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In the past few weeks, the Facebook community has been in a frenzy about the new privacy policy by Facebook. There are Facebook protests popping up all over the internet and many influential people in the tech industry have either shut down their Facebook account, or plan on doing so. What should you make of all this Facebook privacy hoopla?

The Facts:

Facebook recently unveiled their new 5,830 word Privacy Policy (longer than the US Constitution, sans amendments). The biggest change and the main concern with the privacy policy is that it now requires users to opt out if they wish to keep their information private. Most information they share on their profiles is now public by default. Not only is it public, but some of this personal data is available to third party application. Not only is this new openness an issue, but the complexity of the privacy settings make it extremely aggravating for users. According to the New York Times, “To opt out of full disclosure of most information, it is necessary to click through more than 50 privacy buttons, which then require choosing among a total of more than 170 options.” Bottom line, people don’t want their personal information being shared with people they don’t know.

Why Did Facebook Do This?

At the latest F8 Conference, Facebook announced their new Open Graph. Open Graph is a way for Facebook to “connect” all parts of the Internet through Facebook. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “Yelp is mapping out the part of the graph that relates to small businesses. Pandora is mapping out the part of the graph that relates to music. If we can take these separate maps of the graph and pull them all together, then we can create a Web that’s smarter, more social, more personalized, and more semantically aware.” This is why you see more personalization on the sites you visit. Facebook is trying to effect consumer behavior by connecting consumers and brands by way of their common friends. If you visit Wpromote’s website and see that three of your friends “like” Wpromote, aren’t you more inclined to think positively about Wpromote and possibly hire us? Yes.

What Does This Mean For You?

Be careful. That’s all I can tell you. If you know that anything you post on your Facebook could be public, and you’re worried about the public seeing it, then don’t post it. As bad as it sounds, it’s not that difficult to go into the privacy settings and click on the settings you’d like your profile to adhere to. If you’re really paranoid, you can delete your account.

Regardless of Facebook Privacy Policy, the site is here to stay. Since the announcement of the new privacy policy, Facebook has increased by approximately 10-15 million users. If people were really upset, the growth would either stall or you’d see some decline. Soon, Facebook will be competing with Google for the top site on the Internet.

Comments

2 thoughts on “Sorting Out Facebook’s Privacy Policy
  1. Anonymous says:

    “Soon, Facebook will be competing with Google for the top site on the Internet.” Considering how much Facebook has expanded within the past few years, seems like that prediction corld happen very soon.

  2. John says:

    Reclaimprivacy.org has a pretty cool tool that scans your Facebook account settings and lets you know how “secure” you are… Obviously, people who are overly concerned with their privacy in this regard would be better off just deleting their account altogether, but for those of us that can’t bring themselves to do that, this tool provides a little bit of peace of mind.

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