Sunday, October 11, 2009

How private is Private?

video
gregorrohrig May 29, 2007 (Youtube)

Picture courtesy of http://collegecandy.files.wordpress.com

Does joining a site like Facebook automatically mean that you relinquish all rights to privacy? Why not when the very nature of the site is to place what ever personal information you wish online. Is it not your choice to put up what ever information you please on this type of social networking site? Then why is Facebook faced with so much criticism relating to the privacy setting?

It is universally known that Facebook is the place where you can read about any bacchanalia going on between friends, watch the pictures and videos of certain misbehaving individuals at the “lime” you missed out on last night, or the place where you get instant updates on the relationship status of your friends and family so that you know when is a good time to make a move on that cute girl or guy. Obviously we do have the choice of not placing any personal information on the site but then would Facebook as we know it be Facebook? Would it be as fun and as entertaining as it is? Would it be as popular as it is if we refused to put personal information on the site? Facebook is about updating, sharing and adding friends and the more we do it the more fun the actual site is. Let’s face it, if every individual were to administer the most stringent privacy setting Facebook might as well be dead and buried.


Even though we do have a choice, are we not being taken advantage of by the social networks? What exactly happens to the information entered into Facebook? Take for example joining a network. Facebook recognizes the network you have joined and sends a stream of advertisements specific to your particular network. Clearly our information is being used by Facebook to target us and encourage us to spend money.

Picture courtesy of sickfacebook.com/tag/privacy/


Facebook users usually think because they have the highest form of security on there profile means that they are safe, however you should always think twice about sharing photos. These photos can easily be copied by a person who has access to your facebook page and broadcast to the entire online world. Even with the highest form of security photos of you can be exposed to friends and family and eventually, once you have realized that you have been tagged in a photo it is too late the online world has already bared witness to the most likely scandalous photos you would rather no one have seen. But how many of us have actually taken the time to implement Facebook’s solution to this problem? Their solution to block everyone from viewing tagged photo. How many of us even know of such a privacy setting?

Picture courtesy of sickfacebook.com/tag/privacy/



You know those funny pointless quizzes and games that we all enjoy playing on Facebook? Well these applications we love so much have full access to data on our Facebook profiles. This is perhaps the most annoying issue faced with this site. Just what exactly would these third party developers want with our private information? Maybe this is how Facebook makes its millions, by selling our private information to third party developers.

Usually these third party developers want demographic information like our age, country, profession, relationship status, pictures and how often we use Facebook so they have a better idea of who uses their applications and how often they use it. However, is it fair that we are being sold just so that Facebook can have a new and improved quiz titled “What kind of drunk are you?”

Many people would try to remedy the problem by deleting Facebook, but does deleting your Facebook account really mean you’re safe from privacy issues? Well, deletion of a Facebook account removes all information you have placed on the site and essentially you cease to exist in the Facebook world or do you? We can’t be positively sure if our online lives have really been removed from Facebook’s database or if the social networking site has their own private files on every single one of its users at the tips of their fingers.

In the past Facebook has even had annoying “viruses” via Facebook chat that threatened the privacy of its users. Ever been off Facebook completely but yet your friend receive a variety of messages from you via Facebook chat advertising a product along with a link to another website? Or maybe you were on the other end of the stick and received a series of messages from one or many people? We must take the time to consider was this really just a mistake that the seasoned Facebook developers let slip or were these Facebook chat advertisement deliberately allowed by the developers in order to make an easy million?


20 comments:

  1. Being new to the facebook family,it's interesting to have such facts revealed...makes me wonder if i should have stayed in the "dark ages". However it did serve its primary purpose of reacquainting me with old friends.young people should be weary of these facts since so many of them, eager for popularity and in need of friendship are likely to fall prey to these third prties.

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  2. This blog is interesting, yet scary, knowing that all our personal information is there in the public domain despite all the stringent security setting we apply.
    I think its important to have this information out there especially for the youths who don't the take time to read the terms and conditions set out by these networking sites. Thanks for letting them know. Writers keep up the good work!!

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  3. wow, this is scary to see, yet not suprising to me. I initially joined fb because i wanted to connect with my family and friends in the states and wherever. Question is, should i have to pay such a high price for that? maybe we should stick to using telephones.

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  4. It's amazing how this digital world in which we now live has changed the entire landscape, not only in the way we do things but also our language. Up to a few months ago certain words didn't exist in my vocabulary. In my youth there were bookworms who always had their face in a book but now with things like Facebook almost every youth today has his/her face in a monitor of some sort, be it hand-held, laptop or desktop. You Tube, Blog and My Space are all foreign to me. But having read your article I am now a little more enlightened in that respect.
    Although I take advantage of this technology to make my life a bit easier, I am not too excited about Facebook, My Space etc and the exposition of one's personal affairs for the world to see.

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  5. The privacy invasion of facebook is global, a problem which the only response to is "would these developers ever stop abusing our private information?"

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  6. caveman309013/10/09 8:44 PM

    This is truly a scary situation but it is us the facebook users who choose to reveal the requested infomation. i have seen some profiles with just one profile pic and the user's name, then there are those which documents the life of the user with 100s of pics,videos,contact info and a status giving there every move. We the people are the fuel being thrown on the fire which is these websites.

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  7. because the humanmind is so conditionde to know the unknown is the reason we feel we must see what is hidden.With regards to the short hand and all the circles that you have to be in to be someone it is all just to help people fell a sense of belonging.

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  8. my husband refuses to own a facebook account, even after i tried numerous tmes to convince him. he says fb is the devil! and i think finally he isconvincing me otherwise. i guess this is the price we have to pay for the new world and development :(

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  9. I like fb it helps me keep in touch with friends abroad as well as friends here in trini. When i dont visit fb i feel depressed, in a way i feel as though i am missing out on a part of life. Sad but its tru

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  10. For me fb is best way to stay in contact with friends some of which i havent seen in like 10yrs and more and even those living abroad. For as the privacy problems personally i dont think is only fb has this problem is the internet in general, is the ppl minds makes them do what they do, if you dont want any rude or valgar pixxs of you being tag just dont post any for anyone to get it

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  11. If you get a chance, read just about any (or better, every) book by Daniel J. Solove. His writings on privacy are extremely worthwhile... and useful. :-)

    T

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  12. It's all about "you can run but u can't hide". It is an almost "absolute" in our lives today that we share information about ourselves on-line. You will have to give your information to someone/company at some point in time once you are a user of a computer.
    The virtual world as a whole is quite intriguing. It has a very strange way of luring us into its "web" with its endless possibilities. The drama of being "incognito" is almost irresistible.....its like everyone's secret desire to be that voyer/stalker we want to be but which is "socially incorrect" to do so. The internet satisfies our hunger and desire for any and every bit of information we can ever need or imagine. I think it is something we can not do without.
    So, regardless to the risk of exposing information about ourselves, friends and family we will always take the chance and hope we are one of the lucky ones who escape the darker side of the web.

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  13. funny, just last week i was chatting with my step son on line and as the chat went on i realised that he had no idea who i was! at first it seemed a bit funny but as the reality of it set in it became unsettling to think that this young man added a complete stranger as a "friend"!saddly it seems the world has become a sad and lonely place where people who rarely see or even say hello to their neighbour will chat for hours online with people they have never and may never meet.its facinating and unfortunate at the same time

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  14. Very interesting blog!!! I'm learning about things I never even knew about before, makes me think twice before i add an application.

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  15. I think this blog is quite good - it gives information that many people are not aware of. The layout, colour scheme, and pictures are attractive; and, the writing is quite conversational and easy to read. It's quite a good effort. Maybe you can include a few more local horror stories from facebook to spice things up some more.

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  16. I believe the information on this blog alerts us to the dangers of the internet. This matter should be taken seriously by everyone.

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  17. I believe that posting personal information is indeed dangerous to individuals.

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  18. Job well done this has indeed opened my eyes i now see how dangerous it can be

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  19. I Strongly believe that networking social sites are the reason for the increase in crime and kidnapping due to fact that little being supervised by their peers and not their parents are causing them to be easily influenced by unguided and unaware immature little children. As a result society has become very unstable when these children become adults. People do not understand that their privacy is thoroughly invaded as a result of joining these sites, even when you go through the lenghts of ensuring maximum privacy settings your information is still distributed to all these third party companies sending all these apps like farmville, how tall are you, superpoke (what the hell is a superpoke) go out doors.

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  20. Anyone who uses these social networking sites for anything other than advertising and marketing might as well buy a coffin and get a pastor and create their own funeral because they are already dead to the world.

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