Can Facebook be Trusted?
Last week Facebook rolled out another round of what they consider easy to use privacy settings. What they’re really doing is trying to appear as if they’re doing something to address major privacy concern from customers and privacy organizations. Even Harry McCracken at Technologizer, says “Bottom line: Managing your Facebook privacy is still a remarkably convoluted process which isn’t explained clearly enough.”
Many of my friends received new Facebook settings on the first night but not everyone. I received one change however that baffled me. It seems that any post I made on my wall was set to be seen by “Only Me”.
It seemed like Facebook was saying “Screw you privacy advocates” by changing the default settings for wall posts to “Only Me”. “There you go, want privacy? Now nobody can see what you post”. I can’t imagine why this would even be an option let alone the default.
If I clicked on the padlock I was able to change it so my posts could be seen by “Friends Only” which was my normal settings. Unfortunately, I had to change this setting for each post I made.
When I clicked on Customize I was able to tell Facebook I wanted to change my default but it took four times before it would stick. These changes or bug appeared before the new security settings were rolled out to my account.
Plenty of people are doing articles about the new Facebook settings but I’m really asking the fundamental question. Can you trust Facebook? Based on my observations the answer is no.
Facebook creator Mark Zuckenberg has a vision of the world in which we all share information. It’s no secret that this remains his basic philosophy and goal for Facebook. When announcing new privacy policies he wrote…
“Six years ago, we built Facebook around a few simple ideas. People want to share and stay connected with their friends and the people around them. If we give people control over what they share, they will want to share more. If people share more, the world will become more open and connected. And a world that’s more open and connected is a better world. These are still our core principles today.”
Even if Facebook were to change and make sharing an opt-in service, my experience says we still can’t trust Facebook.
I have some info I want to share like my bird photos or other favorite photos. I have other images that are private for my family that I wouldn’t want available to everyone. I can easily imagine a day when all my photos are exposed and Facebook responding with “Oops, sorry it’s a bug we’re working on”.
I reluctantly continue to use Facebook to keep my eye on them and write about it. If they do something good, I’ll write about that as well. I have a Fans of WinPatrol page which I once promoted on WinPatrol.com. I no longer encourage users to join Facebook and removed the link. I welcome current Facebook users to be Fans of WinPatrol but I don’t feel its safe to promote Facebook as a service to new users.
What do you think?