Jan 30, 2011 - web    No Comments

facebook’s missing privacy settings

Within the last couple of years, facebook has been trying to improve its privacy settings. Is it enough? Privacy is a big issue not only on the web but even in real life. The most vulnerable areas of your facebook account are your status and wall.

Status updates are a great way to keep friends up-to-date with all the latest happenings in your profile but so are strangers. One common status update seen on facebook would be something that sounds like this “Wooooohoooo Las Vegas here I come baby…“. Sounds familiar! Status updates like this are more likely to lead to burglars becoming aware of your absence from home. Should I say that some people do add people randomly, even the ones they don’t know. Having a huge number of friends in their profile makes them look cool from their pespective. Sure you can easily disable everyone from seeing your status updates via the privacy settings but the status update is linked with posts as well and disabling this disables viewing of all your posts, including those you make on other people’s wall and pictures, something I am sure people would not be too keen on. Location based updates using facebook’s places are also a potential threat to giving away your location.

The wall poses another potential problem to your privacy. I’ll give a good example of how this can affect your privacy… You go out one night and have been drinking so badly that you can’t get to work the next morning. So you call in sick. The long-time friend (who you had not seen for ages) with whom you have been drinking posts a message on your wall saying something like this “Hey mate it was great to see you last night. Hope you got home safe after all the heavy drinking.” The best part, your boss is one of your facebook friends. The first thing you would do would be to delete the post on your wall and hope that your boss has not seen it. One way facebook could improve this would be moderated posts on your wall so that you can approve and remove all posts the posts before it goes public. Naturally this would need more effort from the user and it would remove the realtime aspect of the much loved facebook wall.