FACEBOOK - Waste of time or great social networking device?
Facebook is a wildly popular social networking website in which just emerged towards the beginning of my college career. I remember Freshman year when it did not exist and I actually had to talk to people face to face. Disregarding my sarcasm, I actually think facebook is a great way to keep in touch with friends. I've always had great experiences with it and much prefer it over other websites like Myspace (see previous posting). Some features that I particularly enjoy about Facebook are the pictures that you can upload, the class/school listings, groups (of which 99% are just for fun), and the friends. While at the same time many of these features can possibly be seen as bad things or private information.
I remember talking a bit about this in a few of my classes regarding privacy. People seemed to be concerned about whether the information or pictures you put on your profile might become visible to others that you may not wish it to be. The subject of whether or not a facebook profile should be used in a hiring process came into play. I am not entirely sold on this issue of if it should be used or not but regardless I think it is the user's discretion which should be at fault in the end. You must remember that everything you put on your profile is a choice that you make and you have the final say in the matter. Anything you put on your profile about yourself is essentially a transfer of your personal data to another person. Whether or not Facebook has the rights to do what they want with that data is debatable, but if you are going to worry about it, don't put it there. In other words, "facebook members are just fooling themselves if they think they can control information they give to third parties" (Schneier 1). Essentially all that is saying is that you should be aware that you don't know what could happen to the things you put online. Once you put it online, you have made your data availible to everyone and you should be aware of this.This is because "if you post something on Facebook, lets say for a day or two, just to be funny or to make a point, even if you take it down or change it, it remains accessible to the rest of the world on the Internet anyway" (Mitrano 1).
More on the privacy issue. I do believe that Facebook does give you plenty of options in regards to your privacy if it were something of an issue (besides just not posting it). By these factors I think that Facebook shouldn't have very much liability in regards to what you post or your data. To quote the Cornell website again as it has a great deal of my beliefs that you are liable for what you post and not Facebook, "On Facebook, you have no expectation of privacy" (Mitrano 1).
In regards to schools needing to have a stance on guidelines I don't think this should be an issue. Schools do not have guidlines for people's personal webpages or blogs so why should they with facebook? Essentially Facebook is just another form of communication that could be detailed as free speech. And as a school of thought and human developement, the U of MN (or any other school) should follow along as in the Cornell policy of keeping free speech "a part of our values as an important center for research, teaching and outreach internationally" (Mitrano 1).
Sidenote: I find it hilarious how on facebook you can join groups that are "virtual" mobs or riots. You can join a group and join their "virtual" cause.