Two big reasons you should be worried about using Facebook
There are two things I read about Facebook this week that I found disturbing. As the Sepia Labs team devotes energy to keeping Glassboard private and safe for people who use our app, we are troubled by Facebook’s lackadaisical approach to privacy. Here’s why:
1. Facebook is still gathering information about you even if you log out. According to Nik Cubrilovic, Facebook creates a cookie in your browser that, even after logging out, can still gather information about the websites you visit.
Facebook defends this tracking cookie, stating that it is used to prevent improper logins and that they delete the information soon after. Do you really believe them? I sure as hell don’t. Why wouldn’t they use data about the kind of sites you visit to target ads to you? This is the business model they’ve pursued in the past. I don’t see how this scenario would be any different. After all, Mark Zuckerberg has said in the past that he doesn’t believe in privacy. Why would Facebook start now?
2. Facebook is keeping track of what you read. This was brought to my attention by this great post by Dave Winer. Before, if you liked or actively shared something it would show in your activity stream. Now if you just click a link it may show up for all to see. This can get very confusing since there are so many options on whom you would like to share things with. Our iOS dev, Brent Simmons, expresses how disturbing this is in this blog post.
Do you know who can see what you post to a Glassboard? Go to the members list for a specific board. That is all of the people who will see what you posted. There is no confusion. It’s unambiguous.
When designing Glassboard we wanted to empower people, not confuse them. There are numerous privacy settings in Facebook that you must be diligent about changing to protect yourself from exposure. Care to guess how many privacy settings exist in the Glassboard app? Zero. It is always private by default.
There is one positive outcome of this public-by-default approach to social networking: it is fascinating to see the influence Facebook has on society and what we share with others. Which do you think came first? An innate desire in people to overshare with the world? Or Facebook forcing us to?
Posted by Jenny Blumberg
« « Previous post: How do you Glassboard? Micah Humphreys, professor
Next post: Facebook fixes one issue, but “read” articles still show in your news feed (follow up) » »