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Op-Ed: Facebook Status update: Goodbye

(Martina Ibanez-Baldor / Los Angeles Times)

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What’s on your mind, Robin?

FB friends, I’m not feeling as optimistic as Mark Zuckerberg about his company’s ability to rein in “bad actors” and restrict APIs to prevent my personal neuroses from falling into the hands of Russians or Republican data mining firms. Zuck says his top priority has always been “connecting people,” but too much connection is what got us here in the first place. I’ll be in touch via Message.

New Message: Hi. I’m sure you’ve read about how Cambridge Analytica grabbed data on 71 million Americans for use during the 2016 election. This has been a wake-up call for me, and as a result I am deleting all FB-connected apps, paring back my posts and limiting my network to immediate family and intimate friends. This may be the last you see of me on this platform, but of course I don’t want to lose contact entirely, and should you ever need to reach me, you can find me the old-fashioned way, at ------@---.com

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New Message: Hi. I wanted you to know that because of my data privacy concerns, I have decided to limit my Facebook connections. I want you to know that this is nothing against you and your nonstop posting of histrionic articles from _______.

New Group Message: Hi. Because Facebook has been so unreliable about how they’ve handled data privacy, I’ve concluded I must stringently limit access to my own profile. Everyone I know from working at ____ ? Gone. Including you. Sorry, but I hated working there and you all remind me of the worst period of my life anyway.

New Group Message: Hi _____ High School Class of 19__. I suspect most of you have hidden me from your news feed long ago either because of my “California lifestyle” or my Instagram posts of 150 postcards to Trump. That’s fine. That’s why I moved away from _____. I’m unfriending you here, but will be happy to drink with you at the reunion in June.

New Message: Hi. I know we take yoga together on Mondays and Thursdays, but in light of recent news about the abuse of Facebook data, I’ve decided I don’t need your recipes for gluten-free smoothies after all.

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New Group Message: Hi. This whole data-scraping on Facebook has made me reassess who is able to access my personal data. I suspect that you are definitely the kind of person who has taken all sorts of dubious “personality” tests and doesn’t bother to adjusttheir privacy settings. I am unfriending you now. Bye.

New Message: Hi. I don’t actually know how I know you, but now I’m going to stop knowing you digitally too.

New Message: Hi. I doubt you’ll even see this. But maybe you lurk. So just in case: I’m unfriending you because of privacy stuff.

New Group Message: Hi. I read on Reddit that people who checked in at Crossfit are particular targets for data mining about their neuroses, so … good luck with that.

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New Message: I can’t believe you are still posting Bejeweled scores.

New Message: Hi. I have significantly cut back on whom I am friends with on social media. At this point you are my only Trump supporter “friend” left and I’m just going to make a clean sweep of it.

Robin Rauzi, a contributing editor to Opinion, runs the online nonfiction writing program Birds in a Barrel.

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinionand Facebook


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