By Rhonda Callow (external - login to view)Comments (17) (external - login to view)
In a New York Times’ article (external - login to view) published on Sunday, blogger Nick Bilton talked about how social networking is eroding people’s privacy. “While it can be merely a nuisance when others put you on public view, it can have serious unintended consequences when people discover things you had intended to keep private,” he said.
It can indeed have unintended serious consequences, and it’s a fact that’s underscored by a Wall Street Journal article entitled When the Most Personal Secrets Get Outed on Facebook (external - login to view).
A couple of gay University of Texas’ students – Bobbi Duncan and Taylor McCormick – had, according to the WSJ, concealed their sexual orientation from their parents. They’d even adjusted their privacy settings in order to keep certain details private. “Once I had my Facebook settings set, I knew—or thought I knew—there wasn’t any problem,” said Duncan. How wrong she was.
Duncan and McCormick’s problems began when the president of the university’s gay choir – the Queer Chorus – added them to the choir’s Facebook group. As soon as they were added, Facebook automatically posted an update – visible in all the news feeds of their friends and family – stating that they’d been invited to join the Queer Chorus group.
The updates were seen by the students’ parents. McCormick’s father didn’t speak to him for three weeks while Duncan’s father, a member of a fundamentalist church, called her leaving angry voice mails, threatened to stop paying her car insurance and posted this message on his own Facebook page: “To all you queers. Go back to your holes and wait for GOD. Hell awaits you pervert. Good luck singing there.”
More here:Facebook privacy loophole outs students (external - login to view)
Moronic parental responses in the article aside (Honestly, how the hell can these people call themselves parents?) I have never, and will never, comprehend the popularity of Facebook. Has the term "Facebook Privacy Settings" been added to the oxymoron list yet? Because if not, it should be.
Setting aside the often brought up advice that individuals need to adjust their own privacy settings (some people in this world, sadly, would need to be instructed to breathe were it not autonomic), this program itself seems to actively work against even those that try to maintain some semblance of privacy.
Between prospective employers now requiring Facebook information for applicants and regular online trolls just looking to wreak havoc, I cannot understand why everyone seems to be so all fired up to have a Facebook page of their very own. The potential downside seems to vastly outweigh the possibility of anything positive coming out of it from my point of view. I am perplexed over it, I really am. I am a strong believer in keeping work and public 'life' separate from private. What the hell could possibly be worth the potential risks?