Facebook Isn’t Violating Your Privacy. You Are.

With the creation of Facebook’s Open Graph, many people are questioning whether they should be using Facebook when so much information could be publicly visible.  Many people are going as far as deleting their accounts (which is apparently a very rigorous process).  When you do this, I think there’s one thing you’re not really considering:  Facebook didn’t post those photos of you when you were drunk.  YOU DID.  Facebook didn’t post that status update talking about what an S.O.B. your boss is.  YOU DID.  Facebook isn’t at fault here.  YOU ARE.  

Facebook is an independent private company, so they can do whatever they want.  They are not limited to doing what the users want.  Since you’re now aware of that fact, do yourself a favor and follow this simple rule when you use Facebook:

Don’t post crap that you wouldn’t want the entire world to see.

It’s that simple.  Don’t assume that your “private” online profile can’t be seen by people outside your network of friends.  You’d only be fooling yourself.

Another thing that’s important to remember is that even if you delete something, it could still be viewed later.  I do YouTube screencasts about Facebook sometimes, and everything that was on my news feed at the time is recorded forever in that video.  Then there’s also the possibility that someone is recording a video with a camera, and Facebook is open on a computer screen behind them.  And of course, Facebook applications now have total access to your data as well, and they can store it for as long as they want.

It’s okay to have a Facebook account.  Don’t delete it just because you think what you post could be exposed to the world.  Just delete anything you wouldn’t want the world to see.

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3 Responses to Facebook Isn’t Violating Your Privacy. You Are.

  1. sneakily1 says:

    Amen brotha!
    All these people are whining about privacy…it’s YOUR fault for putting all of your information on there stupid! I think there should be a license to use the internet…seriously!

    • Brad Merrill says:

      Yeah, let’s make everyone take a standardized test before they get connected!

  2. I just read a similar post, where I made a comment relevant here too (with some minor modifications for context).

    It is not quite as easy as that. For instance, one of the problems with Facebook is that the users have lost control over their data. They may, e.g., originally have uploaded some data, while convinced that this data would only be visible to a very limited circle, and then find that the circle has expanded without their own doing.

    Generally, while strong counter-measures will be overkill for most people, it is not necessarily paranoid to be concerned. We do not know when and if we will one day land in intense scrutiny, e.g. because we run for office, write a best-selling book, or because we make an enemy insane enough to waste weeks on digging up and spreading our dirt. In the same way, what happens if Facebook (or someone else) develops its tracking to far higher degree than today and start selling the data to advertisers (to gain customers) or credit-card companies, prospective employers, whatnot (to check our worthiness)?

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