Facebook’s "Publicly Available Information"

Yet another change on Facebook with regards to privacy and all I have are more grievances with the ever-so-gradual erosion of privacy within their network.

The new policies surrounding what is and what isn’t “publicly available information” make a mockery of the promised improvements to the privacy settings. What was previously public information by the election of the user is now public information by the decree of Facebook. Instead of doing the right thing, Facebook treats us to a dog and pony show and hopes that we don’t notice the slow erosion that is occurring behind us. Facebook, this is unacceptable and I sure hope that your users won’t stand for this.

And, to make matters worse, you have failed to adequately map old settings to new settings with the privacy transition tool. This tool is not designed with the user’s personal information in mind, it is instead designed to create more public content for Facebook. I understand that this is so you can begin competing in the real-time search arena with Twitter, but that doesn’t mean that you should exploit your users to accomplish this task.

Facebook, the net result of the changes launched today do nothing to help improve user privacy, contrary to Mark’s quote, “Our work to improve privacy continues today.” Yet again, Facebook, you let us all down.

As a footnote, both the EFF and the ACLU of Northern California express the same sentiment as me.


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