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Facebook? Oh Puhleeze May 1, 2010

Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Social Media, Trends.
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I’ve been tracking Facebook, not that my sense of self worth hinges on how many strangers “friend” me. People react with incredulity when I say I don’t Facebook. There are many things I like, but few are on this $800 million a year business that makes its money from advertising.

It’s easy to support the movements forming against this social network because I’ve no emotional investment in this Web superpower where people broadcast their lives in orgies of sharing and over-sharing. Now that Facebook has made the cover of Time and Zuckerberg-alikes are cashing in on those opting out, I’m glad I was never in.

Now that user confidence is being eroded by privacy blunders, phishing scams and controversy around instant personalization and the exodus of angry users, Facebook must give me control options less complicated than these. Like, let me opt-in rather than opt-out of instant personalization, the feature that hands my publicly available Facebook info to selected Websites I visited.

Facebook privacy came to a head in May, when 15 organizations filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and users started a “Quit Facebook Day” campaign. Although the campaign wasn’t universally embraced, Facebook changed its privacy settings, making it easier to keep personal information from going public.

Privacy is a personal responsibility. Information has no walls and it’s time we realise the Web cannot protect information posted online even as it makes the transmission easier than ever. For those in a social coma, how many hacked accounts will be sold before they wake up and make privacy a personal responsibility?

The Web has meshed with our lives. Facebook is not the enemy in this new world. If you want to give the world a front row seat into your life, don’t expect privacy controls and security settings to protect you online. If you want to keep a secret, don’t talk about it or quit Facebook puhleeze.

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