Monday, November 26, 2012

Caught with your chat down - Privacy in Social Media

All over college campuses millions of students are perpetually logged-in, uploading, liking, and commenting on Facebook. Many post photos, poems, and stories that they take pride in and wish to share with their friends for the sake of collaboration, vindication, or critique, but with the recent ongoing changes to Facebook's business structure many users, both students and not, are going wild posting a new "talisman" to their walls in the hopes of protecting their content, and the truth is that this post does nothing.

Facebook's recent change to a publicly traded company has fooled a great deal of the general public into believing that the site has become less private than it was before. The new status, which has been spreading like wildfire, places a verbal copyright on all content and is very similar to another post that went around back in July. More details on why this doesn't work can be found here.

In the end Facebook becoming publicly-traded doesn't change their responsibility to the user in any way. If you use a service which offers you no product then you are the product. Make no mistake, Facebook's entire concept of value is based on keeping the users as a captive audience for ads, fan-pages, and flash games where for just a few gold (that'll cost you about two dollars) you can milk a cow in under three hours. If they did anything to drive you away they'd be destroying their own product. Does this mean they won't violate your privacy? Probably not. The amount we will tolerate as a people with nothing but spoken anger is so great that it would take a large amount of continued abuse to make any notable number of users walk away from the social media giant that is Facebook.

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