While my cynical side says the changes were all CYA initiatives, the truth is that the policy alterations aren’t only a vanity play. In fact, the changes were in large part prompted by an edict put forth by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who laid out several online privacy points Facebook would have to rectify in order to qualify for the EU Safe Harbor list.
All that said, the changes also knock down several information-sharing barriers, which will allow Facebook to grow, grow, grow and share, share, share (your data…that is) for revenue!
Before we get to the juicy stuff, let’s get the mundane language-clarifying/housekeeping changes out of the way.
- The word “post” has been largely replaced with “timeline.”
- Facebook’s European Union Safe Harbor certification was added.
- New language and explanations were added about the “activity log” functionality.
- Actual addresses of where you can snail-mail questions and concerns have been added.
Now let’s get to the points that online privacy pundits (both professional and armchair) will be talking about over the next four weeks.
Your Private Life Is at the Mercy of Your Facebook Friends’ Whims
“Although you choose with whom you share, there may be ways for others to determine information about you. For example, if you hide your birthday so no one can see it on your timeline, but friends post “happy birthday!” on your timeline, people may determine your birthday.”
They also point out that if you originally comment on a story/post that your friend had marked private and your friend later decides to make said story public, any comment that you left on the story will also become public. In other words, never write anything on Facebook you wouldn’t ever want becoming public knowledge, even if your friend swears up, down, backwards and forwards that they will never make the story public; if you don’t want to kick yourself down the line, don’t post any thoughts or pics you want to remain private now – or ten years from now.
Ummm, We’re Gonna Stalk You, K?
Sharing Is Caring (And A Great Way To Raise Revenue) So We’re Going To Do A Lot Of It
- Your information can be used for “internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.”
- Facebook is allowed to make photo tag suggestions based on your data.
- Apps you visit or use will be supplied with your age so they can serve up age appropriate content.
- Pretty much everything you do and share on Facebook can be used to target ads to you.