My Thoughts on Facebook’s Privacy Policy

By now, it is no surprise that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg does not value privacy in his business model. A colleague of mine and dear friend, Matt LaCasse had a post on his blog, Public Relations and Other Ruminations stating that he agrees with making the information public, even if it results in an embarrassing photo or two of him.

I respectfully disagree. My friends call me Puritanical because even though I am well above the legal drinking age, I don’t want photos of my on Facebook with alcohol. In my hand. In front of me. Anywhere in the photo. It isn’t the image I want to portray. I untag myself from the photo and ask posters to crop or remove the photo. I believe if you’re my friend, you’ll understand.

This policy has created some issues. A former high school journalism teacher posted all the archival footage from my freshman and sophomore year online. Unfortunately, at the request of my employer at the time, I had to ask for it to be removed. It wasn’t professional enough. While I sent a nicely worded, please cease and desist request, he took it personally. Let’s just say it didn’t end well.

Initially, Facebook started as exclusive to specific colleges and people with specific .edu addresses. I liked that closed community feeling. As Facebook became open to more and more people, I stopped using it as much. Now that my parents and their friends are using it more than my friends, I use Facebook even less.

Here’s where my biggest concern about privacy comes in: other users. What’s to prevent an estranged parent or family member from posting your birthday, home address and phone number under children or relations? Nothing. Even if you don’t have this information online and are against doing so, there is no recourse should that estranged person post that information and refuse to take it down.

I do think Facebook has a great business model and public information must be a part of that. Facebook has done an exceptional job of growing their community. I just don’t know if in 20 years when my peers are running for an elected office or when a stalker finds my home address because an estranged relative listed me under nieces, how that community will hold up.