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Facebook has been involved in meetings this week talking to employees about their concerns over user privacy. The issue is that people searching the web can now see Facebook members' profiles, unless they have protected them, whether the person doing the search is a Facebook member or not.

Previously the only people who could see these profiles were Facebook members. A fun fact is that the privacy policy as amended to let Web surfers see it is now longer than the US Constitution.

Facebook is coming under pressure from civil liberties groups as well as users to tear the policy up and start again, and particularly to make it easier for people to handle the complex privacy settings on the Facebook pages.

Here's the thing: if you don't want people to know something it has always been a bad idea to put it online. The real difficulty, and not something that's received as much coverage, is that people have been losing control over their own identities and images on social networks. A Facebook profile might be a fine thing for executive A, until he or she finds that someone took a picture of them drunk at a party a few years ago and has tagged it with their name so it shows up on their profile. The fact that they have been teetotal for 12 months doesn't affect the picture's presence, and if whoever uploaded it hardly ever logs on then it's unlikely to be moved anytime soon.

This is happening and it's losing people job opportunities - to me this is much more sinister than people being able to find stuff I've put on the Internet voluntarily. After all, if anyone could find information previously simply by joining Facebook - to which there is no barrier - letting them find it on the open Internet is hardly a major change.

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Last Post by joelchrist
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The main problem is that people expect they have a certain level of privacy protection and shielding of their private data when in reality they don't.

Any respectable business would realise this and indeed protect the private data of their users, Google and Facebook (among others) however deliberately don't, as they're in the business of monetising that data and thus want to collect as much of it as possible.

They can get away with it because they're US based companies, a country where the law regarding privacy and related issues is extremely lax.
European users especially are used to far stricter laws regarding protection of their privacy (as well as consumer protection in general) and act based on the idea that those laws are applied by any company/entity they deal with. Most of them are utterly unaware they live in a bubble of protection situated in a sea of openness where they have no protection whatsoever.

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That's a very interesting point. It would be good if some of the companies involved - or concerned groups, including Governments - could make this distinction as clearly as you've just done.

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There is nothing secret with Facebook. As the Founder mentioned the other day at a conference, the default for facebook is to be social. Thus, this is definitely the case with the data owned and shared on Facebook. I know now friends on Facebook are intentionally posting fake comments and constantly updating their security settings. This issue may represent the beginning of the end for Facebook?

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