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Application Security

6/1/2010
11:08 AM
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Quit Facebook Day A Bust

Fewer than 40,000 account holders, citing privacy and other concerns, pledged to drop the social networking site.

After weeks of anticipation and attention from bloggers and online pundits, Monday's Quit Facebook Day generated a paltry showing. Only 34,388 pledges by account holders promised to drop the social networking site -- about 0.00637% of Facebook's more than 540 million users worldwide.

Although relatively few quit Facebook, it was not because they forgot the date. Many people tweeted about the day, often poking fun at the concept in general.

"It's Quit Facebook Day? Gosh, it comes round so quickly doesn't it? I've not even got my decorations up," tweeted Mark Watson, a London-based comic and writer.

The movement, founded by technologist Joseph Dee and systems designer Matthew Milan, had 780 pledges on May 15. As of Tuesday morning, 6,937 people liked the "Quit Facebook Day" page on Facebook, compared with about 1,500 on May 17 -- but still a minute percentage of the universe of Facebook users estimated by Google.

"For a lot of people, quitting Facebook revolves around privacy. This is a legitimate concern, but we also think the privacy issue is just the symptom of a larger set of issues," wrote Milan and Dee. "The cumulative effects of what Facebook does now will not play out well in the future, and we care deeply about the future of the Web as an open, safe and human place. We just can't see Facebook's current direction being aligned with any positive future for the Web, so we're leaving."

It is unclear what, if any, effect this will have on FacebookProtest.com, scheduled for June 6. It has 1,979 followers on Twitter and 4,156 fans on Facebook and asks adherents to log out on June 5 and to refrain from connecting or clicking any "like" buttons on June 6, according to the site.

Last week, Facebook said it planned to roll out simplified privacy controls designed to give users more control over their information. Under the new plan, Facebook will provide one menu with three settings that determine whether content can be viewed by friends, friends of friends, or everyone. This setting will apply to past, present, or future content.

"Facebook's users have spoken and made it clear that they want control of their information," said Leslie Harris, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, in a statement. "Despite all rumors to the contrary, privacy is not dead, it is on its way to a comeback in the form of simplified controls and better policies. While more work still needs to be done, these changes are the building blocks for giving people what they want and deserve."

pledged to drop the social networking site.

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