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Facebook: Do they know more about us than we do?

I first joined Facebook my sophomore year of college (Fall of 2004). This was when it was known as The Facebook, because when typing it into the address bar, you wouldn’t get anywhere without typing “the?. The reason I joined Facebook was because two of my roommates had, and one of them pointed out to me that it was a great way to keep on contact with people from high school. So, naturally, I created a profile for myself, and instantly I had a plethora of “friend invites? from old high school friends. It was actually kind of nice to see what they were up to. Since then, that has been the extent to what I have used Facebook for. Never mind. I actually used it onetime to look up people who were in one of my classes and messaged them to see if they knew what the homework was, because I couldn’t get hold of the professor. It proved useful in this case too. However, one of my roommates used the Facebook in a completely different way. He would spend hours and hours a night on it, messaging and poking (I always thought the “poking? thing was completely ridiculous, but hey…to each their own) as many girls as he could. Yup….he’s THAT guy. The weird thing is that it actually worked. He received a couple dates from the process, and even one “random hookup?. Due to extremely thin walls, it was exactly at that moment that I realized the true capability and power of the Facebook. I thought it was amazing that this one program could actually be used as a social network

As far as privacy issues go, I feel that the Facebook is a spawning ground for private issues that you don’t want to get out, to eventually go public. I personally am decently protective of myself on the Facebook. I don’t give out my phone number in my personal info, nor do I go into detail about my interests, or favorite anythings. I don’t like it when people post or “tag? pictures of me up on my profile, so I usually delete them if it happens. I’ve never invited anyone to be my friend, and don’t do the wall posts. I guess as Baym put it, I’m more of a watcher than anything. The PEW and American Life Study showed us that 66% of teens who have created profiles limit access to their profile pages. I also do not let my profile be viewed by just anyone. In order to view my profile, I either have to accept a friend request from them (which I actually give some thought to), or they had to go to my high school.

I have no problem with how the University of Minnesota and Cornell University are taking action with Facebook. They are not intruding into the space of the students, or banning it by any means. Instead, I see it as the university warning the students of the possibilities that Facebook brings, so they don’t do anything that would ruin their future. In the Cornell University Facebook Policy, they state that students should follow the “Golden Rule,? which is, “don't say anything about someone else that you would not want said about yourself. And be gentle with yourself too! What might seem fun or spontaneous at 18, given caching technologies, might prove to be a liability to an on-going sense of your identity over the longer course of history.? I find this to be great advice for all students to follow when using any aspect of the internet. The possibilities of information that can be gained from our computer using habits are so amazing that it’s actually scary.

Along those same lines, Facebook is the legal owner of any information that people put on it. I completely agree with Bruce Schneier saying, “When Facebook unilaterally changed the rules about how personal information was revealed, it reminded people that they weren't in control. Its 9 million members put their personal information on the site based on a set of rules about how that information would be used.? I believe that Facebook has a contract with all if its members, and does not need to abide by anything else. Morally, I do not think that it is right. However, with many companies in the business world, what’s legal is the new definition of being moral.

Comments

Hey Peter! I enjoyed reading your post...I think you and I might be the only Carlson students in this class! I am not sure if you know who I am, but just "facebook me" (hahaha) and you will recognize me. We've had a few classes together. I agree with what you wrote about being careful of what you put on facebook. My mom always warns me that current and future employers are secretly checking on our social networking sites to see who we really are! I bet HR does this and it is smart that they do. You can tell a lot about a person by what they are willing to post for the public. I have gone through all the photos that are tagged in my name to make sure they are not inappropriate or offensive. Some girls from my high school got in big trouble after posting a whole bunch of pictures from their spring break where they were drinking. That was so stupid of them and they should have known better, but at the same time, I am sure they thought they were pretty cool in doing it.