Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

Links of the Week: April 30th Edition

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Two-Thumbs Down to 3-D

Famed movie critic Roger Ebert is not jumping on the 3-D bandwagon. In a Newsweek article published this week, Ebert explains why movie theaters should not overuse the technology and make it “a way of live” for moviegoers.

Hugo Chavez Twitter’s Newest Political Figure

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is officially a Twitter user as of Tuesday. The anti-US critic will be using the microblogging site as a way to send messages to his followers. He’s also reportedly encouraged Bolivian President Evo Morales and controversial Cuban political leader Fidel Castro to also join the site.

NYS Senator Charles Schumer not a Fan of Facebook

New York State Senator Charles Schumer is not a fan of Facebook’s new personalization of their site. He’s written a letter to the FTC asking that they create stringent guidelines for Facebook and other social networking sites.

Apple Releases “Thoughts on Flash”

Apple’s Steve Jobs has released a statement titled “Thoughts on Flash” in which he explains that due to Adobe’s lack of “reliability, security and performance” the iPhone and iPad will not support the Adobe Suite.

Facebook didn’t invade our privacy; We already let Facebook in

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

I was taught long ago that opening a paper with a definition is the easy way out when it comes to shaping your argument, so I apologize in advance to all of those former professors who may be offended. But alas this is a definition that has been twisted so much recently, that I had to look it up for myself.

Privacy(noun)

  1. the state of being private; retirement or seclusion.
  2. the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs: the right to privacy.
  3. secrecy

Yes with the recent major changes quickly coming to the Facebook universe, its no surprise that privacy has again become a hot topic amongst bloggers, more bloggers and even the U.S. Senate.  And while this backlash isn’t unexpected, it certainly isn’t informed, needed, or even (in my opinion) right.  See I think it can boil down fairly easily:

  • We confuse the need for control with the right to  privacy. As it says in the definition we have the right to stay private. However this flies in the face of everything that we love about social networks.  How can we demand privacy when most people will constantly tell the world what they had for dinner? A social network is built by openness.  No, what we want is to feel secure about those updates. In this month’s Fast Company, Farhad Majoo does a much better discussing this problem going so far to say “We don’t give a flying tweet about privacy…we want some semblance of control over our personal data even if we likely can’t be bothered to manage it.”
  • We fear what we don’t understand. I will be the first one to admit that I’m not sure how my data is being handled by Facebook within the new system.  Of course I also don’t know how (don’t be evil) Google stores my recent searches, how much of my email is being scanned for advertising keywords or even how many times my FourSquare check-ins are being studied for accuracy.  At this point we have to admit that everything we do on the web, is being read by some system and can be accessed at any time. While it’s not a pleasant thought, why else do we protest angrily anytime a new change is made? We just got used to the last one!
  • We forget that at its core, Facebook is a business. Facebook has quickly become a communication portal that over 400 million people use across the world. While it’d be nice for Facebook to operate as an non-profit (I think having it be publicly funded would cause more issues), it’s just not going to happen. It’s costs millions of dollars to be the one of the most visited places on the web and it has to make money somewhere. We’ve all given our information to large companies in the past for lesser things than what Facebook offers, yet we always forget those instances.

It’s possible that Open Graph may make the web more powerful than it ever was before, but until we get through this privacy backlash, we won’t know. Instead of worrying about privacy, maybe we should think about why we are getting upset. If privacy is making you that concerned, Facebook will always let you delete your account!

What do you think about privacy issues within Facebook?  Are you concerned?

LOTD: 1/19/10

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Facebook Privacy Debate Rages On As Sensitive User Information Is Made Public

Marshall Kirkpatrick does an excellent job of laying out the arguments on both sides.  While the response from the Facebook camp has been both inconsistent and unconvincing, Marshall also presents some legitimate privacy concerns about the current public-only features of the profile pages.  Also check out Shel Israel’s open letter to Marck Zuckerberg.  From a network that attracted users by promising to let them connect to friends only within their college network but then transforming to one that now exposes potentially damaging and sensitive information to the entire internet community (family, professional networks and political affiliations included), is this a case of “bait-and-switch” on Facebook’s part?

Things that Make Companies Unprepared for Adopting Social Media

Joshua-Michéle Ross has some interesting points on why some companies may not be a good fit for social media.  Inability or unwillingness to address user concerns as the communication department may have little to no control over product quality, pricing and terms of use are some of the major concerns.

Content Delivery and Lagging Broadband Speeds

Streaming content may be getting a big push as Microsoft is in talks with Disney about getting ESPN content available through Xbox 360.  At the same time, a study by Akamai shows that US broadband speed has been lagging in comparison to other countries.  This is sure to create conflict as majority of broadband users connect to the internet via cable companies who will be directly affected by this growing trend in streaming content.

Has Facebook come Full Circle on Privacy?

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Don’t let the numbers fool you: Facebook’s steady rise to the top of the social media heap wasn’t by magic or luck. Instead Facebook has grown from Harvard’s Ethernet to 350 million users by aggressively trying new things, for good and the bad.

For a while it seemed that the one thing that Facebook would never get correct would be the privacy issue.  As Facebook has grown from a college-only hangout to a widely used networking tool for everyone, Facebook has had to reconsider their privacy policy along the way.

After a few miscues (cough Beacon cough)  it seems Facebook has understood that controlling privacy is one of the best ways to keep their expansive user base. Now with several changes, they’ve made privacy so easy that even an orangutan can do it.

  1. Shutting Down Beacon: Facebook’s Beacon was meant to be the start of social media advertising but ended up being too pervasive.  Facebook has since shut down the service and settled a lawsuit surrounding Beacon’s privacy practices.
  2. Marketer’s Beware!: Facebook change the rules on marketers may protect Facebook more than the user, but with all the different contests I’ve been seeing lately maybe this is a good thing.
  3. Scam Crackdowns: One of the best and worse things about the Facebook platform is the apps. That’s why its great that Facebook is cleaning house and getting rid of apps that are scammy. Now if someone could just get rid of Farmville (someone had to say it!).
  4. Eliminating Confusing Policy Rules: Getting rid of all the network mumbo-jumbo and simplifying the system makes sense.  At one point I was on three different networks and controlled each privacy setting individually.  Now with simple controls for each piece of content I put up and easier privacy language, most people are going to feel a lot safer on Facebook. More importantly this plan has been discussed since July, meaning that Facebook may avoid the backlash they’ve felt every other time a change has been made.

It is this concern over people’s privacy that have allowed Facebook to grow to 350 million people worldwide.  By tweaking their privacy, Facebook has taken the lead on an issue where other major social networks like MySpace ended up failing.  Now the question is: can it last?

What do you think about Facebook’s privacy changes?  Do you feel safe online?

LOTD 9/21/09

Monday, September 21st, 2009

News from DialogueMedia

Social Media Policy 101

Still trying to formulate your company’s social media policy? This list of over 80 policies from About.com to Yahoo gives a wide selection of possible guidelines. Of course, Serena Ehrlich shows how some guidelines (like ESPN’s) can be both good and bad.

Facebook Privacy Concerns Continue

Facebook Beacon has been shut down after two years of lawsuit problems and anti-privacy allegations. Of course, this announcement may be lost in the most recent instance of Facebook data mining, an experiment by MIT.

Can Ad Agency + Social Media= Success?

Can social media marketing and advertising co-exist in your marketing department? Here’s a look at a few problems that ad agencies need to overcome in order to make social media marketing work.