I am somewhat aware of this issue of privacy at Facebook and a couple of thoughts passed by mind. I think they are slightly ironic. So for once I am tempted to air my thoughts without the “research” and analysis that I normally expect of myself.
The first thought is around Corporate Social Responsibility. The phrase takes on a lot of meaning when one is dealing with or dabbling in a social subject area. What can be more “CSR” to the universe of internet users than when it is in relation to social media?
So when Facebook gets itself into a controversy of the current intensity, it seems that they could have done this differently. What they have done is a bit obscure to me. If they have shared my information without my knowledge then they have surely violated the agreement.
If they have “notified” me in obscure terms and then gone ahead and shared my personal information then they have also violated the agreement. This is like Arthur Dent finding the demolition notice “displayed” inside a locked file cabinet in the dark basement of the local planning office. Not only do such notices not count, they indicate mischievous intent.
Am I qualified enough to form an opinion on whether Facebook has indeed stepped out of line? May be not. The world has made up their mind, and the majority rules – whether you call it crowd sourcing or whether you go by democratic polling. But while we are busy ringing in the end of privacy as we know it, we may also want to introspect a bit.
How many times have we forwarded jokes or appeals that have amused us or struck a chord? While doing so do we ensure that all the recipients can see others email addresses only if they know each other? Or, do we delete the countless email addresses that have the last few forwards have been gathering?
When we post pictures of friends in, say, Facebook, do we get approvals from those friends? Should we not at least ask them before “tagging” them in the photos that we post? I myself have been guilty of this. So do I really have the right to crib when Facebook gets strays into the twilight zone?