Funny on Facebook

Facebook Privacy Configurations

Facebook has gotten a lot of criticism over the last couple years for sporadic and confusing updates made to its privacy settings area. They received even more attention when they updated theirs terms and conditions to include a passage claiming legal ownership of all the photos, Facebook status updates and other content user generated content. Lately the controversy has calmed somewhat because Facebook fixed some of these matters, but privacy still continues to be an issue for Facebook users.

The essential purpose of Facebook demands some level of sacrafice of the user's personal privacy, one that is often made without second thought. Without giving some information about yourself out to the world there is really no way to successfully utilize Facebook in the first place. Everyone must have friends to read there little status updates and their friends have friends who may read them as well, depending on privacy settings. It is called a social network because people and groups are all interconnected. A diagram would look something like millions of spider webs all smashed together, where each web is one person and their friends list.

The point here is that, basically, if you are going to use the service at all you are giving up some degree of privacy. Unfortunately, we have to be careful about this because there are dangerous people in the world and some of them have computers. Obviously since we can’t just pick the weird one’s out individually, the only thing to do is only trust people that you know, or that your trusted friend’s know, and block everyone else. Therein lies the problem with privacy on facebook.

It is quite difficult, and in some sense a bit pointless in the first place, to even limit your interactions to exclude anyone you are not friends with. If you aren't careful with your privacy settings, likes to update your friends pages when they comment on your status, usually including your own status at the top. That means all their friends can see the update too. It is shocking to me how many Facebookers don't even protect their photos from strangers, let alone all the other information some obsessive users meticulously enter into their profile, editing and updating it as they go on. If you don’t believe it, go facebook surfing. Click a friend’s profile, surf to one of their friends who you don’t know, and keep going like that as deep as you can. You could surf pages of people all over the world in minutes by doing this. It is really amazing how comprehensive and international the Facebook userbase has grown to be. You may have to hit the back button here and there as some people do protect their settings, but it is amazing how many don’t.

The best way to maintain your sense of privacy on Facebook, and the rest of the internet, is to simply not post anything that you don’t want the world to see. True privacy online is borderline impossible because every webpage, including your Facebook profile, is getting recorded and backed up somewhere by someone. For that simple reason alone, anything that ever enters the realm of the internet is there to stay forever. The best way to keep strangers and weirdo’s from getting your information is to just not put any of it out there in the first place.