Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Facebook and privacy, round three

If you’re on Facebook, you’ll know that once again, sweeping changes have been made to the interface. This seems to occur every so often, as the platform evolves and grows.

However, as is generally the case, these changes will affect your privacy. The national ACLU’s Blog of Rights recently posted:

now other users can easily find out which applications you use, whether that’s a popular game, a dating app, or our Facebook quiz. Just like the changes that made Friends Lists and Fan Pages part of your “Publicly Available Information” (PAI) that could not be restricted or made private in any way (though Facebook later relented and allowed you to hide your Friends List on your profile—but only if you hide it from everyone!), this takes information that was hard to find and puts it front and center.”

While the company has certainly moved towards offering better privacy controls – this is still a major problem. Thankfully, there’s a way to protect yourself:

“To change your own settings, go to the Applications and Websites privacy page and use the bottom control for “Activity on Applications and Games Dashboard.” You can choose one of the basic options, or the “Custom” option that allows you to share this information with only selected friends, to block certain friends from seeing this information, or to let nobody else see it at all.”

As always, we encourage everyone to be mindful of his/her posting habits online. Facebook is a wonderful communication tool (we certainly use it and like it quite a bit), but until the privacy controls are truly comprehensive, keep your dotrights in mind.

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