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Back on Face Blump

A couple weeks ago, Facebook kicked me off said I coudln't log in any more unless I gave them a phone number. I checked again on Tuesday, and saw that rather than demanding a phone number, they had instead deactivated my account. There was a link there that said "click me if you think your account was deactivated in error".

So I clicked on it and I got to a page on Facebook where I could provide alternate information instead of a phone number. For example, I could prove my identity by giving them a photo of my drivers license, or my passport, or my social security card, etc. They said "just cover up any information you think we don't need to know" but that was kind of hidden behind a "tell me more" link.

So anyway, I selected a document and sent them a jpg and they said I'd hear from them soon. I didn't hear from them so 48 hours later I tried logging in and my password worked. Their racket is, you give us more personal info or we cut you off. I honestly don't know whether the information I gave them was worth more or less than my personal telephone number. But they have it now. I feel weird about the whole episode.

It's not my data, essentially it's theirs. The 8 years I spent providing them with content, as well as being an involuntary market for their ads, meant nothing to them. I'm a number I'm a piece of marketing data to them. They guess my age and my gender and my location and my interests and they use this information to help companies decide which ads will garner the most clicks.

Comic transcript

After stunning the team with his revelation that he was an F.B.I. agent, and listening to the team captain's angry outburst, Crimebuster settles back on the couch at the lacrosse team's off-campus house. He looks at the men accused of raping a black woman, and says, in answer, "I was reading the crime report and a couple things seemed weird to me. I'd like to get your side of the story."

Again, the team looks to their captain, #41, who replies "Well, Chuck, we're doing our best to comply with law enforcement, but a couple of the guys' parents are asking us to get lawyers now."

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