I Have to Get Facebook for College...

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?

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).

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

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.

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.

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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.

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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?

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.

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.

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.

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Anyone know any Firefox extension so keep Facebook from tracking me? I use a private window but i really HATE this website.

@Siddhi In my firefox browser I’ve been using privacy respecting Duck Duck Go search engine with firefox optional tracker blocker extension of Privacy Badger. Maybe you can add to the mix ad blocker UBlock Origin. And anyone who are tech savvy probably can give their own suggestion.

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I wrote a large response to the whole general sentiment of getting off Facebook and how I don’t agree with some of it, but it got off topic so I’ll post that on its own. Now the actual response to what you posted.

I think as long as you block trackers and don’t install their 1st party apps you can feel safe using Facebook to whatever extend you decide.

I personally use Firefox with uBlock Origin on my computer or Brave browser + blokada on my android phone, both are set it and forget it type apps, once you install that’s it.

But yeah, there shouldn’t be a stigma to never use social media, especially among tech people. Quitting tech shouldn’t (and isn’t) be the default solution to solve the problems tech caused in the first place.

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I had and have most of the time not very positive experience with regards to facebook. The curated image of people as if they are living in a perfect world creates psychological depression and anxiety to many. The addictive design, the hate speech, the fake news, disinformation, misinformation, the disturbing image that crop up from time to time doesn’t help either. The stress it creates to most us is amazing, its really visceral and you can really feel it. And now its clear to me the psychological, physiological, political and social harms that fb unintended and intended consequences. I stay clear from facebook if possible I am just using it for communicating with love ones. But if possible i prefer face to face interaction with the focus on relationship, experience and soul care. In addition one of the main reasons I am still using facebook because I would like to experience the facebook experience. I will be deleting my account in the near future.

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I still have Instagram (basically the same thing ik). Everything about the facebook website itself (the format, the structure, the notifications) just itritates me.

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There are already the Multi-Account Containers feature you can use in Firefox, but specifically for FB there is the Facebook Account Container. In addition - as said - use uBlock Origin and/or Privacy Badger.

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i got death threats on fb from strangers (trolls?) and ran out of reasons to stay there so deactivated. I had under 500 friends, maybe spoke to 10 in real life past five years, mostly family. I feel so clean and much better away from it! Has been two or three years, I left after they were breached a few times back to back and bought whatsapp :’(

Also in addition to what is said here about privacy on firefox maybe turn off webrtc and not use ISP DNS or google dns or opendns or any snitch one. There are privacy conscious ones.

WebRTC implement STUN (Session Traversal Utilities for Nat), a protocol that allows to discover the public IP address.

But most people are tracked by their routers tbh.

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That is really horrible, I can’t believe tht happened to you. Thank you for the advice.

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Thank you that is nice to say and makes me feel better, you’re nice.

I used facebook not to follow athletes and other vacuous idols but to stay in touch and hear the latest from hero’s of mine who use it to publish, Simon Deng, Bridgette Gabriel, Dr. Phyllis Chesler, the late Dr. Barry Rubin, Masih Alinejad, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Mossab Hassan Yousef, Diala Khalife, Nonnie Darwish, many more dissenters and other people who say true and unpopular things to people who want to cut off heads through the facebook screen. I see absorbing a death threat from liking their content as a badge of honor, imagine what they go through on the daily.

Masih Alinejad as one example has a page called my stealthy freedom where persian girls dare to defy the immorality police and remove headscarf in public in front of monuments and places you know its iran and take a selfie. They risk their lives doing this, its crazyness, same tough guys threaten me over the internet who want to hurt their own ladies smh.