Facebook and Your Personal Privacy – Whose Job Is It?

Facebook_Security Facebook put in play the privacy policy updates they promised on December 1st.  I blogged about it yesterday, lauding the process that will it will at least cause users to think about how they share information on Facebook – it’s likely to be the only time they are pressed to do so.

Today Adam Ostrow at Mashable posted responses from various organization who have put themselves at the front of the personal-privacy-on-the-Internet issue.  They have all come out with responses that portend the end of personal privacy on the web, should users ignore the process and just blindly accept the ‘suggested’ setting proposed by Facebook.

When presented with the dialog box and process today, I took extra time to understand what they we’re asking and what it might mean.  I do recognize that many users will not take the time, they will trust the recommendations and they will just click through the dialog boxes, permitting a level of visibility of their Facebook presence they perhaps did not intend.

If Facebook users are concerned about what they share, this process will allow them to review their setting (a good thing) and establish a level of personal visibility commensurate with their wishes.  If a Facebook user is not concerned with what they share, they will be able to quickly and easily set their account to be as open as the front door at Macy’s on Black Friday.

If later they wish to retract that level of permission, they will be able to albeit perhaps some information may ‘escape’ control of the account holder, but not because of Facebook – it would be because of a personal decision that I think Facebook is making an honest effort to help users confront.

The responses of the ACLU N. California Chapter, EFF, Sophos and Trend Micro are summed up by Adam in saying “All of these sources are essentially saying the same thing: the privacy changes at Facebook have the potential to create significant issues for those who don’t carefully review them, which, let’s be honest, is likely to be most users.”

Yes, it will be most users who ignore the best efforts of Facebook to involve them in this very important and pertinent issue, but the changes are being presented appropriately and honestly by Facebook, not being slipped in at the backdoor under some false pretense.  Instead of taking issue with Facebooks’ legitimate effort, I’d like to see the experts supporting the personal responsibility users SHOULD be taking in addressing their personal privacy, not deriding the effort by Facebook to have them address it.

Image Courtesy of Alicia Rae on Flickr

  • Amanda

    Just wanted to inform you of a typo in your title: should be whose, not who's (which = who is).

    • http://www.StevenGroves.com Steven Groves

      Thank you Amanda – if I was a journalist, I’d have caught that!