Private Parts

May 23rd, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

If you were to mention the big P word, coupled with the F word, in any bar, restaurant or coffee shop these days, you would most certainly have some sort of debate on your hands. The F word in mention is not of a four letter variety, but, of course, Facebook. At f8 they recently announced a number of changes to their current security (err, information sharing) model, and boy oh boy, are people up in arms about it. But why? Do they have a right to be? Does anyone actually have a grasp as to what the big changes are?

I will admit, I jumped on the “OH MY GOD FACEBOOK YOU ARE EVIL I WANT MY PRIVACY” bandwagon before I had a chance to really look into it. I’m guilty of going with the masses (baaaaaah sheep) if I haven’t had time, or interest. Since then, I have read a countless number of breakdowns, and have seen this infographic being tossed around at least two dozen times, and I’m still not getting it. I understand WHAT changes are happening, but what I don’t understand is the big fuss over it. When you put stuff on the internet, it’s not private. It just isn’t.

Have you ever had those moments where you’ve spent an unknown amount of time on Facebook, probably stalking an ex, and when you snap out of it you realize you are looking at pictures of a complete stranger’s children? You have no idea who this person is, but they were in the same album as the girl who was recently in a picture with your ex boyfriend’s best friend who was in a picture with your ex and his dog, so you obviously clicked deeper.

So how are the new Facebook changes going to change your stalking habits? Will you be able to stalk more, or less?

  1. Facebook has changed the default settings to be more open. Okay. The people that will be affected by that are new Facebook users.
  2. Stalker Verdict? Rejoice, until they realize anyone worth stalking is already on Facebook.

  3. Facebook is opening up our interests, with the default set on. As a product manager, I understand the struggles of releasing new features and having to hide them at the same time. This is where Facebook ‘f’-ed up. 100%. If they had left this setting to be set off, I doubt we would have as big of a war on our hands.
  4. Stalker Verdict? Helpful if they manage to get a date and can pretend to have the same interests, but otherwise yawn. Boring.

  5. Facebook is actually remembering who I don’t want to see my status updates.
  6. Stalker Verdict? Cue Stalkers moaning.

  7. Facebook is setting my albums to be open to the public by default, but prompts me in the album creation to ask if I want to restrict it.
  8. Stalker Verdict? Stalkers rejoice temporarily, but then retract. Still hold out hope that we will forget to change the settings.

  9. Facebook removed the ability to control what is posted to your wall. This is a huge issue for me, and probably the change I dislike the most. I loved not having to broadcast when I wrote on someone’s wall at 2AM. It has created an excess of noise, which is a nightmare for Brands and Marketers, but this noise also makes those certain relationship status updates, or pictures you don’t want to see, a lot less prominent.
  10. Stalker Verdict? They can see your every move on Facebook.

Personally, the two things that I keep extremely private on Facebook are 1) Tagged Pictures of me and 2) Friend’s posts to my wall. The underlying theme of those two things? I don’t have control over them. My favourite books and movies, what religion I am (I have, by the way, Vancouver Canucks listed as mine so good luck with that one advertisers), does it really matter if advertiser’s have access to this information? Ads will be more tailored to my interests now, which can be helpful since we are in the world of an ABUNDANCE of information. I would love it if my favourite products and interests can come to me now instead of me going and searching them out.

The best way to handle the new Facebook privacy settings is to not fight it, and be grateful that it’s received all this attention so now you are being more careful what you put out there. We all know that if they tried hard enough, anyone would be able to access it regardless. I have embraced the chaos, I have allowed random people I don’t know that read my blog to add me on Facebook and they are the best filters.  I am forced to behave myself when I don’t know who might be watching, whether it be potential employers, potential boys to date, or my mother’s best friend. This is not new information, this has always been the case, we were just happily ignorant before.

Remember folks, if it’s on the internet, it’s best to assume it’s not private.

If you want to know more information on this matter, I highly suggest reading the following (comprehensible, I promise) articles: