Our columnist Steve Tucker casts his eye over today’s news, and how to cope with the future – as only he can!
Like millions of other Facebook users I am now worried Vladimir Putin knows that, if I was a Muppet, I would be Fozzie Bear. Revelations linked to British firm Cambridge Analytica have indeed been sobering. Apparently they influenced the American election by using stolen data, complicated algorithms and recognising the fact Americans are pretty stupid anyway.
It is a situation that has forced Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to issue a contrite statement from his solid gold yacht in the Caribbean. Zuckerberg is upset about the leaked data and even more upset everyone found out about it, and he has been left even more dismayed by the fact that a cute picture of his daschund, Snaggletooth, only got three likes this week and one of them was from his mum which, as seasoned users of the social media site will tell you, does not really count.
Your mum is duty bound to ‘like’ everything you put on Facebook, even posts that read: “Sooty has been crushed by a bin lorry and I don’t think I can go on any more”.
Now for old-timers like myself Facebook has really been the ‘go to’ social media outlet since the idea was first stolen from someone else way back when. Indeed I sometimes struggle to remember what I did before Facebook, enjoy myself probably, but that is not really the point.
Young people of course will tell you that Facebook is already passe. Millennials are more likely to use Snapchat or gratuitoussexinthelocalparkaft
Facebook is reassuring in that what you post is only shared with your friends and the FBI. These friends can be family members, people at work, casual acquaintances or really hot women from the Ukraine who messaged you out of the blue one day, but who you remain convinced you would get along with fine, if you knew who the hell they were.
Personally I like to use it to keep up to date with the latest trends in music so I can scoff at them, but that’s just a personal preference.
You can use Facebook for lots of stuff like showing off you are at the gym at 6am even though everyone thinks you are an idiot, telling your partner you love them more than the stars above even though it makes everyone vomit and announcing you’ve got a new wonderful, highly-paid job even though that makes everyone want to kill you.
But one of the most enjoyable things to do on Facebook, apart from watching videos of dogs in hats, is to take personality quizzes which tell you and Chinese president Xi Jinping a great deal about yourself.
For example, by selecting your favourite colour or preferred place to commit a murder, you can find out exactly when you are going to have your next nervous breakdown. After answering a few simple questions recently I discovered which member of Theresa May’s cabinet I am: Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal, The Baroness Evans of Bowes Park apparently which sounds pretty cool particularly when it comes to jumping the queue at Matalan.
When it comes to which Downton Abbey character I should be, it’s apparently Shreeves, the estate’s chief stoat throttler. Fascinating stuff.
But unfortunately all was not what it seemed. As we idly did those tests and posted the results online so our friends could remark something like: “No way is he Shreeves, he hasn’t got the hands to throttle a stoat”, something much more nefarious was going on.
Our data was being harvested by shadowy individuals who used advanced computers to discover that, because my ideal dinner date is Anton off Strictly, I am therefore ripe to lead a coup d’etat in Nicaragua. Frightening. Little wonder all these dodgy shenanigans have shocked and worried a lot of users with many deciding they want to delete their Facebook account all together.
Naturally this is easier said than done, but if you are concerned the KGB is going to infiltrate your mate Gemma’s 18th, here is a simple guide to getting you and the endless photos of your dinner off Facebook for good:
*Go to your computer, obviously you can’t do it on your phone despite the fact you could probably launch intercontinental ballistic missiles off your phone if you so desired.
*Click on ‘settings’ and choose ‘options’ in the drop down.
*Strip naked and put on scarlet robes with a hood. Build a great bonfire in your back garden and sacrifice your first born child. Dance around the fire until your neighbour tells you to shut the hell up because they can’t hear Coronation Street.
*Sit down and have a cry.
*Press ‘delete account’ and wait for a clear connection with the International Space Station.
*Spin round three times and spit on the floor.
*Hit return and wave goodbye to whatever social life you once enjoyed.
*Wait for Mark Zuckerberg to come round your house with a basket of muffins begging you to come back.