The current flare in media coverage over the newly implemented Facebook changes has been filled withoutrage at the fact that Facebook seems to have a total disregard to its user’s privacy.
But do we really have a right to privacy, or have we unknowingly forfeited this right through our unremitting social media adoration?
On the surface it’s easy to see why users are infuriated over the recent changes, especially when anything you do on the web is suddenly blasted to all of your friends (which, let’s be honest, really consists of actual friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and people you randomly met and added to your network) without your consent and without your knowledge.
This scrutiny of the over sharing of information has even been brought to the attention of the Federal Trade Commission and the “unfair and deceptive acts” clause (though right now it’s uncertain if the FTC will actually investigate or not) which should paint a picture of just how incensed people seem to be over these issues.
“When people log out of Facebook, they are under the expectation that Facebook is no longer monitoring their activities. We believe this impression should be the reality,” Congressmen Edward J. Markey and Joe Barton recently wrote in a letter to the FTC.
Is that really the expectation of Facebook users though? Despite the outpouring of exasperated wall posts and snarky comments regarding Facebook’s newest changes, we have shown repeatedly — since the very first privacy concerns in 2004 – - that we get a certain high off of following every action that our friends engage in.
This is something that has affectionately been termed Facebook stalking, and we’ve proven that despite any concerns we may have, we still will actively use the site.
Naturally, Facebook has countered the accusations, and issued the following statement in response to Barton and Markey:
Regardless of whether you are logged in or not, we do not use the information we receive when you visit a site with the like button or another social plug-in to create a profile of your browsing behavior on third-party sites or to show you ads, although we may use anonymous or aggregate data to improve ads generally. We delete or anonymize the information we receive within 90 days, and we don’t sell it to advertisers or share it without your permission.
While the debate over whether what Facebook is doing is right or not will likely continue, it’s also pretty safe to say that the social media conglomerate is not going anywhere.
We have allowed the site to become so entrenched in both our personal and professional lives that it’s unlikely that the latest privacy concerns will have any lasting effect in our continued use of the site.
Guest writer Laura Backes covers Internet service providers when she’s not writing about social media.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.