Privacy on Facebook

How safe is it? : Let the users decide what data to share and with whom.

How safe is it? : Let the users decide what data to share and with whom.   | Photo Credit: ALIK KEPLICZ

With Facebook changing its privacy policy every few months, it is impossible to know what can be expected of it.

Facebook isn't so much a networking website as a global phenomenon these days. It is driving everybody crazy. But in the recent times, Facebook has undergone quite a number of changes. In fact, it has gone off the deep end, aided no doubt by Mark Zuckerberg, it's founder and his secret desire to control the world. Information, after all, is power.

And how do you secretly dominate the world? First, build a simple social networking site that offers complete privacy. Wait until 40 million users join your site. Along the way, if allegations of having stolen ideas and the code for your site from your classmates at Harvard surface, settle for out of court agreements (for 65 million dollars at least). And when people begin to think of you as the new age Santa Claus, turn all the private information public by default, leaving users no choice but to let everybody know everything about themselves– right from the school they attended, to how much they love fries to the absolute contempt they have for Justin Bieber. And now,the information is being shared with sites outside such as Microsoft, Yelp and Pandora.

Complicated settings

If you would rather not have your intimate details shared with complete strangers, all you need to do is to spend a couple of years researching Facebook and earn a doctorate while you are at it. Because that's how complex the new settings are, completely baffling the users to the point when they simply do not care about privacy anymore. There is also the old issue of having to share ALL of your information with the users of an application every time you want to add it to your profile, even if it is a simple quiz.

If you thought that was the worst of it, here is more. Even if you do eventually gain mastery of the Facebook applications and Even if you remove the information from your public profile, all your likes and dislikes are still stored by Facebook, so it knows what advertisements it can bombard you with.

Also a new change allows for information to be shared with other websites while you are logged in to Facebook. For instance, if you visit a website such as CNN's website, a small widget on the site allows you to receive updates from friends directly on to the site. However, it has been decided not to share your private information with those websites – yet. With Facebook changing its privacy policy every few months it is impossible to know what can be expected of it.

Constantly changing

Whether their privacy is at stake or not, many people are boggled down by the sheer number of settings Facebook has to offer. Also the constant changes in its privacy policy have tired out many people. This coupled with a complete lack of understanding as to how the information collected is utilized, has sent many people into a panic. For this reason, people have begun to opt out of Facebook. However, deleting the profile offers no solution.All of the user's information is still stored in Facebook and all the comments made while the user was on it cannot be deleted.

The Facebook privacy policy is an age old debate that seems to be never ending. Of course, the whole point of the site is for users to be able to share information better and connect with other users with similar tastes.

However, this should be left to the choice of the user. What remains to be seen is if Facebook will cut out its aggression or continue to confuse its users with newer and more complex privacy policies, only to drive them away.

Madhumita is a B.E (E.E.E) graduate

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 12:18:00 AM |

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