15 May 2010
If you haven’t heard, the past few weeks have not been good for Facebook. They’ve made a number of changes in how the privacy settings work, and have not been completely clear in explaining the changes. They’re not respecting people’s privacy. “Facebook changed the rules and this information was unexpectedly shared with perfect strangers. That is, simply stated, a profound invasion of privacy.” (Gizmodo, 5/10/10). Rather than reshashing all of the issues, I’ll direct you to a few articles:
Facebook: The ‘Evil Interface?’
10 Reasons To Delete Your Facebook Account
Facebook keeps crossing lines and the last one may be a line too far
(Thanks to Derek Peplau for the list of great articles)
People are in an uproar about this. There’s even a formal revolt for people to quit Facebook on May 31st. I understand why people are mad. Facebook hasn’t been clear about what they’re changing, and people don’t trust them to keep their data safe. I agree that Facebook should have some backlash for this, as they are not keeping promises made to consumers, and are playing around with potentially sensitive information.
On Facebook, I do protect my privacy (unlike on Twitter). I only friend people I know, I put people I don’t know very well into lists so they don’t see certain things (status updates, photos of my nieces) and I don’t use my real birth year or high school graduation year to protect against identity theft.
But as someone who is also VERY public with my online life through my blog, Twitter and LinkedIn, my question is, what should I be worried about? (note that I’m NOT asking why is it wrong that Facebook is doing what they’re doing. I get that they are wrong). What are the risks to me? In the worst case scenario that ALL of my data is exposed, what’s the problem? I see a few possibilities, none of which concern me enough to quit Facebook:
- Facebook’s advertisers have more information to target me with –> I don’t really care about that, if I get ads that are more appropriate for me
- People will see photos of my nieces –> OK, not great (and my brother-in-law would not be happy), but not the end of the world
- People see information about my work history –> It’s all very public on LinkedIn and my website anyway
- People will see my private status updates –> I’ve probably posted something similar on Twitter anyway!
So, is it just me being naive, or are there other security risks I”m not seeing? Identity theft? Using my information in a way that could harm me? I’m really trying to understand this, so comments, as always, are encouraged!
(Photo credit: Facebook Trash)
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