Better Privacy? Facebook’s Outrageous Policy Switch

Facebook users Worldwide were given an early Christmas present by the HR team over at Facebook in the form of a privacy policy change that was both expansive as it is limiting. If you haven’t noticed the change, it might be time to put on your Home Alone face and scream into the camera because by now, all of your most personal information down to your photo albums were viewed by anyone-even those without a Facebook account.

On December 2009, Facebook implemented features that had been in the talks for some time. What started as a summer announcement has lead to the most criticized update since the popularization of this and other social networking websites.

The Drag

If you were lucky, you noticed the changes and immediately started the automatic process of wading through the various options to pick precisely what you wanted other people to see and what you would rather not share about your other-ahem-hobbies. However, most users were and are still sitting in the dark about the changes that left a gaping hole in their personal bubble.

You Should Always Share

In an instant, your previously private stories became visible to your employer, your worst enemies and those juicy tidbits from the party that night was most certainly viewable by your parents. Ick! The moment those changes were made all of your previous settings were set to the default; to share with Everyone!

One of those changes happen to be the removal of your choice to share or hide your Friends List.

You also have no choice when it comes to opting out of those add-on applications, which will now use your personal data to ‘improve’ the application performance.

The Kick

We do have some good news. All these changes did divide the previously more general categories down into smaller, user-friendly and more manageable details that you can individually choose to display to everyone or customize it to share with just one person, down to the last JPEG you upload into your gallery.

You can also choose to either share or keep private the latest Wall post and status updates. So you can feel free to talk about Bill behind his back and still have him in your Friends List.

The Facebook Future

Like with any social networking group, Facebook is facing the obvious challenges that plague the users and the company.

A free service only stays afloat due to sponsor ads and other, similar supports. Information mining programs are out there and in the wrong hands, can reveal quite a lot about yourself to your future employers or anyone else, for that matter. These days, it is common for your date to have hit the Web for a name search or even a full background check. Every detail that you write down on a status update might just be one detail too many. The last thing you wrote online might just be what tips the scale on your next promotion.

Social Networking will always carry this risk.

Do yourself a favor, don’t be the next Michael Phelps[1] and go through your privacy settings to make sure that you show only what you want to share.