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Figuring Out Facebook

April 23, 2010

Today I logged in and was asked to accept connections to/with employers, schools, and other sites related to my profile (previously identified interests and groups). When I chose not to connect the related information dropped out of my profile, but there’s more going on here.

Since this morning, I’ve seen a lot of Twitter traffic about the issue. There are of course pros and cons. ‘Opening up’ Facebook to track interests across the Internet could prove to be powerful in terms of social networking. It could also result in a significant loss of privacy in terms of what anyone might be able to access about anyone else’s activities, interests, etc.

In an effort to inform, here are several perspectives:

I think my own frustration begins with the changes being an opt-out instead of opt-in situation. Also feeling a little left out. As a user should I have been asked what I thought about it? Perhaps we are all along for the ride.

What do you think? Did you change your privacy settings?

Photo credit: Brenda Starr, Flickr

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2010 12:05 pm

    Thanks for the link back! I haven’t changed my privacy settings yet. I want to give it a chance to work for me and see if it turns out to be the resource Facebook thinks it will be.

    • Melissa A. Venable permalink*
      April 24, 2010 5:15 pm

      You’re welcome! Thanks for your post. You offered an interesting perspective and a few things for all of us to think about. I hope you’ll continue to keep us all posted on your blog :).

  2. Cat is my name permalink
    April 29, 2010 6:19 pm

    Yes, I changed my settings – and I went ahead and printed out the stuff I wanted to keep.

    I eliminated many of my groups and fan pages (pages I used to be a fan of, now I just “Like” them ?), and became a near-non-entity of information – I am not a gender, no specified relationship status, no family connections, no birthday, no school, no work, no hometown, no anything that identifies me. I even removed my profile picture. That’s a shame, too, because I had a rockin’ fantastic profile picture, and I luvs me some profile photos…

    It is a matter of minutes before I become The Phenomenal Legendary Artist Formerly Seen on facebook…

    • Melissa A. Venable permalink*
      April 29, 2010 6:35 pm

      Cat – thanks so much for this comment! I haven’t removed everything on my profile…yet. But I did tighten it up quite a bit. I should ask you for advice on rockin’ fantastic profile pics. I use the same one everywhere.

  3. April 30, 2010 9:35 am

    Great article. I didn’t get asked by Facebook to connect all my interests ect. until just yesterday, so I had a chance to do some background research before the prompt. I did go ahead and change my privacy settings, although I will say I am incredibly interested in this as a sort of sociological study in the way people influence one another. That said, it doesn’t seem like a stretch anymore for Facebook to start scanning my eyes and selling me my favorite jeans a la Minority Report-esque marketing. Yikes!

    • Melissa A. Venable permalink*
      April 30, 2010 4:53 pm

      Micah – Thanks! It does appear that the changes are slowly rolling out across Facebook users and I agree that the social and cultural implications of this issue, and those that follow, will be interesting to watch. Beware the retinal scan! Yikes, indeed.

  4. May 31, 2010 3:56 am

    A very handy post.

    I am a little late to the party, but it is interesting how public opinion to changes like this has caused Facebook to change its policy regarding security. Facebook privacy is something everyone should be aware of and actively reviewing in my opinion. Facebook is a wonderful service though. Hopefully the balance is achieved.

    • Melissa A. Venable permalink*
      May 31, 2010 5:27 pm

      Hi Matthew! Thanks for your comment. I am still on Facebook (with a simplified profile) and agree it’s a useful service. So much has happened since this original post – I think I need to provide an update.

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