What’s private might not be so private anymore

Facebook- the social media site that has taken the world by storm. With 1 million users in 2004 to over 400 million users in 2010, Facebook has become one of the most common ways to communicate with people not only on the other side of the world but next door too.

Despite the number of users, Facebook has recently been taking slack from many of its followers. It has slowly been increasing the amount of data that can be shared with “friends” on Facebook. Between December 2004 and April 2010, Facebook has increased the amount of items that are available for public viewing from 4 to over 8. This means that information that is put up on Facebook has gone from being available for viewing for Facebook users, to available for the world to see. Not a good thing if your mate put pictures up of that time you passed out drunk, hugging the toilet bowl.

Facebook suicide

There was recently a website formed, www.quitfacebook.com, that petitioned the privacy settings. The plan that was to follow was for Facebook users to “kill off” their social network profiles. Quit Facebook Day on the 31st May 2010 had almost 30 000 members who planned to say goodbye to the addictive site forever. They felt violated by Facebook’s privacy policy and settings. However not all of the angry users did delete their profiles.

The creator and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and the rest of the team have nothing to worry about should more people decide to cut ties with the popular social site. Facebook is gaining a monstrous 35 000 users an hour. To break that down for you, that’s about 10 users every second, all over the world.

Privacy control on Facebook

With so many complaints about Facebook privacy settings there have been changes made to try decrease the amount of personal information and data that is available to the public. A privacy setting has been added to all content. It applies to contact details, photos and status updates. Facebookers can now decide whether or not they want to share their information with Facebook friends, friends- of- friends or everyone on the internet. Less information will be available to the public from now on and games applications on Facebook will have to ask the Facebook account holder for permission to access private information.

Over the last few months, Facebook has received harsh criticism from regulators. The European Commission and advocacy groups such as Electronic Frontier Foundation have made remarks and complaints about Facebook’s privacy settings. Facebook was accused of steering users towards sharing private information instead of keeping it private.

Mark Zuckerberg says that because so many new applications and features have been added to Facebook, it became almost impossible for users to control the privacy settings. They became complicated and difficult to use. Let’s just hope that they have overcome this hiccup and that we can continue posting those crazy weekend pics up without the rest of the world having a good laugh at us.

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