As users expose more and more of their lives on social networks like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, they’re becoming increasingly concerned about the level of privacy these sites maintain. The golden rule of the internet: don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your mother to see. Unfortunately not everyone follows such an obvious guideline and some are completely oblivious to the level of privacy they have – or don’t have.
At the beginning of this year, Facebook experienced plenty of backlash for the wording of their terms of service agreement. Tricky wording in the TOS led to the conclusion that Facebook could retain copies of all your content and use at their discretion, even after you had left the social networking giant. It’d be rare to find someone who would intentionally sign off on such a forfeiture of your personal data and, after the story gained worldwide traction, Facebook reverted back to their old TOS agreement. Later in the year, Facebook allowed users to vote whether to adopt their new TOS or the agreement that was already in place.
As of December 9th, Facebook implemented new privacy tools that are supposed to help ensure the data you want private is kept that way. The tools rolled out to each of the 350 million users asking to confirm the privacy settings that would be put into effect. Oddly, the default settings were set to ‘Everyone’ and confirming this, even if you previously had custom settings in place, would now make all your data public. Users can still go in and change their settings at any time, but these new settings have caused problems for some, even Mark Zuckerberg.
While it’s clear that Facebook is trying it’s hardest to allow users to control their information, it’s hiccups like these that can negatively affect millions of users. If you haven’t already, be sure to recheck all your privacy settings and restore them back to their previous state. Were you caught in the privacy conversion confusion? Let us know how you feel about Facebook’s privacy precautions below.