Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A Facebook Block Is Not an Invisibility Suit

Finally having left Santa Barbara, I purged Facebook of various Santa Barbara-centric groups that served only to litter my email inbox with invites to various terrible concerts. Not all bad, of course, but mostly, yes, terrible, terrible. Invitations basically amounted to “Hey, come to Isla Vista and see a band that’s made up of, like, twelve fifteen-year-olds and they all play three instruments, sometimes at once, and if you did go you’d just feel old because your DNA has made fashionable hair an impossibility for you. Opening bands include Toy Piano Peony Parade, Astrid and the Astrogliders, Twee Penis, and Flintheart Glomgold (which used to be Launchpad McQuack but they had to change it because of Scott Pilgrim). All ages. No booze.” If you attended UCSB in the last ten years, you should know exactly who I’m talking about.

But in attempting the purge, I found that I wasn’t even a member of some of the offending groups, only friends with some of the people promoting these shows. So to ensure that I never have to waste valuable seconds deleting emails about these concerts that I never go to anymore, I decided to bypass Facebook’s labyrinth of privacy and notification options and just block the fuckers. Done and done.

That’s when I found that Facebook gives an unusual disclaimer:

(highlighting by drew)

Okay, fine, good to point out that these folks may still contact you via roundabout Facebook methods, but REALLY? It “does not extend elsewhere on the internet”? Shocker — both because Facebook is the only thing I use the internet for and because I honestly thought Facebook owned the internet and would just magically remove all evidence of me from this person’s computer.

If a I believed that blocking someone on Facebook would completely prevent that person from contacting me or that person having some awareness of my activities anywhere online, I would be better off donating my computer to deserving elementary school students. Because I could probably get all the information I need from, let’s say, the last hour of The Today Show, pamphlets handed out on street corners, and Christmas letters. Of course, Facebook has to tell us this for a reason, much in the same way the makers of those supplements that allegedly prevent hangovers must print on the packaging that the product will not prevent you from getting drunk, will not nullify the effects of narcotics and will not function as an STD blocker or contraceptive unless you save the bag it came in and stuff it into an orifice. And then it will also have to say “Please do not do this with your bag.”

As you read this, I’m busy not getting an email about a once-in-a-lifetime free show featuring Andrew Bird, whose tour bus broke down in Isla Vista and who has decided to spend the next three days playing for any and all and frequently writing songs about the people in the audience.

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