There’s a new holiday out there. Quit Facebook Day is May 31.

There’s a new holiday out there.

Quit Facebook Day is May 31.

As revenge for Facebook’s sworn belief that anything they know should be something everyone knows, a pair of bloggers has created an off-Facebook group – complete with an e-mail reminder – to ditch their accounts on that day.

Facebook started in 2004 as a network for Harvard students, then they expanded to Boston schools, and more and more universities until it was pretty much universal. In the beginning, you had to belong to a verifiable network and use a school e-mail from the list of “in” schools. This also meant a “real” name, and that’s why Facebook – unlike MySpace or even many blogs – has so much personal information on it.

Facebook is big. Maybe that’s why every change it makes to its expansive privacy policy is so closely watched. Then again, maybe it’s because each change tends to set users’ information less private, even if they restricted it.

Facebook can’t keep a secret. Any information they get – whether from you or your friends – is carefully squirreled away so they can drag it out later. The site itself is a collection of all those weird moments you’ve had talking to friends and telling them a funny story, only on Facebook there’s a post, and a picture and maybe a fan group where everyone can like that video of Uncle Mike’s drunken attempts to balance a bowling ball on his nose.

Not that telling funny stories is a bad thing, but some stuff is just nobody else’s business. Facebook doesn’t make protecting your privacy easy, but it can be done. The trick with Facebook data is they don’t just share it with your friends, but those extra applications may be borrowing it, too.

How do you know just how much you’re sharing? Start by visiting Facebook and aiming for the account settings on the right hand side, four down is the privacy settings tab. Got it? Good.

Most important is the “instant personalization pilot program” that shares your data with third party programs – opt out. Applications and websites tab gives you a chance to kill out applications’ desire to “access my data when not using the application,” but that’s on the third tab over on each individual application.

Now there’s profile information where you determine what you tell your friends and your network, contact information to keep away from spammers and a search function where you can pull your profile off Google. The block list is handy if you’ve got a stalker, an ex or anyone else you hope never friends you, but only if you know what name they use on Facebook.

If that sounds complicated just remember that things available to “everyone” most certainly are – including advertisers or people you may not know. Keep pushing buttons and you’ll find all the settings, just remember to OK your changes. Yes, it will take some time to change all that, but it’s your information and if you don’t want to share then fight back. Deleting your account will not solve the problem.

If Facebook just sounds like a “huge waste of time,” well, that’s what Betty White said, but it was a now 500,000 strong Facebook petition that got her on  “Saturday Night Live” earlier this month and it was that petition that introduced her to Facebook.

Amye Buckley is a staff writer for the Neosho (Mo.) Daily News. E-mail her her at reporter1@neoshodailynews.com.