facebook privacy changes are mainstream news. an informative article in today’s wall street journal helps explain why facebook adjusted privacy settings. it also offered some great news regarding an issue a lot of people have had with the changes.
that issue? the changed settings removed the ability to hide information like your friend list and the facebook pages of which you are a fan from applications and pretty much anyone with an internet connection. the protest was loud and surprisingly universal. the article reports “in response to users complaints, the friends list can now be restricted to be viewed only by friends”.
call me an idiot, but I had a real problem with the instructions for setting friend list visibility provided in facebook’s blog. I was thrown off by the discussion of privacy settings and my mistaken belief the author meant the friends tab. in fact, it’s pretty simple and is done right on your profile page.
just make sure the check box is not checked and nobody except your friends will know who else made your a-list.
given the speed with which facebook responded to the friend list protest, I am hopeful they will also restore the ability to keep your facebook pages private, too.
the wsj author closes her column with a harsh view of the changes and how they will affect her:
Just as Facebook turned friends a commodity, it has likewise gathered our personal data – our updates, our baby photos, our endless chirping birthday notes— and readied it to be bundled and sold.
So I give up. Rather than fighting to keep my Facebook profile private, I plan to open it up to the public – removing the fiction of intimacy and friendship.
But I will also remove the vestiges of my private life from Facebook and make sure I never post anything that I wouldn’t want my parents, employer, next-door neighbor or future employer to see. You’d be smart to do the same.
We’ll need to treat this increasingly public version of Facebook with the same hard-headedness that we treat Twitter: as a place to broadcast, but not a place for vulnerability. A place to carefully calibrate, sanitize and bowdlerize our words for every possible audience, now and forever. Not a place for intimacy with friends.
I disagree. I never treated facebook as a collection of intimate friends to whom I could pour out my angst and my sorrows. even the high school and college kids who use the site as their primary communications medium aren’t generally that dopey. the tales of jobs lost and relationships ended are largely apocryphal, but nonetheless most of us know not to post stuff that will get us in hot water. but I digress…
are you happy about the news? how do you feel about the changes in general? let me know in the comments below.
photo credit martin addison CC 2.0 generic