Tech

No privacy protection in Facebook a time bomb opened for abuse

Updated: 2010-05-15
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Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says he doesn't believe in privacy

 

Facebook, the online social network, is once again in hot water for how it handles a user's privacy and millions of people are threatening to shut down their Facebook accounts.

At one time Facebook was a nice, organized, relatively private and controlled way to keep in touch with friends and family, share photos and events, and – in a much less garish way than MySpace – create your own little personal shrine to yourself on the web.

It is not that anymore.

In recent weeks, the site has been hit with several privacy bugs and scares that, among other things, made private chat conversations briefly visible to Facebook friends. And on April 21, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new Facebook feature called the "Open Graph," which essentially brings Facebook-like functionality to a number of websites.

Some Facebook users, including Sam Schreiber, say they are bothered by the fact that their online preferences are showing up all over the internet now, instead of just on Facebook.com.

Schreiber, a 24-year-old who considers herself social-media savvy, says she may delete her account soon because she doesn't understand Facebook's privacy settings well enough to know that her information is being kept safe.

"People already use them like it's crack, so I don't see what the next step is aside from world domination," she said. "So I just think it's too much."

She was particularly concerned when one of her Facebook friends saw on the music site Pandora that she likes the band "New Found Glory."

"I was like, that's really creepy. I haven't logged in. I didn't give it permission. I didn't do anything," she said.

Schreiber said she tried to change her Facebook privacy settings to keep that from happening again, but had to turn to news articles for information about how to do so, which she thought was unreasonable.

The problem Facebook has created for themselves is not that nobody wants to share information about themselves; it's quite obvious that there's a lot of sharing going on. It's that with each new feature, Facebook changes the social dynamic. Before, Facebook users felt and believed that they were sharing with their friends, and with particular networks they'd chosen; it was a closed environment, with borders that were clearly defined and understood. And if a few advertisers got to peek in, well, that was the price of admission. But now, after many changes, much of that same information is entirely public—unless each user individually goes through a set of complex steps to opt out.

 

SOURCE: WOX Info & CircleId & CNN

 

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