Facebook and privacy: my observation

Whenever some privacy support group or some country with stringent privacy laws, labels privacy concerns on Facebook, I try to figure out the particular concern common in most of them.

From my observation, I found that most of the concerns are arising from or are just an alter ego of one primary concern: Why does Facebook make user data public by default?

In simple words, Facebook’s user data settings are mostly public by default. That’s whenever a person creates a new Facebook account, unless he/she changes the user settings to private, his/her data remains accessible to third parties for other purposes(this includes advertisers, marketers, other facebook users).

This particular observation, allowed me to conclude that majority of privacy blames on Facebook will die, if the world’s biggest social network, with about a 500 million users worldwide: does one thing: Make user data settings private by default.

Although Facebook is giving more user control to users with each passing day, courtesy pressure groups; I still think making user data setting private by default can make things more peaceful (I’m not saying that Facebook or its founder doesn’t have to change its attitude regarding user data).

There’re some reasons for Facebook not taking such a step:
First relates to the basic premise on which any social network exists: If a user has to hide data, then is he/she socializing in real sense. So if Facebook or for that matter any social network makes user data public by default, then they (social networks) are doing right.

The other reason, which puts Facebook on the wrong side is, that by making user data public by default; the social network is increasing its chances to get its hands on the valuable data (which it can use to earn money) of those users (who make for a bearshare chunk) who either are not technically knowledgeable or are unaware of the default settings.

Facebook is facing and will continue to face protests from persons, groups and countries on the questions of user privacy; as no amount of giving control to the user on content will prove enough; as the philosophy of the web and life in coming months and years will demand nothing but full user control on content. --------

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