Practical Technology

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Is there a replacement for Facebook?

Facebook claims to have more than 400 million active users. In fact, according to Web analytics firm Alexa, only Google is a more popular site. So, with all that going for it, why are so many users unhappy, with one poll showing that more than half of Facebook users are thinking about leaving?

The one-word answer: privacy. By default, Facebook has made almost everything on your account open to the world. You can lock down your Facebook account, but it’s a tedious process.

New tools unveiled this week are designed to make this easier, but the next time Facebook changes its policies and system, you may need to do it all over again. There are also external tools that can check out just how secure your account is, but again, when Facebook changes its software, they may not work.

Last Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg finally admitted that Facebook has made some mistakes. Some users are staying put despite their distrust of the company. But others think it’s too little too late and are talking loudly about leaving. There’s even a group that has announced that May 31 is Quit Facebook Day.

Will a significant percentage of Facebook users actually leave? No matter its faults, Facebook has a huge user base, and those users, in turn, have all their friends on the service, all their photos and, yes, even all their Farmville farms. Will that many people really want to abandon Facebook and start all over with a new platform?

They have before.

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