Facebook is becoming a scary place. It used to be fun place to share photos, links, ideas etc. and connect with long lost friends. Now, as the social networking giant seeks to monetize their platform they’re using your data to do it. And while I can understand the business side, it doesn’t mean I don’t have a choice. I could choose to just shut down my profile on Facebook and move on.
If you’re not familiar with the changes on Facebook and how it impacts your privacy, take a look at this article on Wired magazine. Below is an excerpt:
This spring Facebook took that even further. All the items you list as things you like must become public and linked to public profile pages. If you don’t want them linked and made public, then you don’t get them — though Facebook nicely hangs onto them in its database in order to let advertisers target you.
This includes your music preferences, employment information, reading preferences, schools, etc. All the things that make up your profile. They all must be public — and linked to public pages for each of those bits of info — or you don’t get them at all. That’s hardly a choice, and the whole system is maddeningly complex.
Simultaneously, the company began shipping your profile information off pre-emptively to Yelp, Pandora and Microsoft — so that if you show up there while already logged into Facebook, the sites can “personalize” your experience when you show up. You can try to opt out after the fact, but you’ll need a master’s in Facebook bureaucracy to stop it permanently.
Care to write a status update to your friends? Facebook sets the default for those messages to be published to the entire internet through direct funnels to the net’s top search engines. You can use a dropdown field to restrict your publishing, but it’s seemingly too hard for Facebook to actually remember that’s what you do. (Google Buzz, for all the criticism it has taken, remembers your setting from your last post and uses that as the new default.)
Now, say you you write a public update, saying, “My boss had a crazy great idea for a new product!” Now, you might not know it, but there is a Facebook page for “My Crazy Boss” and because your post had all the right words, your post now shows up on that page. Include the words “FBI” or “CIA,” and you show up on the FBI or CIA page.
Now if this doesn’t get your attention, here is a visual chart that helps you understand how much of your private information is being shared across the Internet. Things you thought were just between friends is now in the open. Photos and networks you thought only your college buddies could see are now in plain sight of your employer, your associates and your business partners.
What do you think? Take the poll below:
I am personally mulling shutting down my profile on Facebook.