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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Facebook's New Privacy Settings Not as Good as Everyone Thought

I've been reading about this on various IT blogs for a couple of weeks and now it has appeared as a story on USA Today's website.  If you are a regular to this blog, you know that I have written about Facebook's ever evolving privacy settings, the last batch coming out about two months ago.  Facebook claims that their new privacy settings allow users to be very selective about what the public sees on their page and this claim is absolutely true.  The catch is that you have to take the time to set it all up and if you don't you are actually authorizing Facebook to share the information that you haven't locked down with the rest of the world. 

Think about a teenager anxious to get their new Facebook account up and running, are they really going to take the time to go through the seemingly endless security and privacy settings?  Even if they did would they really comprehend the implications of their choices?  Most kids will just blast through all of the "technical" garbage and get their page posted...thereby opening the door for Facebook to share information that should be kept private.  Facebook calls it "flexibility" but it seems to be turning into a trap for young people who don't take the time to pay attention to the fine details.

Since Facebook is by far the largest social networking site in the world, it has been given the title as the most dangerous.  Personally, I think MySpace is worse since they A.) Advertise objectionable content in their ads section of everyone's pages B.) Sell your (and your friends) e-mail addresses to spammers though they claim they don't and C.) Provide far fewer privacy options to users.  But MySpace isn't used by as many people so if you look at sheer numbers, Facebook would be the biggest threat.

Here is the article:


  1. Just found your blog through the AOC tech coordinator memos. This is a great resource and hopefully more parents will read and follow your advice. I myself know most of what you have discussed so far, but in most families the kids know more than the parents. I just want to let you know about something I use to control Internet access in my home. It is the iBoss router by and it provides parental controls for the home network and all wireless devices that access the internet through it. ipod touch, wii, etc as well as the computers. Any friends who bring over laptop have to be allowed on the network and get the level of parental control that I deem necessary for devices used in my home.

  2. Thanks Nancy. I appreciate your feedback. I will definitely check out the iBoss router. You may see a posting about it soon.