Just as a quick review – People who originally joined Facebook were told that their privacy was protected, especially in the case of students who were young, communicating with other class mates. These kids were sheltered from older alumni. In late 2009, this all changed. Facebook opened up everyone’s profiles to anyone. Unfortunately, they did this for you automatically.
Since late 2009, Facebook continues to slowly open up your information to as many people and potential advertisers as possible. The only protection you have is to be updated by groups like Menlo Technical Consulting to explain these changes.
On January 15, 2011, Facebook opened up a Personal Data Sharing feature. This means if someone is your friend in Facebook, or is friends with someone who uses a game like Mafia Wars, then they give Mafia Wars developers your information without needing to ask your permission.
On January 18, 2011, Facebook suspended this ‘feature’ of information sharing in response to the users complaining that this ‘update’ was not well explained. Read more on this here.
On March 2, 2011, Facebook announced they are planning on sharing your information with outside developers whenever these developers request it when you start using their application. The details are written in an article “Facebook to share home addresses, phone numbers” The article claims:
Facebook managers are still working out specifics, but under a plan the company outlined late last month, the site would allow users to plug their address and phone number into applications they run on their accounts. The information would be shared only after a user specifically grants permission, and the information could be removed at any time by making a few changes in the user’s settings panel.
If Facebook follows their past behavior, this privacy issue could simply be a new section in the Privacy Area that you have to turn off, explicitly. It is manual opt-out; you are automatically updated to share your information. Be on the look out for any changes to the Privacy Section as mentioned in our earlier blog post “Facebook Privacy Settings – HIDDEN EXPOSURE”
Menlo Technical has always explained that social media cannot control all privacy concerns. There may be merit in representing yourself with fake information – and keeping a log book or remembering two regularly used alternative Dates of Birth and locations of residence to ‘fake out’ Identity Thieves who crawl the Internet looking for ways to take your identity. Start considering at least one new date of birth and begin using this as a means to keep people away from trying to steal your information.