Despite the fact it looks like Facebook has shored up many of its new privacy setting issues which drew red flags when they were unveiled last week — notwithstanding your friends list, which is still considered obligatory public information — the public fallout continues. Seems that those easily overlooked 350,000 people who actually took the time to figure out the privacy settings and apply them are none to happy with the arbitrary nature with which their control over their personal information was suddenly removed. Also, a lot of them work in media.
Wall St. Journal personal technology columnist Julia Angwin has explored the new settings, which she attributes to a thus far one-sided distribution deal with Google and Bing, and is considering giving up her Facebook account altogether.
But those who want a private experience on Facebook will have to work harder at it: if you inadvertently post a comment on a friends profile page that has been opened to the public, your comment will be public too. Just as Facebook turned friends a commodity, it has likewise gathered our personal data – our updates, our baby photos, our endless chirping birthday notes— and readied it to be bundled and sold. So I give up. Rather than fighting to keep my Facebook profile private, I plan to open it up to the public – removing the fiction of intimacy and friendship.
Over at Big Money, meanwhile, Paul Smalera appears to be taking it all in stride and putting it all in rather severe perspective: Suck it up, people.
The outcry against the publicizing of friend lists boils down to two main arguments, which I’ll deal with individually. First, the idea that your friend list is “your data” and Facebook is a mere vessel for you to store it on and thus should not have any say-so in how that data is presented or used: For Facebook users who feel this way, may I suggest using an address book or Excel spreadsheet rather than a public Web site? If your interpersonal connections truly belong solely to you, there’s no reason they should need to be “connected” via some fancy Web site a Harvard dropout created, except to leverage them into a source of occasional amusement and competition. Facebook is a private, for-profit company that uses user data to serve advertising and earn revenue.
Snap! Though yes, all true. And yes, you can cancel your account. Meanwhile, over at Gawker Ryan Tate has created a guide to the new, sometimes confusing, privacy setting: “what can’t be attributed to Facebook’s greed can be chalked up to ineptitude. ” So there you have it. Keep those drunk pictures to your excel spreadsheet self.
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org