Talk about Paranoia
It doesn't surprise me that a group of 700,000 angry people planned to protest Facebook's new feature, News Feeds which " shows an aggregation of everything members do on the site, such as added and deleted friends, a change in relationship status, a new favorite song, a new interest." (Wired News, Lessons). I would probably be part of that group too.
What I do wonder is who the heck is employed at Facebook- and if they were drunk, tired, and/or apathetic when making such a massive decision. It's hard to believe that a group of professionals would think that releasing information like 'deleted friends' and 'newly single' would be welcomed in such a close knit social community. It's like marching little Billy up to the town's hall and humilating him in front of his whole community with the news of his failed relationship. I can only speak for myself, but at my age (30), I wouldn't think the announcement "Julie's single!" is anything to celebrate. Most would interpret that as "Julie's single AGAIN! Please help out this poor old maid."
But, I do believe both parties (the creators and the online users) are casualties of online social networks. Conflict is going to happen no matter where we go or in what ways we communicate.
Facebook's debaucle was necessary. It builds awareness on issues like privacy and control.
While reading both articles on the Uof M and Cornell's webpage, I was sorely reminded of the lack of privacy we have when logging on to the internet. I forgot about caching, "Caching, in effect, means that if you post something on Facebook, let's 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" (Cornell, Thoughts). This frightens me because I often don't think about what I write, and sometimes edit it later. And I rarely think about who else could be monitoring my profile. Cornell's article gives an excellent example of this, "trying to get a deal on car insurance? Who knows, maybe that little Geico went to Cornell! Do you really want him seeing a photograph of you bombed out of your mind?" (Cornell, Thoughts). I am a business consultant and would not like future clients to view or read about what I did last weekend. Not only does it challenge my credibility, but it's incredibly embarassing as well.
In conclusion, the articles this week really resonated with me. I will check myself before posting any more crass comments for which I could be liable for, or incriminating photos with comments like "medicinal purpose". Privacy affects everyone, therefore I would assume wanting some control over our personal lives is universal. Facebook, despite its last misstep, seems to be a sound website that respects this universal desire successfully.