To those of my readers who might be on Facebook, Greetings!
Just thought I would pass along some of my concerns about how we all might be using Facebook, and if you weren’t already aware of FB;’s privacy problems, to make you more aware.
The problem is this:
Because of Facebook’s extremely complicated privacy settings (and if you don’t know what that is, and you’re on Facebook then you definitely have a problem!), it is possible that a majority of Facebook users do not know that what they post there is likely going to be completely visible to the public, even if they think that only those they have Friended are going to see it. One problem that comes up immediately is this, that even if your FB friend can see it but a non-friend cannot, unless you’ve set your privacy settings correctly, nothing stops your friend from reposting a private post! And there are so many Facebook users who blithely post anything and everything, thinking they’re invisible to the world.
Here is a web site that uses Facebook’s public Application Programming Interface to demonstrate that foolish people are posting all kinds of intimate and private data. They say: “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life. Whether you want to or not.” My apologies in advance as you look at this, because the site chooses some random phrase (generally embarrassing) to search on FB, and you will see how foolish people are being about their privacy.
Note the quoted phrase in the upper right hand corner: “They ‘trust me’. Dumb xxxxs” This is a link to a texting conversation Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, had with a friend about how he could get all kinds of private information about students at Harvard (FB started out as a College social network). Zuckerberg is very soon going to be facing some pretty scary music due to some very negative things that have been found out about him and his activities, including being sued for FB’s horrible privacy policies. If you haven’t heard about this in the news yet, well, you will.
Note that there is little incentive so far for Facebook to change its policies because the more information on you that is publicly available then the better they can sell targetted ads to advertisers. It’s a money thing, of course. You’ve noticed the strangely appropriate ads that have been appearing on your Facebook page, haven’t you? Well, there you are.
With all these concerns, should you delete your Facebook account? Or stop posting? That’s up to you — I’ve no plan to do so, yet, but if you are going to stay on Facebook, I highly recommend that you research your privacy settings and tighten them up to the level that you feel comfortable. Keep in mind that Facebook has NOT made it simple for you to do so. It’s complicated, but you will be well-advised to look into it.