Facebook users still crying over privacy settings

I quit Facebook over a year ago for what I thought were obvious reasons. Yet every news source I read these days seems to have at least one post about how Facebook is sharing user data, or Facebook privacy settings being too complex, or settings not being fine-grained enough, etc, etc.

I realize this is just a band-wagon effect: one big news source writes a post about it, then all the others follow, and all of a sudden it's the biggest news of the month, until the next pre-release iPhone gets 'found' and dissected.

Facebook seems like a good idea at first: an easy way to find old friends, get connected and stay in touch. This works great when you have 5 people on your list. But soon your work buddies request to be on that same list, as does your boss, your cousin, your mum, your girlfriend, your girlfriend's mum, and her mum's uncle. You can't really reject any of these invitations due to social pressures.

So now you have 50 or 100 people on your list part of your 'friends' circle, who all get to see most of your profile, get to read and post on your wall, get to see who else you're connected to, what other groups you're in, etc. Oh, and since you're on Facebook, anyone can add a photo into any album and tag it with your name, for the whole world to see exactly what you were doing during that Christmas party after 5 beers and 3 bourbons.

Does this really sound like a good thing to anyone? Do people not know the separate worlds theory?! It's a disaster waiting to happen...

If you're worried about privacy on Facebook, you shouldn't be using Facebook. No amount of revisions to settings will help you. The only 'safe' way to use Facebook is to automatically assume that absolutely everything connected to your profile is public to everyone. If there's something on your profile that you don't want someone to see, then no-one should be able to see it. That is, it shouldn't be there in the first place.

So you went to a party on Sunday night. Things got pretty crazy. You got pretty drunk. Lots of photos were taken. You must automatically assume that A) these photos will be added by someone before sunrise, and your name will be tagged in every single shot, and B) your boss and everyone at work will find these by lunch time. Don't even think about calling in sick. Everyone will know exactly what you were up to before you can even walk off your hangover.

So everyone stop b!tchin' - either suck it up, or delete your account!

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