Why I’m wary of Facebook and OpenSocial

From jill/txt:

What of privacy? What of the fact that social networks aren’t always a one-size-fits-all proposition? Just two days ago, danah boyd wrote that she is having to limit her “real” Facebook profile to real, f2f friends only, and that she is creating a second Facebook profile for her professional connections.  …another example of this jarring of networks that should never have been connected: the teacher whose young students find her friends’ profiles and are horrified at them. Will OpenSocial allow for the distinctions between different kinds of friends?

My Facebook presence is pretty minimal, largely because even after digging around in all of the privacy settings I could find, I still don’t feel confident that I know how much of my private life will become public if I push it into this social web space.  I’m already involved with one group who are trying to move their online presence onto Facebook, and I’m unsure how involved I want to be because I don’t know if topics I reply to (on personal faith issues) will end up published on some push-media personal news feed that my professional contacts will end up seeing.

I think I’ve narrowed down what becomes public and what doesn’t, but I’m inherently paranoid about this sort of thing and I’ve taken the time to narrow down what gets pushed onto my news feed and what doesn’t.  What is this system doing to people’s lives who don’t have the technical know-how or the privacy awareness to take advantage of these options?

Having the network of friends-connections shared between websites makes me even more wary, despite the advantages.  Do I need to track down and manage privacy settings across every possible site that’s using OpenSocial to maintain control over what gets pushed into public view?

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5 thoughts on “Why I’m wary of Facebook and OpenSocial

  1. Yeah, I’ve heard of all sorts of problems with Facebook and privacy. In my facebook profile I’ve filled in every field with a link to my personal website http://www.durbn.net. This way I can control everything that happens with the data I put on the interwebs. Plus I don’t need to bother updating yet another place with my boring life’s information.

    Also, the #1 thing is that people forget that the internet is a PUBLIC place. If you put it up there, don’t expect people not to read or see it. And that means everyone, including your grandma, your mother, your 10-year old niece, your Bible-study group, and your friend’s dog.

    People do trust strangers a lot more readily then the people they know. At least when it comes to the internet.

  2. Well, this is why I don’t like those sites. There are other mediums and means for social connectivity. Namely, email and forums. Blogs are nice too. However, if you are searching for more people, it might be more beneficial that way. I like to use Google, though.

  3. And that means everyone, including your grandma, your mother, your 10-year old niece, your Bible-study group, and your friend’s dog.

    And your future employers who might do a search for your name five years from now.

  4. And it’s not just about what YOU put on Facebook – if a friend of yours posts photos form a party and tags you as in one of the photos, your other friends will also see those photos. That’s great if all your friends know each other, but if you have different sets of “friends” you might struggle as your social networks collide.

    Having said that, people can find stuff on forums and emails get forwarded and even things you told someone confidentially, face to face, sometimes get repeated or overheard and passed on – it’s an imperfect world, really…

  5. I am not sure what the aim of this post is. Privacy has been an issue on the internet for quite some time. A lot of people (myself included) do not take the time to do a thorough reading of the Terms of Service and Privacy information on such sites, etc. I’m pretty sure they take care of their own liability in matters of identity theft or slander or defamation of character or some such. Where is the line of personal responsibility?

    Is a bank that has been robbed get sued because it failed in its security measures? (I honestly don’t know.) Not quite a similar analogy, but close, perhaps.

    The f’ed up thing about it is something I had read about MySpace (I think) being raked over the coals for protecting the identities of others. However, the identities they happened to be protecting may have been pedophiles and other similar individuals. I think law enforcement wanted access to these peoples’ files (suspects, possibly) and MySpace had an issue with it. When does it become okay to usurp someone’s privacy? Does suspicion permit invasion? Would some sort of “internet warrant” be in order?

    How paranoid should we become of piracy on the internet? How about Big Brother? Probably about as worried as the amount of information you put out there is worth to you.

    The only thing worse than Big Brother from 1984, was the movie.

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