Tuesday, May 25, 2010

facebook privacy and "opt-in"

Back on May 7th, I wrote "kill your facebook account," talking about how to permanently delete your Facebook account instead of "deactivating" it.

I stopped using Facebook for a couple of reasons.

One, I was getting bored with it. Too many boring posts that I wasn't the least bit interested in were showing up on my wall. I simply didn't care about what games people were playing. I didn't care about receiving Facebook gifts. I certainly didn't care to read about certain folks' political views.

Two, I felt like it was a waste of my time to even go to Facebook and check on things. I already belong to several Linux forums, and I follow news and sports and other things on the internet. And, I have plenty of non-computer things that I like to do. Facebook was just taking time away from things that I love.

If you've followed recent computer-related news at all, you know that there seems to be a backlash against Facebook and other social networking sites because of privacy concerns. Facebook is promising to make some changes in their privacy settings, making things simpler for users.

Some people don't feel that this will be enough. Check out Jacqueline Emigh's PCWorld article, "Note to Facebook on Privacy: How About Opt-In, Not Opt Out?," where she writes:

To give Facebook members more real control over how their personal data is used, Facebook ought to be simplifying its privacy tools in the direction of “opting in”– where users need to actively volunteer to share information – instead of the opposite “opt out” approach. In essence, Facebook should be giving users an easy way of turning on third-party services – if these are desired – rather than an easy way of turning them off.

I agree with this, 100%. But I don't know if Facebook would ever take that route. Also, I don't think it will ever make a difference to me. I can't see myself ever going back to Facebook; my reasons for quitting haven't changed. And it might not make a difference to any of the people who have left Facebook over privacy concerns; when you lose someone's trust, it's difficult to win it back.

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