Facebook: What Are They Sharing Without Your Knowledge?

Facebook is the biggest social network in the world. Everyone I know has one, with the exception of my dad, and if I am honest, he’s right not to have it. It used to be a good network to be on. Facebook has never been known for having even a relatively good privacy track record but now it’s ridiculous. This article looks at the things Facebook have got really wrong, the things which need addressing. Facebook has absolutely no interest in user privacy and control.

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Phone App Privacy Flaw

Ever wondered why you upload a photo from your phone and suddenly complete strangers are commenting on it? If you like your posts to be set as “custom”, you are better off just using a computer and not your phone. You can not change the settings to hide photo uploads from your mobile from certain lists or people. You have to upload them, then use a computer to reset the visibility settings. People take photos on their phones and upload them all the time. It’s easy and very quick and for people to snap and upload. It’s bad that you then can’t select your custom setting, where people may have already been restricted. You also can’t select the “Friends Only” option so you then have friends of friends able to see your uploads. I despise this. It is incredibly poor performance for Facebook to take it upon themselves to show your photo to people you don’t know and not offer full extensive privacy options for phones. I only upload photos from my phone when I am already at my laptop so I can edit the settings immediately so people can’t start viewing and writing on my content.

Automatic public Profile Photos

Facebook really wants everything to be public. This means that when you upload a new profile photo, it’s visible for everyone to see, click on and enlarge. Facebook didn’t even inform users that this is the new setting. You need to now make sure each photo you upload is set as “Friends Only” so the general public can’t go clicking on it and nosing. You can check your profile photo privacy in two ways. First, watching the icon next to the photo. If you see a small Earth icon, as pictured below, it’s public. Click on it and set it to your preferred settings. You can also check by going onto your profile, clicking on the cog icon and then selecting, “View as Public” and seeing which photos are visible and come up as public.

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Location

If you buy a new laptop or phone, Facebook resets it so that your location is automatically turned on and again, it’s not obvious that this is happening. I don’t like having my location splashed over Facebook, even though it can only be seen my people I am friends with. You don’t want people knowing your every move and even being notified that you are close by. It is up to you to tell people where you are if you choose to do so, not Facebook on it’s own terms. It’s ok if you are “checking in”, but for every photo and update, it’s not on to not tell users location is default. You can turn this off by unchecking the location pin, a tear drop symbol with a hole in the middle. You will want to do this for all of the devices you use for Facebook. Note, on your mobile, also double check internal location in Facebook by going to the app, find your Settings option, then make sure “Messenger Location Services” is turned off.

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Loss of User Votes

Facebook used to allow users to vote on whether they thought Facebook ideas for new privacy settings were good or bad and then if it was supported, go ahead and if not, withdraw. As of the end of 2012, they will no longer allow user this option. This means the millions of Facebook users no longer have a method of voicing their opinions about how their account data should be handled and Facebook can plough ahead with changes as they see fit.

Conclusion

Facebook constantly claims to be improving its privacy settings and rules. This is not true. Changes and settings are not transparent and it can catch people out. Of course, I believe that users have a responsibility to check their settings and that their content is secure, but when Facebook go making subtle changes on the sly, some people carry on as normal believing their content to be private when, in actual fact, it isn’t. This is Facebooks doing and it is unacceptable to treat their users in this manner. This is why my opinion of Facebook has diminished in recent months. If things do not improve, I would consider permanently deleting my account as I don’t want to continue using a brand which is untrustworthy.

~Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lonelyradio

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2 thoughts on “Facebook: What Are They Sharing Without Your Knowledge?

  1. thanks for this post! It helped me out b/c I didn’t even realize some of my pictures were set to public. I share your feelings about facebook & wish they’d be more respectful to their users. If it weren’t helping me keep in touch with friends all over the world, I’d probably have left by now!

    • Hello, really pleased you found it helpful, I think it’s good that people are made aware of these settings. I also agree, if it wasn’t for being able to connect with people, I’d be off in a flash. Still might at this rate! 🙂

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