Increasing Facebook privacy settings and the Instant Personalization

Despite the public nature of my blogging life, I am actually a rather private person. When I decided to join Facebook in early 2009 (February) I made sure to crank up my privacy settings. I had been looking through my Facebook friends who have been sharing several posts on how to opt out of the Instant Personalization (one of them from Boxcar Marketing, the company of my good friend Monique Trottier).

facebook privacy

I looked through my own Privacy settings, and I have them cranked to the max apparently (e.g. only my Friends can post to my Wall, etc). Still, I wish there were other features for MORE privacy on Facebook, rather than LESS. There has been a lot of debate online about how Facebook keeps making it more difficult for users to keep their privacy. My question to everyone is – if Facebook is THAT “evil”, why are we all still using it? Why not be completely democratic and demonstrate (with our vote, e.g. with our not-having-a-Facebook-account) that this loss of privacy is unacceptable?

The answer is – because not enough of us care. If the millions of users of Facebook really cared that much about their privacy, they would make the Big Brother/Sister accountable (e.g. Facebook). But in a society that is valuing privacy less and less, accountability has become an afterthought and not mainstream. Sadly, that also means that we have lost the power of protecting our privacy to commercial interests. And that’s a sad thought (and for the record, I do keep a Facebook presence, but not really by choice, but because I think it’s important for me to test all social platforms).

Related posts:

  1. Growing organically a Facebook page for Hummingbird604.com
  2. On privacy, Facebook and the future of our information online
  3. The creepy suggestions of new friends on Facebook
  4. Yes. I caved… I am on Facebook now!
  5. Is Facebook decreasing the relevance of MySpace?

Comments (5)

KempApril 23rd, 2010 at 11:39 am

Facebook now offers “Evil” as a colour scheme, seriously.

PHOTO EVIDENCE: http://ow.ly/i/1dSI

Christopher ParsonsApril 23rd, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I disagree – it’s not so much that people don’t care, it’s that there is a conflict between caring and a network effect going on. IF there were another service that offered similar features as facebook (not exactly the same though) and IF at least 5 of your friends that you cared about joined that service with you then there would be a substantial decrease in the power of Facebook’s network effect (5 friends is the number from the ex-CEO of Friendfeed).

The hope is that advertisers get spanked, badly, to the point where Facebook’s newest invasive processes are seen as economically valueless. Unfortunately, for that to happen there would need to be very real regulatory change in the US..

Erika RathjeApril 24th, 2010 at 11:22 pm

It’s really disturbing and also maybe a bit useless that even when you turn off “instant personalization,” your friends can still share and see information about you. What is this information? You know, I might go in there right now and just delete all the “about me” stuff because it doesn’t need to be laid out on the table. Granted I like having personalized ads because I’m less annoyed when they’re accurate (I can ignore them), but I could just as well fake it or put in only a very slight amount of data to shape those ads.

It’s incredibly shameful that the default privacy setting is “wide open” essentially. Just make a copy of the keys to our houses why don’t they…

Teens should be made acutely aware of this because they will likely regret it later. I’m just glad I was done post-secondary before this tool became widely adopted.

Do we stay on to keep in touch with people? Or, like I ranted about Thursday night, is it just an excuse to maintain a very minimal, superficial connection (“relationship”) with a lot of people?

Minna VanApril 30th, 2010 at 3:32 am

Social media helps people who are increasingly working longer hours to keep in touch with the outer tier of acquaintances to ensure casual contact through bite-sized random life updates.

It is a valuable tool but people just have to treat Facebook or Twitter like their nosy aunt Mary* – don’t say anything you don’t want coming back to haunt you.

*Name has been purposely changed to protect identity of nosy relative

[...] Raul Pacheco hits the spot when he writes that Facebook’s actions are ‘not enough for us to care’: There has been a lot of debate online about how Facebook keeps making it more difficult for users to keep their privacy. My question to everyone is — if Facebook is that “evil,” why are we all still using it? Why not be completely democratic and demonstrate (with our vote, e.g. with our not having a Facebook account) that this loss of privacy is unacceptable? The answer is — because not enough of us care. If the millions of users of Facebook really cared that much about their privacy, they would make the Big Brother/Sister accountable. But in a society that is valuing privacy less and less, accountability has become an afterthought and not mainstream. Sadly, that also means that we have lost the power of protecting our privacy to commercial interests. [...]

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