Facebook and Lack of Privacy

Posted in Commentary at 9:07 pm by Jason G.

As if my previous comments on the topic weren’t enough…  here’s the latest reason not to use social networking sites like Facebook…  (from PhysOrg)

Turns out, even the privacy-conscious Sarah Browns of the world freely hand over personal information to perfect strangers. They do so every time they download and install what’s known as an “application,” one of thousands of mini-programs on a growing number of social networking sites that are designed by third-party developers for anything from games and sports teams to trivia quizzes and virtual gifts.

Brown, for instance, has installed applications on her Facebook page for Boston Bruins fans and another that allows her to post “bumper stickers” on her own page and those of her friends. It’s a core way to communicate on social networking sites, which allow friends to create pages about themselves and post photos and details about their lives and interests.

People often think Facebook profiles and sometimes MySpace pages, if they’re set as private, are only available to friends or specific groups, such as a university, workplace, or even a city.

But that’s not true if they use applications. On Facebook, for instance, applications can only be downloaded if a user checks a box allowing its developers to “know who I am and access my information,” which means everything on a profile, except contact info. Given little thought, agreeing to the terms has become a matter of routine for the nearly 70 million Facebook users worldwide who use applications to spruce up their pages and to flirt, play and bond with friends online.