Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Facebook Goes Public (So To Speak)

 Facebook.com, the world’s most popular online social network has just updated its privacy policy and settings. This isn’t just a a change in the wording of their policies, but a change in the settings.

Facebook’s success is arguably tied to two things. On an internet that had anonymity as one of its most attractive features, they created an environment where people were required to use their real identities. This would not have been a successful play without the other thing – the complete privacy of your personal information.People who wanted to see your material had to be invited and had to accept to be your “friend”. So you controlled the access list to your data yourself. On the basis of this and several other smart moves, Facebook has risen to over  350 million users.

With its new privacy policies, Facebook is beginning to change it’s emphasis on keeping your information private and is actually encouraging you to make your information (updates, pictures and whatnot available for all the world to see on the internet. In other words, you and the info you share about yourself on Facebook could end up in a Google or Bing search results. A lot of us really wouldn’t want to do that. There is a financial benefit to this. Searchable information is valuable information and the major search engines are willing to pay Facebook for that information. So for all their wording in their new policies about your being able to more finely control access to your data, they are really hoping you let it all become public.

However, if you would rather stay with your data as private as they were before, go carefully through the new settings Facebook has made available at the privacy centre in your Facebook profile or in the pop-up screen that may come up the first time you visit Facebook since the new settings kick in. Choose settings that maintain or improve the amount of information privacy that you have.

On the other hand, you may be comfortable with the whole world having much more information about you, your thoughts, interests and relationships. If so, I’ll see you online.


And yes, my baby is home. She was nestled in the crook of one arm as I wrote this. Why else do you think the post is so short?