Facebook Privacy? Really?
A recent admission by Facebook that information about users was sent to the company whether or not they were logged in at the time has stirred up quite a bit of outrage and indignation across the Internet. The company claims the breach was simply a mistake, and that software “inadvertently” sent user information to Facebook.
Really, Facebook? We weren't born yesterday. Do you really expect anyone to believe that? I can't. At this point, I kind of expect that you are doing this sort of thing, and I don't get upset with you about it. I get upset with people who are shocked that it happens.
According to an article in the Daily Mail, the website’s practices were exposed by Australian technology blogger Nick Cubrilovic, and Facebook claims the issue has since been corrected.
And, like every other instance when Facebook did something hinky, people are upset at the company, when they fail to accept their part in the situation.
Every time Facebook makes a change, users rail against it. And every time, the outrage fades, and people go back to their usual Facebook routines, until they find something else to complain about. It’s as predictable as the setting sun.
“Who the hell do these people think they are?” railed one commenter on CNET. “Why should we trust a company that spies on us without our knowledge and consent?”
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But before you complain about some evil corporate entity, take a look at how you are part of the problem. Because, even in the Internet era, some eternal truths apply.
First: you can’t be a victim when you volunteer. And every time you update your profile, “like” something, or add an application, you are volunteering. If you don’t understand the terms of the deal, shouldn’t that be on you?
Second: if someone is bothering you or making you uncomfortable, you always have the option to walk away. So it’s up to you to weigh the costs versus the benefits. If you value privacy more than catching up with friends and family online, the responsible thing would be to leave Facebook. So don’t make it sound like you’ve been locked in the basement and forced to play Farmville. There are other things you could be doing!