I Have to Get Facebook for College...

privacy
advice

#1

As I am applying to colleges, I am realizing how Facebook-centered a lot of the communication for universities is. Introducing yourself to others, finding housing, and even buying textbooks all seem to require having a Facebook account. I have no desire to get one but I do not seem to have a choice if I want to stay in the loop. Anyone have any advice for working around this or moderating my use?


#2

That’s bad @Siddhi. If you really need to go on FB, you can at least ensure that it doesn’t collect most of your data. What you can do is install Firefox browser with Mozilla Facebook Container, which will separate FB traffic from your regular internet surfing to avoid data collection. Also install Privacy Badger in your browser for the same reason.

And to avoid getting distracted by Likes and such, you can install Facebook Demetricator and News Feed Eradicator.

(Note: all these tools came from awesome-humane-tech list, which I maintain. There may be more interesting stuff there).


#3

Thank you! I will do that and check out that list!


#4

I have a 12th grader applying to college and just want to confirm that the use of FB is endemic in colleges, and even in American high schools. For example, my child has been in her school’s play all through high school, amd each year a FB page is set up as the means for students and feacher/director to communicate/message/share info about the play. This is typical in US high schools, not an isolated incident, and foreshadows how FB is used by colleges/universities.


#5

May I suggest never install any Facebook (Instagram, Whatsapp) app. These will spy on you continually as well as steal all your hundreds of contacts from your phone and make copies. The apps also have ads you can’t remove.

Instead, use a browser (Safari or Firefox, not Chrome) with an ad and tracking blocker installed (such as the open-source uBlock origin). For mobile phones I suggest the Opera Mini browser or Firefox Focus with ad and tracking blocking turned on.

Also make sure that you visit Facebook in a private (incognito mode) only. This means you must log in each time, but it will prevent the company from tracking you across the web.

And finally, never like anything on Facebook. Likes are how Facebook learns what you like. I suggest using the “Social Book Post Manager” Chrome extension to delete all your Facebook posts, comments and likes – you can put it in automatic mode, and let it run by itself (there is a mode which will delete everything without confirming – use it). (You should delete Chrome as well when you’re done as it is a Google tracking tool.)

This way you can still use Facebook for uni, but then delete all your posts and comments after a few days so that they do not keep your life history forever. It is safest to delete everything!!! If you must use it, use it for communication, not to keep a record of your life.


#6

Thank you for the advice! I got Opera Touch on my phone and switched to Firefox on my computer with all the privacy settings on. I am going to avoid getting a Facebook as long as I can though.


#7

If you go to a public or state university they can’t require you to get a Facebook account to communicate. This invades your privacy and your future.

I would discreetly ask the deans I give what they think- or ask when board/regent meetings are so you can let them know your concerns. Maybe this will drive where you attend college?


#8

It is not a University requirement, but a social requirement. The student organizations on campuses, as well as those renting housing and searching for roommates, use Facebook to coordinate well…everything. Its a part of “college culture” which makes it that much harder to circumnavigate.


#9

well… I can see the predicament. Life can be complicated like this- if you don’t want to get an account- which is totally understandable I’d do massive research on Facebook- and what exactly facebook users give up by joining- privacy and the unknown about your information in other people’s hands years from now…

You could make this into a report or big project at school right now. That archived webtalk from ars technica in Oakland is an inspiring story of someone who took privacy seriously- he’s an important advocate today. It might be a refreshing question to hear from someone your age- “is there any way to announce these events another way? I don’t have a Facebook account and don’t plan on getting one”. The university is the place to have conversations on why- if they don’t understand, I’d wonder if it was the right place to study deep inside.


#10

Even in high school it is the same with Twitter. All events are announced via the Leadership Twitter account and I am constantly missing Senior Days and Spirit Weeks. It is annoying, but not annoying enough to make me get a twitter. According to my sister, Facebook Messenger is also in enormous use in colleges for clubs and student groups. Ugh. But I think doing research like you said will help me figure out how to proceed.