Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Is Facebook Safe?: You've Got the Cutest Little Facebook, But is it Safe?

Is Facebook Safe?: You've Become Social Media Guru, Got the Cutest Little Facebook, But is Your Private Information Private and Safe?

Facebook, that wonderful social media site with the wonderful intention of helping friends stay connected, has recently announced new changes regarding their revised "open site governance" policy which will essentially enable Facebook to automatically share your Facebook user account data with other external sites without the you, Facebook user, ever knowing it and without your permission. This will take effect on April 3, 2010. 

When I first joined Facebook, this was not the case and I was assured that only the Facebook user would control who would get to see my private information. And this why I was willing to be part of the social media action. But now it appears Facebook is pulling the "bait and switch" tactic on Facebook account users,  and I have a few concerns.  Is this ethical?  Do you think Facebook is going too far? 

What this new policy change means is that external web sites that you are not even aware of exist all over  the world, will now be awarded the priviledge of having access to all of your Facebook account information including your photos,  friends, birthday, etc., and other personal information you have on Facebook. All this without your permission!  And to cover itself, Facebook recently changed its open site governance policy to accommodate this new strategy which appears to benefit Facebook and compromise Facebook account members/users all over the globe.

According to Barry Schnitt, Sr. Manager of Corporate Communications and Public Policy at Facebook in an email to, "the right way to think about this is not like a new experience but as making the [Facebook] Connect experience even better and more seamless." I beg to differ.  Facebook believes with the advent of social media and blogging, etc., the world is less concerned about privacy and more concerned about making it easier to connect with other sites. But wait a minute, who is Facebook to speak for you and me?  Is all this worth compromising the pricacy and security of Facebook users? What this new change could mean is that Facebook users will now have to be more cautious and spend more time on Facebook  opting-out instead of opting-in. Apparently they will be adding tools which will enable you to "opt-out."

According to Marshall Kirkpatrick Vice President of Content Development at's article Facebook May Share User Data With External Sites Automatically "That sounds downright creepy. It's nice to have one-click access to your Facebook info if you decide to share it with other sites - that's what Facebook Connect does - but the prospect of having that information automatically shared when you show up on another website seems like an idea that won't be well received by users. There's a big difference between opt-in and opt-out "data portability"."

My chief concern is that Facebook cannot guarantee that private information can be kept safe especially if you include those additional Facebook applications. So I'm not adding any Facebook applications to my Facebook account and will continue keeping it simple; Be conscientious, cautious, and don't put too much private information on Facebook as there may be big sorry tomorrows. There is an interesting video I viewed from BBC  which explains how malicious Facebook applications could steal the personal details of all your friends, not just your own details. Click here to view it:

How do you feel about Facebook's latest policy change?  Your opinion is valuable, please answer this poll at

written by Gloria Buono Daly (c) 2010


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