I’ve just about had it. Mark Zuckerberg, and his filthy-rich team of Facebook executives, are putting all of us at risk, and they just don’t seem to care. They’re in some kind of sick race for the crown with Twitter, LinkedIn, and any and all other social media platform that have millions of members.
What’s in that crown, anyway? (I have a sneaky suspicion that it’s a greenish color)
I’ve seen that smile before. It’s the smile of a millionaire billionaire.
This billionaire is different, though. This guy just doesn’t care. The words, “opt-in” are just not in this dude’s vocabulary. Zuckerberg and his merry band of Ferrari-driving cohorts don’t ask it’s millions of customers-that’s right, customers, permission for anything. These folks just come up with a new idea, a new tool, and shove it down our throats until we bitch loudly enough. Then, and only then, they have week-long meetings, (somewhere with turquoise water as a backdrop, I’ll bet) and decide to give us some convoluted way to “adjust” our privacy settings. Thanks, guys. You rock.
Now, I’m certainly a lot more geeky (technology-wise-take it easy there, friends) than I ever thought I’d be. I’m online like 10-12 hours a day for my franchise advisory business, writing, Tweeting, designing, tweaking, you name it, and I can barely figure out Facebook’s “privacy settings of the week.” Then there’s my daughter. This is where it gets serious.
Mari Smith; I’m Sorry.
I’m not trying to hurt Mari’s pocketbook. I met Mari, (The resident Facebook Guru-Queen) last year. Nice lady. Spunky. Sharp. She’s making a very nice living because of Facebook. She does lots of speaking and consulting around it, and as far as I can tell, she’s bringing home some nice bacon strips. (And helping companies grow)
But…and here’s the biggest but of all; Facebook is messing with my girl. Not a good idea.
Because of Facebook’s super-aggressive, reckless, and selfish policies regarding my teenage daughter’s privacy, I have to constantly try to figure out how “private” her privacy settings are, on any given day.
Now, of course the privacy stuff doesn’t seem to phase her; she’s a teenager, and in her innocent eyes, she’s bulletproof, and “nothing weird or bad will ever happen.”
But, I know better, and so do you.
A Little History
Facebook used to be a place to just share photos and thoughts with friends and family. For awhile, it became a useful way to connect with your long-lost friends and family members. It’s a tad different now.
What Facebook is “Like” Now
If you’re a small business owner like me, you’ve probably created some Facebook Fan pages, “Like” pages-whatever, for your company. Maybe you’ve even gained a client or customer for your efforts.
There’s games to play, quizzes to take, and millions of things to “Like” or join.
Facebook knows what you “Like”, what causes you’ve joined, and even what “Like’s” and causes your friends and friends of friends are hooked into.
According to Wired magazine, “in December, with the help of newly hired Beltway privacy experts, it reneged on its privacy promises and made much of your profile information public by default. That includes the city that you live in, your name, your photo, the names of your friends and the causes you’ve signed onto.”
Wired magazine then shared that, “this spring Facebook took that even further. All the items you list as things you like must become public and linked to public profile pages. If you don’t want them linked and made public, then you don’t get them — though Facebook nicely hangs onto them in its database in order to let advertisers target you. This includes your music preferences, employment information, reading preferences, schools, etc. All the things that make up your profile. They all must be public — and linked to public pages for each of those bits of info — or you don’t get them at all. That’s hardly a choice, and the whole system is maddeningly complex. “
Too darn complex. And too scary.
Back To My Daughter
Not only am I seriously worried about my daughter’s safety, as she hangs out on Facebook, but I’m starting to get really, really, resentful.
- I’m resentful of the fact that I have to constantly look for posts about Facebook’s newest privacy intrusions.
- I’m resentful of the fact that at least once a month, I have to log on to my daughter’s Facebook account, and pretend that I really am a web geek, and figure out what to include and not include on her privacy settings.
- I’m resentful that the selfish little executives at Facebook don’t let any of us “opt in” to their new additions. They just spring these new things, (Like Facebook Places) on us, without asking if we’re ok with Facebook sharing our stuff.
(If I understand “Facebook Places” correctly, everybody reading this, who is on Facebook, and accesses me, (or my child) will know where I am).
Lisa Barone wrote over at Small Business Trends that, “Facebook Places allows you to see where your friends are and to share your location with the real world. You can see which of your friends are nearby, tag the people you’re with and leave comments on their updates.”
Bad Stuff Happens
Facebook obviously attracts the seedy types, and it seems that there are tragic stories popping up more often. CNN just reported that “three teens who were on a 69-name hit list posted on Facebook have been killed in the past 10 days in a southwestern Colombian town.”
A “hit list” was posted on Facebook?
How about the “redheaded” teen who was beaten, because of a Facebook posting. (Supposedly)
My “Place” is None Of Your Business
I don’t want you to know exactly where I am, and I certainly don’t want you to know where my daughter is.
Unless I choose to let you know where I am. Or where she is.
And, my daughter shouldn’t have to “accidentally” find out that people do know where she’s at, just because I couldn’t keep up, and/or figure out how to change the privacy setting on her account.
An Open Letter To Mr. Zuckerberg
You don’t get to choose, anymore. No way. No how.
Yes, I know that your service is free, and that since it’s free, you feel that you get to control everything. You’re wrong. You see, I’m your customer. You make money from me. You get to broadcast that you have “300 million subscribers,” and get all that free PR, because of me. (And because of the other 299.999 million subscribers)
You get to make oodles of money on your ads, because of me, and because you now have enough information to target what I “like” etc.
You now have way too much information about my teenage daughter. (Teenage girls are often targets of cyber-crimes, including stalkers who would like nothing else than to rape her, or worse.) How dare you.
Do you sleep well at night? Do you ever feel even a little guilty about how you are choosing to do business?
Is all the money that you’re making, and that you’re going to make, worth it, if a kid gets killed, or raped, because of your really dangerous privacy policies?
Here’s what I’d like need you to do;
- Revert every personal and business account’s privacy settings to “private”
- Make it super-easy to opt-in to every privacy question, including simple explanations, with some examples of some worse-case scenarios that could happen if we opt-in to a “make public” button.
- When you introduce any new platform changes/tools, (like Places) don’t assume that we want to “opt-in.” Ask us. One more time;ask us.
- Develop a conscience. And be totally transparent. It will work out fine for you. You’ll still make tons of money. (Maybe even more money)
Get it together. Fast. Too many people can get hurt.
Finally, in an interesting twist, I tried to find a picture of Mr. Zuckerberg’s house. (I even searched for an image of his car)
I couldn’t find anything.
Zuckerbeg must really like his privacy.
Please follow me on Twitter. You’ll be glad you did.
***** Before I switched from Typepad’s comment tool to Intense Debate (What I’m using now) I saved some of the comments that I received from this Facebook post. Here they are;
Thanks for the Reply, honestly, we need to learn to be responsible for out own actions. If I go on Facebook that’s a choice I make and it’s not Facebook’s fault. it’s basic common sense, if you don’t want people to know things about you, don’t share them on the internet simple as that. as for my Privacy, I am completely aware that anything I share on the internet could be accessed by anyone at any moment which is why I am tactful about what I share. it really all boils down to people taking responsibility for their own actions and to stop blaming websites for using information we put on silver platters for them.
Perhaps you should spend more time educating your daughter on the realities of online networking than just researching security settings weekly. The reality of the internet is that regardless of privacy settings, people are much more tech-savvy and can bypass these settings entirely. I’m not someone who can hack accounts or software, but I do know your full name. You also list the city you live in on your own Facebook profile. As a result, without the help of Facebook Places or FourSquare, you are helping all the rapists locate your daughter. Look, it’s simple. We can’t avoid all the sociopaths in the world so we have to understand how to best protect ourselves against these threats. Maybe this is a defeatist attitude, but it’s also reality. Sending Zuckerberg letters crying rape is not going to resolve anything today or tomorrow, so I stick to reality. It is not a requirement to list any personal information on your profile. You don’t even have to use your real name. Limit what you put online and if it scares you to the point of rapists lurking outside your home, get off the internet. Understand that this is coming from a young female professional who has been on social media sites since a young teen. It is not impossible to educate teenagers so do not overlook your responsibility as a parent and blame it on the rich. No one has chained you or your kin to a computer chair.
Thanks for chiming in. Here’s the skinny; Free and Privacy don’t go hand in hand. The folks at Facebook have an attitude problem. Period. They don’t seem to be very concerned about your privacy either, by the way. Yes, it’s my choice to stay or go. FB does’nt impact my life too much, so if I do split, I won’t lose any sleep. The Franchise King®
I don’t understand why Facebook privacy is such a big issue. We all make the choice to post on Facebook, update our statuses, add friends and do those oh so annoying quizzes, so what makes Facebook responsible? May I remind everyone that Facebook is a free platform for sharing and networking, if we are honestly that concerned about our privacy we should just stop using Facebook…. it’s as simple as that.
Joe, Thanks for your comment.I’ve had to make sure that ALL privacy controls were cool several times since April. And yes, it may be time to leave FB. Saundra, Thanks for your support. Zuckerberg may be too smart to kill his goose. (By himself) FB is cool, but really, I don’t remember that many meaningful things that have happened in my life, because of Facebook. I have a funny feeling that I wouldn’t miss too much if it was gone. The Franchise King®
Joel, If your open letter to Zuckerberg were a petition I’d sign it (but not on Facebook!); it says everything I want to say to him. Each Facebook “improvement” makes it harder and harder for sensible people and reputable businesses to use it safely. Do you suppose that one day, in an effort to get more gold out of the goose, Mark Zuckerberg will kill accidentally kill it instead?
From @MariSmith- @Joel – wow, whew, yes that is very very scary. I would dissuade your daughter from using Facebook Places until we all know much more about the safety of the app for minors. It is certainly frustrating to not be able to switch off 100% – we are at the mercy of Facebook’s decision as to what they deem okay to share publicly. By the way, sites like http://youropenbook.org and http://kurrently.com pull up any content that is viewable by everyone.
Loved this post. I try to be super careful about what I post on Facebook. You never know when they’re going to release the next version which overrides all your previous privacy settings. I read a news article yesterday (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11108891) about another social network that will be launching later this year with the intent of protecting user’s privacy. I’m personally looking forward to that. On another note, I’m not just worried about teens, I’m worried about people like my parents and the older generation who don’t understand online security risks. The older generation who use it always post personal things and don’t even think about privacy. Yikes!