Facebook’s privacy issues may not make it lose users

One of the world’s premiere online social networks, Facebook, has problems with users’ privacy in regards to sharing information with different advertisers and tracking companies.

Facebook has a privacy policy that enables its users to have certain parts of their account available while others remain private, but this new development violates that policy, according to a blog post by Facebook engineer Mike Vernal.

User information has been accessible to other companies through different applications, with the top 10 applications, including Farmville, giving user information to third-party sources.

We all know that Facebook isn’t meant for users to keep online journals. Most people would advise others, particularly college students, to watch what is put on Facebook and what privacy settings are applied because you never know who’s watching. But making certain information accessible at your discretion and having it sent out against the privacy policy are two completely different things.

This isn’t the first time that Facebook has had privacy problems. Last year, many users claimed that their information was too easily accessed by others. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg responded with an apology and direct changes were made in the privacy settings.

Although there doesn’t seem to be any damage so far this time, it still seems to have been taken very seriously by government officials. According to CNet, two members of the House of Representatives have asked Zuckerberg questions like what guidelines does Facebook have in place for third-party applications to protect its users from privacy breaches?

The issues surrounding Facebook may or may not be taken seriously, but it’s very unlikely that Facebook will lose support as a result. Facebook is a place where people indulge in the fact that they can release any information they feel comfortable releasing. The risk of possible exposure just comes with the territory.

This doesn’t leave Facebook without blame, but the development isn’t significant enough for users to abandon the famous online social network.

Even if the breach in privacy hadn’t happened, we live in a world without privacy in general. Even if someone doesn’t use social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook or stays away from Internet applications requiring basic user information, it’s impossible to not leave a trail online.

Published Oct. 27, 2010 in “The Signal” http://www.gsusignal.com/opinions/facebook-s-privacy-issues-may-not-make-it-lose-users-1.2385039


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