In December, Facebook made a number of significant and controversial changes regarding the nature of its users’ privacy. Facebook began and grew exponentially, in part because it placed the idea of privacy at the core of the user experience: users relied on the promise that their information was by default visible only to people they approved as friends. In December it made a 180 degree turn away from privacy. Where previously your friends and updates used to be private by default, Facebook took the liberty of making them public. Only after a virtual firestorm, were users given the facility to change their settings back to private, assuming they take the opportunity to do so. Although you now have the choice to hide some of your info from human view, it is still left visible to machine access, such as Google’s search spiders. Thanks. Two things:
1. This NYT article provides a roadmap to finding and using the new Facebook privacy controls.
2. Recently, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” Easy for him to say. Google helped create the new virtual world, based, in part, upon its “Don’t be Evil” motto. And we jumped in. Maybe we assumed that there was a promise to honor our privacy or maybe we just didn’t care. In either case, Google and Facebook are telling us that, whether or not there was a promise of privacy, it was a false one – and we are on our own when it comes to controlling our personal information.