to and when was the vote?—Think I missed that one.

Did I send them the photo? No.

It would have been easier to simply acquiesce and do what the faceless and nameless website dialogue box was telling me to do, but despite the message informing me that my photo and/or private information would be protected and not shared with third parties, I just couldn’t take such a risk with a company with such a long record of leaks…

“Are you really that ugly?” I hear you ask. I am neither shy nor bashful around friends and loved ones and there is a part of my male ego that wants my photo associated with all of my published works of both fiction and non-fiction; it is not the content of the photo but the privacy problems it creates.

I guess that I have reduced my potential yearly income (due to not being able to use the Facebook platform) by thousands of dollars/pounds/euros if not hundreds of thousands, yet I am unmoved by such a loss, as privacy and freedom are invaluable.

Ask the queen how much she would pay to be able to take a walk in a public park or walk around a supermarket unaccompanied, ask Bono the same, President Trump, J.K. Rowling…

There are some who would willingly trade their freedom for cold, hard currency, and good luck to them I say, but I am that odd type of writer who prefers to create imaginary worlds whilst being able to continue comfortably living in this one.

Thanks anyway, Facebook, but no thanks.

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