Things to Consider When Posting on Facebook.

by admin on July 24, 2008

I have a Facebook account; as do most of the people I know. It is a wonderful social networking tool; a way for me to know the whereabouts and activities of extended family members. I am kept up to date on births, anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions in peoples’ lives. I am compared with and ranked against all of my friends, I am sent drinks and quizzes and I have even had family arguments through Facebook. All of these things are stored, documented and could be sold to interested (and supposedly responsible) third parties. Not only does Facebook collect the information about you from what you enter; it can also gather information about you from other sources on the Internet. WTF?? Have a look at Facebook’s Terms of Use and Privacy Statement. Here is an excerpt: “We may use information about you that we collect from other sources, including but not limited to newspapers and Internet sources such as blogs, instant messaging services, Facebook Platform developers and other users of Facebook, to supplement your profile.” Despite this disclaimer, Facebook says that it will not sell any information that it gathers to any third party; I suppose the disclaimer is so that they can leave their options open for future opportunities.

A potential area of concern for young people should be how their current postings and activities will be viewed by potential employers and colleges when they become adults and venture into the world. It is difficult to remove things from the Internet once they are out there, and anyone with a computer can Google you to learn more about that beer bong party with the topless girls at the lake when you were 16. It used to be that you could delete your Facebook account, but your file would still remain in their system, but now, you are able to call Facebook and have your records erased. If you are concerned at all, contact Facebook and confirm that any record of your activity on their website has been erased. Be sure to ask your friends and family not to tag you in any photographs; especially embarrassing or compromising ones. Even though you may not have an account, doesn’t mean that your name won’t show up if you are tagged in a picture. On the very day that I wrote this article, Google News reported on the launch of Facebook Connect, an expansion that will make Facebook accessible to software makers who can use member information (with permission) to benefit their websites. Last year Facebook really took off when thousands of software applications were exclusively built for Facebook users. This new project is an expansion of this concept with tighter security restrictions. Last year, Facebook shut down 1000 applications for security violations and subsequently are instituting tighter controls over these applications.

I will continue to use my Facebook account. I like social networking, knowing what my friends and family are up to, and having an online event calendar chock a block full of invitations. It is an incredibly powerful tool for keeping connections alive. Just make sure to ask yourself if you are posting information that you wouldn’t mind anyone to read in the present or future and as with many things, read the disclaimers and policy statements.

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