Facebook and privacy

Ok, I’m getting sick of everyone complaining about the lack of privacy on Facebook. Yesterday was Quit Facebook Day, a day set assign for people to quit en mass in protest of the changing privacy rules.

Let us get this straight, you’ve uploaded or entered personal details about yourself onto a web site that offers no guarantees and charges no money, and you’re surprised when you find they can’t be trusted. You may as well put a poster in your window containing your NI number, date of birth, phone number, mother’s maiden name, etc. Having said that, most of those details are available surprisingly easily, for very little money.

Privacy is not the responsibility of Facebook.

If you don’t want information about yourself possibly leaking out, don’t upload it to a web site. The only information that you should put on sites such as Facebook is the information that you don’t mind being publicly known. Don’t put your deepest feelings up there unless you are willing to let total strangers know about them. Don’t upload the picture of you having an indiscretion with someone other than your significant other, and be surprised when they find out. Don’t moan about the bad decision your boss made today and then be shocked when you’re hauled into a disciplinary meeting tomorrow! Remember that it is becoming more common for recruiters to search for you online before interviews, or for that lass you met last night to check you out on facebook before ringing you back.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use social networking sites, or upload your photos to Flickr, you just need to realise where you are putting this information. These aren’t government agencies such as the DVLA that you need to trust, these are corporations that are out to make money and should be treated as such.

There is a lot of information about myself available on the internet, but there is nothing that I am bothered about people seeing. More to the point, there is very little that can’t be found out by other means. Google me and you’ll find a fair bit, most of which points to the fact that I’m a bit of a geek! Shocker! I use Facebook a lot, its a useful communication tool for keeping up with close friends and old friends alike. Yes, there are parts I don’t like, but they can mostly be hidden. Yes, I do have my contact details on there, but most people have them anyway. If all privacy was turned off from Facebook it would be annoying, but hardly a catastrophic calamity.

In the end, what is needed is something that is drastically lacking on the Internet. Common Sense!