Facebook Revamps Privacy Settings

Facebook announced its new privacy features today. You can read more here. The changes seem to be generating praise.

Facebook has become so complicated and so perilous. About the only feature I use regularly is "send a private message." If I want to comment on what a friend wrote, I don't want every other friend getting a message on their page saying I commented on X's status or I like what X wrote or I wished X a happy birthday.

And while I like seeing what my friends put on their pages, I feel like a voyeur reading about who they became friends with, who they like or what they think about someone else's photos and postings. [More...]

I'd be much more likely to enter a discussion on FB if my comments stayed on the discussion page and didn't get broadcasted beyond it.

Maybe I'm just anti-social. Or, maybe Facebook is just so big it's impossible to take part and not become over-exposed.

If you're on FB, what do you think are it's best and worse features?

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    Never Saw The Draw (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by squeaky on Wed May 26, 2010 at 06:29:47 PM EST
    Although most everyone I know has an account.. I am still a holdout. Just do not see the appeal.

    If you ask me... (none / 0) (#32)
    by kdog on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:37:44 AM EST
    Facebook is kinda anti-social.  Twitter too.  I just don't see any depth to these forms of socializing, like our convos here, or a phone convo, a proper email or old-fashioned letter, or face-to-face human interaction have depth...it seems very shallow, but maybe I just don't get it either.  

    I seem to keep up with my love, my family & friends from all over without it just fine...and there is a certain charm to getting an old fashioned letter in the mail and mailing them...it's more human.

    I wonder about the long-term effects of the phenomenon...will the kids who grew up im-ing, texting, facebooking, and twittering be missing out a special slice of being human?  


    I use FB (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by jbindc on Thu May 27, 2010 at 08:51:25 AM EST
    Not that much, but I have managed to catch up with old friends from elementary school, high school, college, old work colleagues, and family.  It's nice to see their families, what they've been up to all these years, but I also don't have to have in depth conversations with most of them.  I would have never been able to catch up with these people without FB.  

    Of course, I know what kinds of things to post, so I'm not worried about what people will see.  And Kdog, you would be proud - the most incriminating thing I have is a picture of me trying to smoke hookah.


    heh (none / 0) (#34)
    by CST on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:07:11 AM EST
    mine is also very p.c. and all my friends at this point know and keep it clean.

    This made me laugh because the other day a friend of mine showed me photos she wouldn't post on fb because she wasn't sure if we wanted people to see them.  One of those photos is me smoking a hookah.  Which really wouldn't bother me, I just think it's funny that your page is more "incriminating" than mine.


    My friends (none / 0) (#38)
    by jbindc on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:50:22 AM EST
    Are pretty clean because most of them are parents with kids also on FB!  I had one 13 year old girl (the daughter of a friend from elementary - high school who lived around the corner from me)send me a message "Do you really know my grandma?"

    As someone with no children, I forget that I'm 41 and that most people my age have kids (some of my friends have kids in college!  Yikes!)

    My friends are old people - but not me, of course!


    that's funny (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by CST on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:08:29 AM EST
    my friends are clean because their parents are now on FB.

    Although some are starting to have kids, they are not old enough to have their own accounts yet.


    Only trying? (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:10:04 AM EST
    You mean you weren't sucessful?...:)

    I guess it does make it easy to find old acquaintances...I guess I'm just not interested...usually there is a reason you lose touch with somebody, a dear old friend you don't let that happen.


    Most of the people (none / 0) (#37)
    by jbindc on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:46:46 AM EST
    Who are my FB friends weren't close friends of mine, but it's nice to see what they're doing and where they are.  I found a friend in Bangkok, Columbia, Iraq / Afghanistan, England, Japan, and all over the country. I found people in professions that I never DREAMED they would be in or doing things I never imagined - the military (the very geeky guy who was my high school class salutatorian), an FBI agent (my high school friend who is a tiny woman who giggled a lot and played the oboe), a guy who works at ESPN, an environmental attorney, a wedding planner, a guy who used to run a specialized auto detailing shop is now studying to be a nurse, a tomboy who now makes her kids' clothing, etc.

    And yes, I attempted to smoke hookah.  I puffed on it for a while, but since I'm not a smoker, I don't think I was doing it right (although my throat was pretty raw the next day).  I can say I tried it, but I won't do it again!


    Likely story... (none / 0) (#39)
    by kdog on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:56:29 AM EST
    Bill Clinton:)

    Now thats my kinda social networking...sitting 'round the hookah with some interesting cats, preferably a "special blend".  


    Not THAT kind (none / 0) (#40)
    by jbindc on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:06:29 AM EST
    It was strawberry flavored (I guess you call it that).  Shared at Gazooza - a hookah bar in DuPont Circle here in DC.

    I know... (none / 0) (#42)
    by kdog on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:13:24 AM EST
    just joshin' on "didn't inhale".

    I salute your embrace of experimentation, even if unsucessful:)


    I thought that (none / 0) (#43)
    by jbindc on Thu May 27, 2010 at 10:16:37 AM EST
    As I wrote it.

    I DID inhale - kinda.

    But at least you didn't ask me if I wear boxers or briefs.  :)


    Seems Too Good To Be True (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by squeaky on Wed May 26, 2010 at 07:37:06 PM EST
    The fact that Facebook owns everything you put there, may explain why they are so generously providing the playground.

    I do use it (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by ruffian on Wed May 26, 2010 at 07:55:26 PM EST
    But I always assume anything I put out there will be read by the world, so I keep it pretty bland. Mostly keep in touch with old friends around the country trading music choices and quips. And tease my sister and niece and nephew. I never click on the ads or play the games. I don't post political opinions except to 'like' the occasional post by other people.

    For any serious info i use the private message feature.

    What I do like is being able to put something out there like a song lyric or other bit of pop culture or some funny news from my day and have my friends from different places and phases of life, many of whom have never met,  all commenting back and forth to each other. Kind of like a TL thread without the political arguments.  

    I've never signed up to FB (none / 0) (#31)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:53:45 AM EST
    despite many invites from friends, etc. So I know almost nothing about it.

    But, if they keep all this information, don't they also keep and use the private message info?


    Use the proper tools for the proper purpose (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by Pete Guither on Thu May 27, 2010 at 09:12:19 AM EST
    Facebook is not the place for communicating privately with family.  There are plenty of other places for that.

    Facebook is designed like a very large group discussion.  Think of it as a big circle of people in your living room talking.  You talk to the person next to you, then overhear something that two other people are talking about and join in that conversation.

    The trick is to decide what you want to share in that context, and also who you want to include in the living room.

    Don't friend everyone.  Don't share what you don't want to share with the group.

    For many people, this is not only an extremely stimulating social mechanism, but an excellent way to keep connected to a large number of friends in a variety of places.  It's a lot more personal and interactive than sending out Christmas cards every year.

    If Facebook didn't have the news feed, it would merely be another email program.  Complaining about the news feed on Facebook is like complaining about the existence of pictures on television.  Perhaps you should be listening to the radio.

    My thoughts exactly! (none / 0) (#1)
    by lilburro on Wed May 26, 2010 at 06:27:54 PM EST
    I have a Facebook account but rarely use it anymore because of their whole social/news feed thing.  I absolutely loathe the fact that any little thing I announce or say is part of some stream that 200+ people, some of whom I hardly know, can see.  "Back in the day" aka 3 years ago or so facebook was fun for me because of the Wall posts.  But what was an inside joke then is now all over the place.  And (to my knowledge) you can't turn it off.

    I appreciate both the anonymous and far too personal parts of the Internet.  We need both.  As much as I would want to be the FB friend of many people here, would I really want to forsake "lilburro"?  Developing a pseudonym is also fun.

    At one point in the past, those (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Wed May 26, 2010 at 06:40:13 PM EST
    person to person messages on Facebook were mistakenly broadcast beyond the addressee(s).

    I haven't been (none / 0) (#4)
    by JamesTX on Wed May 26, 2010 at 06:46:53 PM EST
    particularly concerned until lately because the information on my page in no way represents who I am. It is a random selection of people and events which won't give you much valid information about me, and will likely leave you very misled about who I am and how I live. But lately I have noticed something troubling. When I go to some websites, those sites appear to display a frame which appears to link directly to my personal facebook page. I can't come up with an explanation of how that works unless my browser transmits my facebook login information to others without my knowledge, or at least it keeps that information stored and logs into facebook when prompted by a web page to do so. Does any one know how that works? For instance, I have noticed a few times lately (I can't recall the specific websites) where I go to a news website totally unrelated to facebook, and somewhere in that web page a small frame appears which shows the latest messages written on my facebook page. This occurs without my having logged into facebook and without giving the website any information about me. That suggests to me that my facebook identity is following me around as I surf and possibly being transmitted to the sites that I visit. That doesn't particularly frighten me, but I am curious and not particularly happy about it.

    Facebook seems to broadcast stuff (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by oculus on Wed May 26, 2010 at 06:54:12 PM EST
    and leave it to you to change your Facebook privacy settings (of which there are many)to prevent broadcast.  Last time I checked the privacy settings the categories had multiplied.

    Facebook's Violations (none / 0) (#10)
    by norris morris on Wed May 26, 2010 at 07:25:23 PM EST
    I became alarmed  when  my emails were appearing on sites inspite of my privacy settings. Facebook sets up a myriad system of privacy rules over 5000 words long [longer than the US Constitution] that are difficult, misleading, and time consuming to deal with or even understand.

    I then erased my personal history/bio until I saw my name, emails, and finally the last straw. My photo that was originally put on my page, wound up all over the web on many websites.  When I saw a photo of myself [only Facebook had it] on Huffington Post, I freaked.

    Inspite of privacy settings  information and photos  appeared in a lot of places.

    I left Facebook after many tries. It ain't easy. I feel they're the KGB of the internet, and apparently third parties or fourth parties have access to  information I held as private.

    I've left Facebook, but I understand they retain much information and still use it to third parties or whatever.  It stopped being fun and I felt vandalized, but I'm off their pages.


    Facebook Information Leaks (none / 0) (#14)
    by norris morris on Wed May 26, 2010 at 07:45:59 PM EST
    I suspect between your email [IP address], it gets moved thru browser. I am sure there are other ways that are used by third parties who get info from Facebook and who knows?  Any site you visit on a Facebbok page also can access info. Cached.

    This is not a good thing, and ultimately Facebook may change for the better.  I happen to doubt it as their income is tied to the information they have which is valuable to marketers and others. The ads on Facebook themselves, and the Organizations, etc. are also privvy to information all about you.

     I understand that Facebook retains much of this personal info after you leave.  Checking off lotsa privacy issues to leave is a drag and very time consuming and confusing.


    The main reason (none / 0) (#5)
    by Zorba on Wed May 26, 2010 at 06:48:33 PM EST
    I use Facebook is to connect with far-flung family and friends, mainly to see pictures of their kids and grand-kids and find out what everyone is up to in a general way.  (If I have anything "private" to say, I email them.)  Otherwise, I don't use it that much- I check it about twice a month.  The privacy settings are a huge pain in the wazoo to find and change on Facebook, despite its new "privacy settings."

    I want to get rid of my Facebook page (none / 0) (#6)
    by kmblue on Wed May 26, 2010 at 06:48:45 PM EST
    I was never into it and I never will be.  Someone kindly tell me how to kill it.  Thanks.  

    It is easy to "deactivate." I haven't (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Wed May 26, 2010 at 06:55:14 PM EST
    figured out how to cancel and delete.

    Leaving Facebook (none / 0) (#11)
    by norris morris on Wed May 26, 2010 at 07:31:16 PM EST
    It ain't easy. Another reason to hate them. I went to privacy settings and forth and backed until I finally got out. Just give yourself an hour, or more.

    Here's a how-to link (none / 0) (#22)
    by spiceweazel on Wed May 26, 2010 at 09:32:02 PM EST
    An improvement (none / 0) (#12)
    by andgarden on Wed May 26, 2010 at 07:33:19 PM EST
    And not a moment too soon.

    But you have a Blog J! (none / 0) (#16)
    by Radix on Wed May 26, 2010 at 08:10:14 PM EST
    I'd be much more likely to enter a discussion on FB if my comments stayed on the discussion page and didn't get broadcasted beyond it.

    and there's a lot I don't put (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Wed May 26, 2010 at 08:41:58 PM EST
    on this blog. I try to keep my personal life out of it. FB, on the other hand, has my interactions with people I went to elementary, high school and college with, people I know from TV appearances, extended family, the TL kid's friends and their parents, and much more. What I write on TL is meant to be public and disseminated, that's the point of a blog. What I put on FB is not. I'm really tired of FB, but I don't want to lose touch with many people I connect with there. I just want it to be private. And while the new controls announced today may be a step in the right direction, I'm pretty convinced the FB experience has already worn me out and I'll be giving it up.

    Exactly! (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by andgarden on Wed May 26, 2010 at 08:57:13 PM EST
    Can you explain your issue with Linkedin? (none / 0) (#19)
    by shoephone on Wed May 26, 2010 at 09:03:47 PM EST
    I remember you mentioned about a week ago that you had a problem with that site. I've been seriously considering using it as a way to get work and I'd rather know upfront what the drawbacks are.

    Simular issues. (none / 0) (#21)
    by Radix on Wed May 26, 2010 at 09:06:34 PM EST
    By design LinkedIn is not really all that private. So when you post your work experience and such, by design, it's public.

    Other than the phone # and email on a resume (none / 0) (#24)
    by shoephone on Wed May 26, 2010 at 10:02:25 PM EST
    I don't see the inherent privacy problem with Linkedin. It's not as if a person looking for work is going to be posting personal information, right? It's not very similar to FB, as far as I can tell.

    Anayway, Jeralyn, if you get a moment, I'd like to know what your issue is with that site.


    They get a name and phone number (none / 0) (#30)
    by Radix on Thu May 27, 2010 at 01:38:11 AM EST
    plus your entire work history. Then, they can go to FB and see what other info can be cleaned. That's a pretty good picture of a person, no?

    An old business colleague joined Linkedin and (none / 0) (#27)
    by caseyOR on Wed May 26, 2010 at 10:58:54 PM EST
    I got an email informing me that she had joined and asking me to join her at Linkedin. I made the mistake of clicking the link, but did not give any info and exited quickly. Then I got a second email from them. That one informed me that many people in my life enjoy Linkedin and provided the names and email addresses of several people in my email address book, both family and friends. Totally freaked me out.

    I contacted these people. Most of them did not  use Linkedin, and their only connection to each other was me.  Some use Facebook, which I have never used. How did Linkedin connect me with those people? Did they somehow grab my address book?

    Totally creepy.


    Thanks for that info (none / 0) (#28)
    by shoephone on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:18:33 AM EST
    It makes Linkedin sound much creepier than I imagined! My sister got on it last year and thought it was a great way to make contacts in her field, but I don't know if she experienced the creepy stuff or not.

    There's a reason I'm not on FB, and now I may have to reconsider how to promote my wares without seeing weird infringements like the one you described.


    Linked In & Facebook (none / 0) (#45)
    by norris morris on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:44:58 PM EST
    I had the same experience with Linked In. Very creepy.

    I also has a creepier experience with Facebook.
    My personal photo that appeared on my Facebook page appeared in Huffington Post!  There I was all over the Internet. Surprise!! Other privacy issues were violated, and the difficulties and ridiculous [over 5000 words]needed to adjust privacy settings
    is manipulative in the extreme.

    Facebooks disregard of privacy is toxic, and have removed myself. Providing of course if I checked the 150 items needed to get out[takes over an hour] and I believe them when they say it really will take them 2 weeks. Why 2 weeks in this age of digital wonders? This is baloney.

    The manipulations involved in these practices is scary, and undemocratic. Someone has to protect internet privacy, and we really need to pressure our elected representatives to effect internet laws re: privacy regulations and restrictions.


    I suppose I understand. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Radix on Wed May 26, 2010 at 09:04:14 PM EST
    I personally just keep my comments/posts pithy. If I need to talk to anyone privately I use email or the phone.

    Pithy? (none / 0) (#46)
    by norris morris on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:47:36 PM EST
    Pithy or not, your personal info is being peddled to third parties and marketed to who knows what.

    If you don't mind this kind of violation, fine.

    You have no control as to how your private information is being used.


    I have family in England (none / 0) (#25)
    by Raskolnikov on Wed May 26, 2010 at 10:16:19 PM EST
    My mother especially and its the best way to get in touch with them.  I haven't set up international calling on my cell phone and getting hold of my mother is more or less impossible with the six hour time difference and the fact that we both work 50 hours a week.  I rarely check e-mail as I've accrued four accounts over the years and its a hassle, so PMs from family members are great.  I use it basically the same way as text messaging, asking for addresses or sending little "how are you?" blurbs to cousins.

    The privacy stuff doesn't bother me too much, even though it probably should.  Interesting (but not great) documentary to watch if you have Netflix is "We Live in Public".  Late 90s/early 2000s experiments/"art projects" into privacy issues and around the clock surveillance -- totally open society type stuff.  Creepy but prescient.

    see, there are (none / 0) (#26)
    by cpinva on Wed May 26, 2010 at 10:17:38 PM EST
    advantages in being a shallow person, with no opinions of my own!

    Open alternatives (none / 0) (#29)
    by Andreas on Thu May 27, 2010 at 12:26:56 AM EST
    Several federated Open Source alternatives are in preparation.

    Facebook's Manipulations (none / 0) (#44)
    by norris morris on Thu May 27, 2010 at 06:34:23 PM EST
    Does anyone believe Facebooks claim that "they make nothing on their members"? Every other website asks you to comment on their Facebook account. Their page advertisers,games, etc. all contribute to Facebooks bottom line one way or the other.

    The hubris and manipuliations regarding Facebooks privacy issues are not new. I left Facebook over 3 weeks ago and was told after a myriad series of checks and deletions that it would take them two weeks to delete me. The difficulty in removing oneself from Facebook are laughable.  They make it inordinately complicated in order to hang on to your personal information so they can peddle it to third and possibly more parties,

    My photo appearing on Facebook wound up om the Huffington Post!  I freaked! Privacy issues I had put in place were violated.  I had blocked out friends of friends, but this was ignored and many emails were sent pestering me inspite of my privacy preferences.

     Unless Facebook can swear to truly delete the information they have literally swiped, they will be looking at class actions in the future.

    They have been less than candid and have literally set up privacy traps for their users.

    Hopefully they will change these practices, but how will they profit from using your private information?  Mmmmm.