[Mark Zuckerberg]: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don't know why.
Zuck: They "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb f--ks.
-- Current Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, c. 2004
Facebook, as a company, is no stranger to privacy breaches. Since 2003, roughly once or twice a year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised in one way or another for his or his company's mishandling of users' data. A Pew Survey from September of this past year shows that nearly half of Facebook users aged 18-29 have deleted the app from their phone, likely driven (at least in part) by Facebook's opaque, technically-you-asked-for-it, opt-out-by-default data collecting policies.
In spite of this, Facebook's membership numbers do not appear to be slowing down, with nearly one-third of all human beings on the planet now monthly active users. With developed countries all but completely locked in, Facebook is focusing on increasing membership in developing countries by offering services like Facebook Free Basics, a suite of Facebook-monitored apps which give users a small taste of the Internet -- Accuweather, BBC News, Bing search, and of course Facebook. All of this Internet traffic is routed through Facebook's servers, providing them even more of that sweet, sweet data. In some countries where Internet adoption was low before Facebook arrived, "the social network [has become] synonymous with the Internet itself".
Having been bombarded by "oops" after "oops" with regards to user privacy since I joined the social network in 2007, I finally took the plunge and deleted my account at the end of this past year. Since I have an Instagram and I still use WhatsApp, I'm sure that I have a shadow profile hanging around on Facebook's servers somewhere, but I can't bring myself to continue using Facebook itself. (Also Facebook facilitated genocide in Myanmar if you haven't heard about that yet.)
This all brings me to the main topic I'd like to discuss here. I still happily use Google and give them any information they ask for. Maybe they have a great PR team, maybe I'm a hypocrite, or maybe I'm ignorant (or maybe all three!). Facebook has never been shy about the fact that they (indirectly) sell your data in the form of targeted ads. More data = more ads = more revenue. Google, of course, does this as well, but they also use user data to improve their services.
Google has built the Android operating system, a Linux-based mobile OS which is now installed on 75% of all smartphones worldwide. Google Maps is six times as popular as its nearest competitors. GMail is currently neck and neck with iPhone Mail as the most popular email client.
All of these services are popular because they all work great. If I (badly) remember a few words of a song I heard in a pub last night, I can google it (a search engine so ubiquitous it was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in verb form in 2006) and quickly find that badly-remembered information. I can get walking (or driving, or real-time public transport) directions back to that pub to look for my wallet which I may or may not have forgotten. I can put a reminder in my calendar which syncs (along with all of my other information) to my PC to remind myself to cancel my credit card which is missing from my recovered wallet.
I guess what I'm saying is that I'm happy to give Google my information, provided that their services measurably improve my quality of life. With Facebook, all I felt that I was getting in return was a leaky social network with a spotty ethical record (and lots of awkward, confusing memes from my older relatives). Persuade me that I should drop Google and I will, but until then, flailing your arms and yelling "privacy" over and over won't convince me to drop Chrome, GMail, Google Maps, and Android.
(open source and trusted by devs everywhere ❤️)