Everyone seems to be talking about Facebook privacy these days so i’ll give my two cents (which i know isn’t going to be popular). Personally, i think people are over reacting to it all. If you want privacy, you have to ask yourself why you’re using facebook in the first place… or any other social network for that matter…
In fact, why are these people online at all? If you want to hide or deliberately withhold information for some reason from certain people, you can’t expect to put it online and have complete control over who and what has access to it. Somewhere along the line, you’ll get burned for having that attitude.
YOU are the problem, not facebook
Most people don’t care about privacy until it backfires in their face. They don’t care when they bad mouth a boss or pose for drunken pictures with their friends. They only care when the consequences of those actions become real and harsh. So if that’s what privacy means to you, don’t question facebook or these new policies, question yourself.
The best way to stop anything is to stop it at source. YOU are the source. Not facebook, not google, not the internet. The buck must stop with you. If you say something online, even in private, you must be prepared to defend it in public. Nothing is secure online in my opinion. Assuming something is secure is a risk…. however small.
The only way to ensure 100% privacy is to ensure there is no privacy at all and to make everything public. If you get in to a drunken state and start taking random photos of yourself or get snapped by other people, you need to be able to defend your actions… if you post about your trip down the country when you’re supposed to be off work sick, you need to be able to defend that. Expect the worst, expect your private data and conversations to get in to the public eye…
Responsibility starts with you and ends with Facebook, not the other way around. If you don’t post information, there is no problem. Facebook is the messenger and if you don’t like or trust the messenger, shoot them…. or don’t use them at all.
How privacy works (or doesn’t) in the real world
It’s hard to believe that people get so protective about privacy these days when privacy is the anti-internet. In the last couple of weeks alone, had privacy worked, we wouldn’t have heard about Gordon Brown’s biggot remark, we wouldn’t have known about Gerry Ryan’s death until mainstream media brought it to us etc…
Both of those events should have been private, but because people trusted other people, they weren’t. Gordon brown trusted someone would turn his mike off or take it off. He trusted the media wouldn’t leak private conversation… bottom line was he trusted people that couldn’t be trusted with sensitive, private discussion. Look where that got him.
Apparently, a paramedic text his/her niece about Gerry Ryan’s death. That’s how the twitter world & boards.ie found out (there’s still some confusion over who broke the news first). Did the paramedic trust his niece to keep that information private? Probably, but look where that trust got him/her. The news was plastered all over the internet within minutes.
In both of those situations, assumptions were made, people were trusted and then private information became public information. It’s exactly the same with facebook… your profile could be locked down so that only friends can see it. But what if i’m your friend, take a screenshot of something you said and then share it with the world? You see! Privacy doesn’t work the way you want it to work online… it’s too complicated, there are too many networks and people involved for you to call the shots… once you hit publish or upload, you must be prepared to lose control.
Sacrificing privacy for the good of the web
If you talk about privacy, that means you talk about trust. They go together. In order to have privacy, you need to have trust. Would you trust facebook to keep information private? No. Would you trust google? No. Never trust anyone or any company online. It’s tough enough to do it offline.
Facebook are not evil, they’re not trying to take over the world. They’re simply shifting more responsibility on to users which i think is a good thing. If users don’t like it, they know what they can do… more openness and more information can only be good for the internet. We should welcome and embrace it, not try to move backwards and restrict the flow of information. Many people would be lost without facebook… just like they’d be lost without Google.
The online media have now become anti-facebook in my opinion. Several big tech names (certainly most google employees) have closed down their facebook accounts which means facebook now have big decisions to make. They have to call bluff and plough on with what they believe in, or they have to compromise and listen to what the more cautious users are demanding.
In order for the internet to evolve, we need more information & fewer barriers. By stripping away privacy, we become much more aware of what we say and do, how we act etc… You can’t pick and choose what should be published… let it all flow out and watch the world grow with more knowledge. Privacy by its very nature creates barriers and protects information. But we have to ask ourselves why does that information need protection? Who are we trying to protect it from and how come we want to share it with some people and not with others?