I am surprised by the level of hysteria over Facebook’s latest privacy changes and security breaches. Here’s why I’m neither upset nor leaving.
Facebook has no social contract with its users. Facebook is a company trying to carve out the largest possible niche on the Internet, by any means necessary. Some companies have a conscience. Don’t expect Facebook to.
Facebook offered the illusion of privacy. Some people mistook this for actual privacy. I suggest that people treat Facebook as if it were completely public. Post only information that you would be okay seeing on any website.
Many other websites expose plenty of your personal information: usernames, IP addresses, avatar (e.g., bulletin boards, listserv archives).
Facebook is not alone in using your posted content to target advertising to you. Yes, Facebook has taken this to a new level, but why does this come as a surprise?
Facebook is still the best way to stay in contact with your friends. If you object to their practices, then post only information you’re comfortable having public.
Facebook pages are incredibly effective for building a relationship with an organization’s constituents. It’s easy to post media, easy for people to express interest, and easy for them to interact with you. In the last couple of months, two individuals raised $2,000 through Causes birthday wishes for a nonprofit I help run. We didn’t solicit the gift. It just happened.
Will a better site come along and displace Facebook? It is more likely to happen now that Facebook is making more information public, which also makes it available to potential competitors. If another site does rise, don’t believe their privacy claims, either!