Archive for October, 2010

Refuseniks Unite!

October 21, 2010

Refusenik: colloquial English for any type of protester.

Having been a member of the Facebook community for around a year, I have heard of some rather disturbing news regarding personal information posted there. This information supposedly was entered in my user profile and security settings were set to prevent anyone from accessing this information. Apparently, this security feature is being bypassed by certain advertisers who pay for the privilege of accessing any information they please.

The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was called out on the matter by Facebook users and members of Congress, and promises were made to correct the situation, to prevent access to personal information with settings adjusted for optimum privacy. Zuckerberg said that Facebook users were not using their privacy settings correctly. I beg to disagree.

Lately, certain areas of the Facebook experience have been tweaked due to user complaints, like applications such as Farmville that supposedly allow advertisers access to users’ personal information. The simple answer is: if you value your personal information and want to keep it private, don’t use these apps!

I went into my Facebook User Privacy Settings area and checked the settings I made. It is possible to adjust them for access by certain groups (everyone, friends only, friends of friends, other) or disallow access completely. It also allows settings to block certain users and applications.

I found out by accident: the privacy settings are a convoluted mess.

It pays to look around. Check ALL the settings in every available window. Don’t assume anything is automatically set to maximum privacy.

I refuse to allow just anyone to access my Facebook information. If you feel the same way, check all your privacy settings and adjust accordingly. You have been warned – Facebook can be “Big Brother” if you are not careful.