« Facebook: Do they know more about us than we do? | Main | Facebook is smarter than I »

Facebook Has Covered Its Bases on Privacy

I feel like I could write a book about my impressions and experiences with Facebook! I have been using it for almost 2 years now, and have seen its interface and functionality evolve substantially. I must say that I liked the oldest version of Facebook the most. This is because it was simple, clean, easy to use and a little less intrusive! The live news feed about what EVERYONE is doing EVERY second of the day is a little much. Although, I am starting to adapt to it and find it helpful once in awhile to remind me of an event or let me know what old friends are up to. The privacy issues are quite important for me to manage. I am under the most limited view profile. I only let my friends see my profile and pictures. One reason I do this is because I am aware that if I don’t I have opened myself up to ALL of the public. (Because now Facebook is opened to anyone). I also do not participate in the section where it asks you how you know someone. I think this can give away a lot of personal things and so I just skip that step. Additionally, when a random person asks to be my friend, instead of just saying yes, I say no! I have to know the person pretty well or have a class with them in order to allow them access to my profile. I think what I am most protective about are my pictures. If I am tagged in a picture I wouldn’t want my grandma to see, I delete it, ask someone who posted it to delete it, or untag it. (This doesn’t happen very often! But, there are times when I wouldn’t want a future employer or “my grandma? to see the picture!)
I do not think schools should concern themselves about Facebook pages. It would be quite an undertaking and full-time job to monitor content. Maybe, though, it could be a way for schools to note or see problems a student may be having (especially high school), and a way to catch illegal activity. Even though students may think it is cool to have pictures and quotes up that are inappropriate, it is a signal to schools that misbehavior is occurring. I do not think that finding something on Facebook is enough, though, to substantiate getting in trouble. More physical proof is needed in my opinion.
Facebook should be very careful about others’ privacy. They should let users know ahead of time when a change is about to occur, so that users can make adjustments accordingly. Additionally, it might be helpful if Facebook sent out a note reminding users to check out their policy statement…and maybe even make an abbreviated or annotated one!
As for the readings, I was very enlightened by the differences in the two school policies listings. Also, the first article from the PEW study seemed obvious and affirmed some of my assumptions about MySpace and Facebook. The most interesting table was: (PEW 5).
Less than $50,000 55%
$50,000 or more 56
White, non-Hispanic 53%
Non-white 58
What this table tells me is that income and race really has no affect on users. This also tells me the playing field has been leveled, and that all types of teenagers are participating. Thus, it is truly a representative sample. I also think the marketing and targeting companies can do to this age group are astounding and the opportunity is large.
My favorite two quotes that are so contrasting from the Schools’ policies are: “
It is very important that you read the terms and conditions for any Web site where you create an account? (U of M 1) and “Think not only about what identity you create for yourself online, but also how you represent others? (Cornell 2).
The U of M’s policies are so dry and straightforward, and Cornell’s are actually helpful. Cornell gives specific examples that actually might make you think “Gee, sucks for him, I better be careful.? The U of M quote about reading the policies is funny, because I bet there are a select few users who have read through ALL of them. I do think the more worried users read through portions, but I cannot imagine someone reading through all of them.
Lastly, the quote from the Schneider affirms what I thought previously. “Unfortunately, Facebook can change the rules whenever it wants. Its Privacy Policy is 2,800 words long, and ends with a notice that it can change at any time. How many members ever read that policy, let alone read it regularly and check for changes?? (Schneider 2). I doubt many people fully understand that the rules can change at anytime. It is pretty smart, though, of Facebook to say this. It means they will have very limited liability in the case of lawsuits.