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Tagged on Facebook!
I know, I just slapped a lot of Facebook’s 400,000,000+ users with an insult. The real insult is how many “Chicken Little” minds there are out there crying “The sky is falling!” You are a “grown up” right? You can take responsibility for things you say and do, right?
I have read about the biggest fear-mongering pitches ever surrounding Facebook’s privacy settings. I see people moaning about how all their privacy has been taken away and they feel all exposed. They whine about the fact that they actually have to take responsibility for the stupid things they don’t want the rest of the world to see. For me, that has simply been obvious. I mean, I keep my wallet in my pocket instead of leaving it on a counter at the airport. I have routers and virus protection to keep my data safe from prying eyes. If I don’t want somebody to have something, I just don’t give it to them.
Free Facebook Privacy Guide
Didn’t anybody ever read the privacy information published by Facebook in “A guide to privacy on Facebook: Understand and control how you share information” or was that too much work? The service is free, but people still want to complain that it has some rules and guidelines.
If you are afraid of things like somebody tagging you in a photo on Facebook, how do you feel about blogs, email, or even fax for that matter? Is it the service’s fault for transferring the information? That seems kind of absurd to me, considering that transferring that information is exactly why people use Facebook. If people will just take a little time from their selfish Facebooking life to set how they want their information to be handled, maybe they can move on and complain about something else.
Facebook Privacy Beyond Facebook
If you are concerned about what somebody will see, keep it off the Internet. Did you forget that anything on Facebook or any other website can be copied and pasted, printed, or otherwise reproduced without your authority? Who are you going to blame for that? Will you blame the copier company?
I entered a couple of comments on a blog post about Facebook privacy on Mashable.com a moment ago. I will share some of what I said here, and I invite you to go and see the context of my comments as well.
“Facebook is not the whole Internet. What if they take the photo and email it and post it on their blog? Would you like Facebook to control that, too? What if the Internet didn’t exist at all? Couldn’t people still be embarrassed by a bad photo? Marilyn Monroe was, and she didn’t use Facebook.”
“That is the business they are in, but that does not make Facebook, Google, Twitter, or any other site responsible for our indiscretions, or for our privacy. I do not want my documents read when I take out the trash, so I shred them. I do my part to protect my privacy. My privacy is my responsibility. What others do to reduce my privacy by posting a photo or writing something about me is often beyond my control. That does not make me stay indoors. I just know that if I pick my nose while I am in public, those in my direct contact may not be the only public who see it. The fact that there is a venue to share it does not mean the venue should be blamed. It is like blaming the phone company for somebody sending a fax about you. The person doing the faxing is at fault, and not the phone company or the fax manufacturer.”
My point here is this: If you want to blame Facebook instead of yourself, it is like blaming your Internet service provider because you got a virus but did not protect yourself with up-to-date antivirus software. Take responsibility to know the services you use online. If you are not willing to take the time to know the rules of a service, and to keep up to date with those rules, don’t use the service. Nobody is breaking your arm to use Facebook.
Let’s be grown-ups and stop blaming everybody but ourselves for our personal responsibilities. Go set your Facebook privacy however it makes you feel comfortable, or delete your Facebook account like many fear-mongering technophobic users are suggesting.
Facebook is a corporation that makes decisions based on their interests. That is the way a corporation is supposed to work. Sure, you can whine that they should ask your opinion, but it seems apparent that they have a pretty good feel for what people want. Maybe you think a company with such a big omelet can do it without breaking a few eggs, but I don’t see anybody else attracting 400,000,000 people across the world for their great plan.
It seems to me that with a user-base larger than all but three countries in the world, they are doing just fine without you in their boardroom.
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