Friday, September 23, 2011

ZOMG the sky is falling!

If you are not on Facebook, skip this post and rest comfortably in your superiority to  the rest of us.

If you are on the site, by now you have been subjected not only to a radical overhaul of your news feed but several cut-and-paste statuses about how to fix a sudden hole in your privacy settings. Suddenly,we are being bombarded with status updates from total strangers just because a friend of ours has hit the Like button. Personally, I've seen one unborn baby gender announcement and one elderly parent's imminent death announcement. Stuff no one is likely to want a stranger to see.

The fix du jour is to entreat your friends to unsubscribe to your comments and likes so that your every activity is not broadcast to all of Facebook. One little problem: it doesn't work. Subscriptions affect what you see in your news feed, not your friends'privacy settings.

The true culprit is a lack of awareness. In every single case of broadcasting your bidness, it is due to a lack of proper privacy settings.  Apparently a large number of people have been posting links and status updates as either public or friends of friends, which means just what it reads like.  Facebook has always allowed users access to strangers' post on the strength of a common friend acting on it somehow--it's just more obvious than it used to be.

Quite a few people are reacting angrily, though, as if this is a new crack in the otherwise sturdy levee of Facebook privacy.  Of course, I understand privacy concerns. What I do not understand is being careless/not paying attention to your privacy and then becoming irate only when it's made obvious.

Of course, the issue is not unique to Facebook. The price of personal security is personal vigilance, but far too many folks are more than willing to turn both over to someone else. Sad, really.

1 comment:

Dave said...

My FB'ing is usually done by phone - mostly so people can track exactly how fat I am making myself by eating at unhealthy restaurants. I was one of the people who blindly cut & paste the alleged privacy fix only to figure out moments later that it was bogus.

I know FB is constantly changing things to generate more revenue, and I also know that it is a free service that I can easily get rid of, but geeze it is frustrating!