Facebook - The Implications of Surrendering Your Privacy

barr08

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 9, 2006
1,361
0
Boston, MA
I have been a long-time fan of Facebook and Social Networking in general. I think it's truly a great way to stay in touch with a circle of people that the previous generation couldn't even dream of. I love that everyone can see what everyone else is up to, keep in contact with them, make plans, etc.

Recently, with all this buzz about Facebook's (lack of) privacy, I find myself reconsidering my stance on this. I currently work at a major Insurance company, but my position has been outsourced as of next month, so I am back on the job hunt.

I guess I am wondering if companies really pull data from your private Facebook account when considering you for employment. Has anyone had any experience with this? I know that if a company wants your information, they will find it, but is this a common practice?

For the record - I don't have anything to hide. This is more out of curiosity, and the desire to do everything I possibly can to be an appealing potential hire.

This Gizmodo article, though a little one-sided, provides some more information on some of FB's general privacy concerns.
 

iBlue

macrumors Core
Mar 17, 2005
19,182
15
London, England
The idea of an employer looking into your facebook stuff is very disconcerting. I don't care if there's anything to hide, I just think some things should be kept separate. What I do on my own time shouldn't be the business of my employer unless it's affecting my job.

More and more I am becoming glad that I've not gotten sucked into the Facebook vortex. I had an account a year or so ago and deleted it (which wasn't so straightforward to do, by the way). I found it too difficult to balance real friends and family from internet friends and even more casual internet acquaintances. There are simply some details that I don't want crossing paths and facebook makes it too easy to blur those lines. The whole thing just made me uneasy and I stopped inflicting that upon myself. I don't miss it at all and the only times it bothers me that I don't have an account is when people are constantly on about "I posted ___ on facebook" and I have to explain that I don't have it.
 

-aggie-

macrumors P6
Jun 19, 2009
16,795
51
Where bunnies are welcome.
I'm not sure I understand all the privacy issues. Don't you just have to make some settings changes to keep your info private (i.e., only to friends)? Also, you don't have to get any of their stupid apps (Farmville...please shoot the developer of this!).
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,261
31
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
I'm not sure I understand all the privacy issues. Don't you just have to make some settings changes to keep your info private (i.e., only to friends)? Also, you don't have to get any of their stupid apps (Farmville...please shoot the developer of this!).
Yes, but part of the issue is facebook's typical practice of making privacy "opt-in" instead of "opt-out." The default privacy controls are laughable. There's also the issue of facebook's lack of transparency about who they sell their data to and how that data can be shared.
 

barr08

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 9, 2006
1,361
0
Boston, MA
The idea of an employer looking into your facebook stuff is very disconcerting. I don't care if there's anything to hide, I just think some things should be kept separate. What I do on my own time shouldn't be the business of my employer unless it's affecting my job.
+1. This is exactly how I feel.

My friend sent me an email about the most recent FB update, and the steps needed to opt-out of the new 'features'. I haven't done this myself, but I am planning on doing it, as I want to take every step I can to protect myself.

Anyone of you who have logged into Facebook recently have noticed their new "instant personalization" thing that connects you to other websites. While this does sound like a potentially cool addition, the fact that they automatically opted everyone into the program and in doing so basically allowed every bit of your personal info to be shared on the websites with which it connects is very not cool. It's the opposite of cool, in fact. Furthermore, simply unchecking the box in your privacy settings to disable this feature does not actually prevent your info from being shared, as any of your content that is shared by friends (or whoever can view your profile) then allows these websites to gather all of your personal info from Facebook.


There are a number of adjustments to your privacy settings that you have to adjust to deal with this new intrusion on your privacy. It's frustrating that Facebook is slowly making it harder and harder to opt out of their new features that they add. Here are the steps you should take:


http://librarianbyday.net/2010/04/p...tant-personalization-yes-you-have-to-opt-out/
http://w2.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/how-opt-out-facebook-s-instant-personalization/
http://gadgetwise.blogs.nytimes.com...-facebooks-instant-personalization/?src=busln
 

-aggie-

macrumors P6
Jun 19, 2009
16,795
51
Where bunnies are welcome.
+1. This is exactly how I feel.

My friend sent me an email about the most recent FB update, and the steps needed to opt-out of the new 'features'. I haven't done this myself, but I am planning on doing it, as I want to take every step I can to protect myself.
Thanks for posting that quote. I hadn't gone to those applications, but will tonight. I guess they snuck that one in, because I didn't notice it before.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
22,069
8,483
CT
You can opt out but if one of your friends didn't they can still track you through your friends.
 

Surely

Guest
Oct 27, 2007
15,042
8
Los Angeles, CA
You can opt out but if one of your friends didn't they can still track you through your friends.
This exactly. WTF is that?

I'd highly recommend everyone copy and paste this as their facebook status:

FYI - there is a new privacy setting called "Instant Personalization," which shares your personal data with non-Facebook websites, and is automatically set to "Allow." Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications & Websites ->Instant Personalization and UN-CHECK "Allow." If you 'un-check' this and your friends don't, your friends are still sharing info about you with these sites.
 

Ttownbeast

macrumors 65816
May 10, 2009
1,135
0
I haven't had issues with Facebook. My privacy settings work pretty well. I even created a dummy account on a separate computer to check what data was publicly available when my page is viewed to be sure (not being paranoid but safe). The only way anyone can really find out about me on my personal page is to become my friend and I am very selective about that otherwise they get limited data such as my name, a picture, and my location--basically general details. Then again I do have a public group page or two I visit and I don't really worry about what others think of my philosophies all they get from that is that I am a man, who participates in various discussions on important social and philosophical matters, from a said location. If I am not going to be hired based upon the opinions and personal morals of someone in a companies HR team rather than my exemplary work record which stands for itself, then I would not wish to work for a company such as that in the first place.

You can edit each section individually and control what the general public sees. If you are worried about potential employers denying you a job don't invite strangers to your Facebook page who may be digging for data.
 

barr08

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 9, 2006
1,361
0
Boston, MA
You can edit each section individually and control what the general public sees. If you are worried about potential employers denying you a job don't invite strangers to your Facebook page who may be digging for data.
While this is true for normal users navigating to your page, I am more concerned about companies working with Facebook to get information from your private page, which is, of course, always available to FB. This may sound paranoid, but that's why I am bringing this to you guys - to see if it's a realistic concern.
 

0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
21,574
2,909
All my Facebook data is kept private from the public. My family can see my mobile phone number and current address, my friends can see my wall posts and photos. It's like 2 separate entities as one.

If you're worried about that kind of information leaking out then adjust your privacy controls.
 

barr08

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 9, 2006
1,361
0
Boston, MA
If you're worried about that kind of information leaking out then adjust your privacy controls.
I'd like to clarify that my concerns are not with Facebook's privacy controls, but with what FB can do with my information beyond just displaying it on my page. I want to make this clear - the privacy controls do not make your information completely private...not by a long shot. The privacy controls - a Facebook service - can be legally circumvented by FB at any time.

It's private to your Mom whom you never added as a friend (for example), but to a company or data farmer, Facebook seems like a buffet of information behind a wall of tissue paper and a very disturbing TOS agreement.
 

-aggie-

macrumors P6
Jun 19, 2009
16,795
51
Where bunnies are welcome.
All my Facebook data is kept private from the public. My family can see my mobile phone number and current address, my friends can see my wall posts and photos. It's like 2 separate entities as one.

If you're worried about that kind of information leaking out then adjust your privacy controls.
I don't even bother putting an address or phone number (or even hint at where I live). My "friends" know all this stuff.

Edit: BTW, the last thing you should do is post a whole bunch of info on your FB page, not make anything private, and then go on MacRumors and ask for help cheating on an online test (I'm sure some know what I'm referring to). :D
 

Ttownbeast

macrumors 65816
May 10, 2009
1,135
0
While this is true for normal users navigating to your page, I am more concerned about companies working with Facebook to get information from your private page, which is, of course, always available to FB. This may sound paranoid, but that's why I am bringing this to you guys - to see if it's a realistic concern.
That does not concern me very much....do you have a list of the companies supposedly conspiring with Facebook or is this just speculative based upon something in the privacy policy of the site leading you to jump to a conclusion?
 

barr08

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Aug 9, 2006
1,361
0
Boston, MA
is this just speculative based upon something in the privacy policy of the site leading you to jump to a conclusion?
I am speculating, and wanted to see if this community shared my concerns, and what they were doing about it.

I am not describing a conspiracy theory or anything like that. These are real-world concerns in an age when all of your information is somewhere out there. Why not do everything we can to protect it? (short of deleting FB, something I want to avoid because I believe the pros outweigh the cons)

Just remember, jumping to conclusions is a two way street - I jumped to the conclusion that there may be more than meets the eye here, and you jumped to the conclusion that your personal data is safe with a faceless, for-profit corporation.
 

miles01110

macrumors Core
Jul 24, 2006
19,261
31
The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
That does not concern me very much....do you have a list of the companies supposedly conspiring with Facebook or is this just speculative based upon something in the privacy policy of the site leading you to jump to a conclusion?
It's speculative, but since facebook in no way makes it clear how your information is being used behind the scenes, any conclusion is fair game. Are they selling it to the highest bidder? Are they allowing certain institutions (for example, the US government) access for purposes of National Security? Do they protect your information at all costs? Facebook's own Privacy Policy statement (in particular section 6 entitled "How we share your information") seems to cover any of the possibilities I just mentioned irrespective of whether or not you set your profile to be viewed by "Everyone" or "No one."

I just assume, as everyone else probably should, that everything you entrust to facebook can be accessed by a third party regardless of what privacy setting I have enabled. Thus, I don't put anything I'd consider sensitive on facebook. Common sense?
 

Ttownbeast

macrumors 65816
May 10, 2009
1,135
0
Just remember, jumping to conclusions is a two way street - I jumped to the conclusion that there may be more than meets the eye here, and you jumped to the conclusion that your personal data is safe with a faceless, for-profit corporation.
I came to no such conclusion as you assume, I'm fully aware of the risks to whatever data I make available and I do test the surface for passive random inquiry as an accidental stumble could lead to some minor chaos and adjust my security as I see fit to prevent people from randomly stumbling in and mucking about--should anyone be determined enough though nothing could stop someone from targeting and mining for specific data--nothing is 100% safe that is the conclusion I have come to and the choice I make when providing any data to the internet.
 

Surely

Guest
Oct 27, 2007
15,042
8
Los Angeles, CA
Edit: BTW, the last thing you should do is post a whole bunch of info on your FB page, not make anything private, and then go on MacRumors and ask for help cheating on an online test (I'm sure some know what I'm referring to). :D
If the member in question sees this post....... Burn.:D
 

mysterytramp

macrumors 65816
Jul 17, 2008
1,334
3
Maryland
I am speculating, and wanted to see if this community shared my concerns, and what they were doing about it.
I share your concerns, and maybe raise it to an outright worry.

Here's a good, timely cautionary tale of someone who wanted to lay low and how easy it was for a determined journalist to track him down. There's a lazy streak in reporters a mile wide, at least compared to a corporate hiring exec trying to decide who to hire. So if you are on a job search, you should assume that anything on line will be considered fair game by a company. If there's anything you think a company you work for wouldn't like, I'd take it down.

I'm worried about a dozen other things, though. We just finished filling out financial aid forms for a child's first year in college. One school-based scholarship wanted our 1040 (to non-U.S.: that's our tax forms). The CSS wanted MORE information than contained in a 1040. It felt like a terrible invasion of our privacy (particularly our own school where security can't be first rate).

There are a lot of concerns here. Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg.

mt
 

spice weasel

macrumors 65816
Jul 25, 2003
1,255
9
There are several things I hate about Facebook, not least of which is that I just don't care to receive all of the inane updates about what my contacts are doing at each minute of their day. People with babies and young children are the worst (sorry, parents, but it's true. I don't want to hear about how little Joey puked on you this morning, or how much baby Sarah's last diaper change stunk). For this and several other reasons, I quit Facebook a long time ago and deleted my account.

The thing I dislike the most about Facebook and all similar forms of social media is how idiotic some users are. My rule was to never, ever post photos that contained other people in them without their express permission, no matter how innocuous they seemed to me. It always amazes me, though, that some people out there post photos of their friends drunk, acting silly, etc. These are the types of things that employers search for and can easily find. Not cool.
 

H00513R

macrumors 6502a
Mar 12, 2010
638
10
Indiana
I would also be cautious of Twitter. Maybe more so than Facebook. Few people actually protect their tweets. If you are any sort of commenter at all on current issues, etc. then beware.
 

Dify

macrumors member
Apr 9, 2008
93
0
The easy way is not to post private stuf in the begining, it's like people who use google mail, do you really think that is private ?

The things you do on internet are not private, facebook is a liddle bit further down the road as the rest, but they surely are not alone.

I did not post any info picture or anything on facebook or any other site. It is not that I have like secrets or anything but I do not think that those info mather, my friends know me, the one that don´t know my personal informations are not my friends and so they don´t have to know that.

I personaly hate facebook, I use it for 3 persons who do not live in the same country as I do, an that is it.
 
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