Here’s why you need a second account. Always.

Fred Showker
Sep 13, 2018 · 3 min read

I opened my Medium feed in email this morning and was quite taken by this sincere article written by Jackson Cunningham. Jackson wrote:

A few months ago, I received a cryptic message from AirBnB that sounded like something straight out of that Black Mirror episode with Jon Hamm.

AirBnB had blocked his account, forever, no recourse, no argument and no further discussion. Period. Dead. Obviously Mr. Cunningham had not read Future Crimes, and has forgotten the cardinal rules of the web. This well put phrase prompted me to write this response:

We’re becoming increasingly dependent on a handful of major tech giants to get through our basic daily routine. Imagine waking up one day and no longer being able to check your Gmail, buy things on Amazon, or book an Uber.

Here’s why we always advocate a second account.

Since the early days of Compuserve and bitnet, I have advocated a CYA attitude toward the technology industry. By now, everyone should already know, or may have already forgotten these simple, undeniable facts about big technology:

  1. You know they cannot be trusted! If they could, they would not be hiding.
  2. You know they will do most anything for a buck. We have proven numerous times that they will even engage in cyber crime!
  3. You know you mean nothing to them. They are so huge that you, the individual user, means nothing to them. Nothing. Probably one hundred thousand users mean nothing to them.
  4. You know they are fully automated. In order to eliminate employees, their automated engines handle everything. Usually you cannot even find a human or any way to contact one.
  5. You know you signed away all rights when you click the “agree” button. You clicked that button and had no idea what you agreed to.
  6. You know they are untouchable. There’s not an attorney nor judge on this planet who will go up against the giants. If you find one, let me know.

As early builders of ALpe, eWorld and America Online communities, we established the top two cardinal rules of the internet. Oddly enough nobody remembers or cares or observes those rules. Now it’s commonplace for people to get impaled by technology.

ONE: Nothing is secure online. NOTHING. Have no expectations of privacy or security on the internet.

TWO: The web never forgets. Never put anything online that you don’t want showing up on a million monitors. You cannot take it back. It will come back to haunt you in the future.

Go get another account or two

If you are serious about letting the technology industry run your life, then get TWO accounts. Go get another, or a third Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon, eBay, Tumblr, Instagram, and yes VRBO along with any other online service you use. IF Mr. Cunningham had two accounts he probably would not have written his article. He’d simply start using that account, and set up a third. NEVER think you will not get dumped or locked out sooner or later. Simple.

Get a second account. You will thank me later.

READ : Digital Exile: How I Got Banned for Life from AirBnB

READ : Future Crimes: Inside the Digital Underground and the Battle for Our Connected World by Marc Goodman

Fred Showker

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Design, Typography & Graphics Magazine and 60-Seconds exploring technology since 1987

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Fred Showker on design, graphics, tech and media, since 1987

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