Nick failed out of university! :0
Ashleigh called in sick for work to go away for the weekend! :0
Who is Nick and Ashleigh?!?! They are not in my friends list!
Facebook’s new privacy settings have made it possible for me to learn all this exciting personal information about complete strangers. And I bet Nick’s parents, or Ashleigh’s boss could just as easily gain access to this information as I have!
Facebook in the Early Days
Facebook was so successful from the start because of its simplicity. An individual’s user data was only visible to other users who they accepted friend requests from. Updates of one’s profile were by default private (friends only).
The Evolution of Privacy
In December, 2009, Mark Zuckerberg informed a live audience that the world has changed, that it’s become more public and less private.
By giving people the power to share, we’re making the world more transparent -Mark Zuckerberg
Is it society that has become less private? Or is it Facebook that is forcing its users to become more public with their information? Facebook users could no londer hide from the public since the new default became public to everyone. Those who weren’t aware of the change, who did not modify their privacy settings to be hidden to the public had their profiles being viewed by God knows who out of the 500 million users of Facebook.
Teachers, employees, etc. were being fired from their jobs because they were unaware that their accounts suddenly became open. Parent’s of students were finding pictures of their teachers drinking alcohol, and doing “un-teacher like” things. This of course led to their unemployment as they were accused of setting bad examples for their students.
To be quite honest, until recently, I was not aware that complete strangers could access my profile, and view my information, pictures, etc. Until recently, I could not understand why random strangers from the middle east were suddenly requesting to be my friend!
Facebook founder’s views on trusting users
Mark Zuckerberg’s attitude towards privacy does not help either. Shortly after Zuckerberg launched The Facebook in his dorm room, he was chatting with his friend:
Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend’s Name]: What? How’d you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don’t know why.
Zuck: They “trust me”
Zuck: Dumb f****.
- use your friend list
- remove yourself from facebook search results
- remove yourself from google
- avoid the infamous photo/video tag mistake
- protect your albums
- prevent stories from showing up in your friend’s news feed
- protect against published application stories
- make your contact information private
- avoid embarassing wall posts
- keep your friendships private