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Everything starts with a single step by a single person. Today I took one of those steps because I needed to take some concrete, if tiny, action to say, "Screw you!" to the NSA. I had to because it makes me crazy to think of the trillions we are wasting feeding the bloody beast that is our military/intelligence complex. But mostly I had to because I think the only way American government will ever listen to the People is to make American companies feel revenue pain. So today I deleted my Facebook account. Today Facebook took a hit of $4.39 because it lost me. [BAM!! Take that, bitches!] That's according to Liz Gannes in a 2012 blog post: http://allthingsd.com/...

With $3.71 billion in revenue spread across 2011’s users, that gives a rough total of $4.39 in revenue per user per year.
BFD, right? Maybe, but hear me out a bit please and if you might also be inclined, I'll tell you how to do it with the least amount of pain.

I have a very large family, being one of ten kids. That means I have gobs of nieces and nephews. I also live apart from the rest of my family, and have my entire adult life. I've also lived 9 years or more in four different states each, from coast to coast. Keeping up with friendly colleagues and other friends is a challenge. I am not especially gregarious either, so I've few local friends. Facebook was my social lifeline (I know how sad that is). Just last week I was able to see pictures of two chubby brand new Grand nieces and revel in shared joy of my newly-minted Grandpa and Grandma siblings. So unplugging from my web of 240 "friends" and family, was no small matter for me socially.

But all that news was also shared with countless private contractors sitting behind monitors at my tax expense. Do they really care about this stuff? Probably not (the IRS, yes maybe), but the fact is they can and do and now all that information is tucked away in some NSA fusion center. Sure Facebook has it, but we authorized that, for better or for worse. No one asked me if I cared if the government stored it too, and at my expense. How about my online banking records? Does anyone here doubt that also falls under the "business records" provision of the Patriot Act? Etc. ad nauseum.

And it's all done in our name, ostensibly to "keep us safe." I'm not that naive though. I grew up in Northern Virginia and a large subset of my family lives very well serving the intelligence state, either directly in the employ of a certain agency or working for one of the thousands of "defense" (isn't it time to admit, we have a Department of Offense since the advent of Bush's preemptive war doctrine as policy, to say nothing of algorithm-driven extra-judicial -- how antiseptic -- drone killings under a D president) contractors. All these programs are only cover for the private sector war machine to siphon off money from public health, education and critical national infrastructure.

So I did it, I deleted my 6 year old Facebook account even if it's only my little tree falling in the forest for no one, save the NSA, to hear. But you can join me and do it too and pretty soon that $4.39 will be $43.90 or $439 million. Maybe it'll add up enough over time to convince Facebook to pay their lobbyists to tell the senators from Google and Apple to tell their friends, Senator Monsanto and Senator SAIC at Congress, LLC. to badger the White House, Inc. and co-author a bill until the cynically-named Patriot Act is repealed. (It's an open question though if the odious Koch-coddling RATS -- Roberts, Alito, Thomas and Scalia -- dBa the U.S. Supreme Court, will tolerate it though.)

But before you delete, maybe you, like me, might not want to lose all that info. And since the NSA won't give you permission to retrieve from its drives, here's how you can do it yourself, courtesy of Facebook itself:

How can I download my information from Facebook?

You can download your information from the Account Settings page.
1.    Click at the top right of any Facebook page and select Account Settings
2.    Click General in the left-hand column
3.    Click on "Download a copy of your Facebook data"
4.    Click Start My Archive

Because this download contains your timeline information, you should keep it secure and be careful when storing [NOTE from diarist: Just as the NSA does!], sending or uploading it to any other services.

Okay, now that you've done that are you ready for the really brave step? First, I suggest you make one final status post. Make it bland or pithy or snarky, but let folks know what you are doing why. (Don't be afraid of the consequences, you won't be able to read them anyway!)

Here's how you actually delete, once again the instructions come from Facebook:

How do I permanently delete my account?

If you deactivate your account, your timeline disappears from the Facebook service immediately. People on Facebook won't be able to search for you, though some info, like messages you sent, may still be visible to others [NOTE from diarist: Oh, the irony. There is just too much double entendre here.]. We also save your timeline information (ex: friends, photos, interests, etc.) in case you want to come back.

If you don't think you'll use Facebook again, you can request [NOTE from diarist: It's a REQUEST mind you, since Facebook owns your content, you DO know that, right?] to have your account permanently deleted. Please keep in mind that you won't be able to reactivate your account or retrieve anything you've added. Before you do this, you may want to download a copy of your info from Facebook. Then, if you'd like your account permanently deleted with no option for recovery, log into your account and fill out this form. [NOTE from diarist: I found they only asked for my password and then I had to manually key the displayed crazy characters to prove I was human.]

If you can't log in to your account, you'll need to reset your password first. To do this, go to www.facebook.com and click the Forgot your password [NOTE from diarist: Or ask the folks over at Booz Allen]? link below the password field. Once you’ve followed the instructions to reset your password and can log into your account, you can deactivate or delete your account using the steps outlined above.

Don't forget to delete the app from your mobile phone too.

There, you too are now a little more free and have added your little step to mine. Thank you.

P.S. -- I'd better call Mom this weekend, so don't forget to remind me.

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