Eric Kim at PetaPixel nicely articulates a lot of the arguments which I’ve come to accept. I am moving away from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all similar cloud services that monetize my behavior, because you can only trust most rational actors to one thing: act in their interests. Only when other’s interest align with yours can you have a symbiotic relationship. Here are some of his reasons that he no longer trusts “the cloud” and Flickr in particular:
… [A]ny of these companies have the power (and right) to change any of their terms and conditions at any time. If tomorrow Yahoo announced that they are shutting down Flickr, there is nothing we can do about it.
And this has happened time and time again, with a very recent and prominent example amongst developers being the shuttering of Parse. It’s like Darth Vader said to Lando Calrissian, “I am altering the deal, pray I do not alter it further.” But asides from making money from you in the future, there’s the possible of making money on you in the future:
… Facebook and Google sell your personal data to advertising companies in exchange for their “free” services. And now it’s getting pretty creepy: the Google Adsense banner advertisements I get on my smartphone are hyper-targeted to me based on my Amazon and Google browsing habits.
While it’s not perfectly applicable, the aphorism that “if you’re not paying, you’re the product” expresses the truth here. And it’s only going to get worse. Facebook and Google have had a long time to collect data and have yet to discover all the ways to monetize it, and even if you (foolishly) trust Facebook or Google today,you cannot guarantee that they won’t be bought by some bad actor in the future, perhaps an insurance company searching for reasons to deny paying your medical bills, or a bank looking for reasons to deny you a loan, etc. You may think I sound, well, here’s the next bit I found enlightening:
… [B]e uber paranoid about your digital data. Constantly backup your data on the cloud, external hard drives, CDs, whatever. The question isn’t whether your hard drive will crash or not, the question is when your hard drive will crash.
I think the biggest application of this for most people in my experience is photos on Facebook. Be paranoid that Facebook will delete them, and instead of going there to enjoy them, download them, store them on your own hard drive, and back them up, because you cannot know that they’ll always be there.