Facebook vs. Privacy: What's Your Privacy Worth?

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Difference between Facebook and Privacy

As far as social networking sites go, few can measure up to the online giant known as FaceBook. Practically synonymous with social networking after having gained the edge over sites such as MySpace and Friendster, FaceBook has nonetheless come under fire recently for significant lapses with regard to the privacy of its users. While measures have since been undertaken in order to address these issues, the question remains as to whether or not it is a case of too little, too late. Let's take a closer look at the issue.

Facebook
Privacy

Exposure Issues

One of the sorest spots in the privacy issue against FaceBook involves unwanted exposure. With the recent changes made to FaceBook, almost anyone will have access to your status updates, likes/dislikes, and virtually anything else that you do in your account, regardless of whether they are your friends or not. This is because any changes made to your account will reflect on the main wall of your friends’ accounts. What this means is that your actions may potentially come to the attention of people that you don’t even know and might not want to provide such information to.

On News Feeds

One other issue with Facebook’s privacy policy is that all the updates and status changes that everyone makes are now available on your own wall. What this means is that the same information that you post on your wall is available for everyone in your friends list to see as well. This shouldn't be a problem if your friends list is made up only of people that you want to share every detail of your life with, but FaceBook is often used for non-personal and work-related contacts as well. While information about your relationship status is usually okay to share with your immediate friends and family, those details aren't necessarily something that you would like to share with your boss or work colleagues. While FaceBook does provide the option to set up friends’ lists that allow you to selectively filter which information is provided to whom, the process isn't as clear and straightforward as one would hope.  

Actions

In the face of widespread criticism of how FaceBook has handled the various privacy issues, company CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently gone on record with the admission that mistakes were made in the pursuit of providing FaceBook uses with enhanced opportunities for making social connections. In the same announcement, Zuckerberg also announced plans for a new round of changes that will make it a lot easier for users to specify privacy settings and to restrict the information that is available to "non-friends" as well as to third-party websites.

Summary

Facebook

  • Has implemented changes that endanger user privacy
  • Is planning changes that will supposedly resolve the privacy issues  

Privacy

  • Is threatened by the availability of personal FaceBook information to other users
  • Is threatened by constant and persistent “news feed” updates
  • Is susceptible to abuse by new FaceBook policies

Which is more important?
  • Facebook
  • Privacy
 
 

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