All Facebook Home will cost you is … well … your right to social media privacy on your Android phone. That’s a steep price to pay for Facebook Home saving you the extra step of clicking through a mobile app to access photos, updates and messages.
Facebook recently announced its new application “Home,” which will essentially replace the standard home screen of a user’s Android phone, giving users all Facebook, all the time. If you thought this social media colossus had control over data before, wait until users start willingly handing over their home screens. By doing so, they’re offering up valuable information contained in their mobile phones.
Facebook makes it very cloudy to know what you’re actually giving away. And though it may not be as much as the doomsayers predict, it surely is more than you’ll want to willingly contribute. For instance, Facebook’s new feature “Chat Head” combines Facebook messages with SMS. Even if it’s not collecting voice data from calls, it will likely gather data such as who you’ve called, how long you talked and how often that number is called.
Moments after the Home announcement, Facebook posted a memo on its website addressing privacy concerns. The fact that Facebook knew questions about social media privacy would be raised immediately after the unveiling indicates the company’s fear of user concern.
“Home is software that turns your Android phone into a great, living, social phone,” the message read. “Home doesn’t change anything related to your privacy settings on Facebook, and your privacy controls work the same with Home as they do everywhere else on Facebook.”
Notice that Facebook never claims not to violate social media privacy with Home. It just says that it won’t violate your privacy any more than it already does.
This is, unfortunately, not unchartered territory for Facebook – a serial offender when it comes to violating users’ social media privacy. These same questions were raised after Facebook revealed Graph Search earlier this year. Just like with Graph Search, Home will make it easier for Facebook to sell your personal data to advertisers.
That is part of Facebook’s brilliance and our ignorance – they know that most of us won’t take the time to read the Data Use Policy. Fool Facebook; read the Data Use Policy. Then we users can no longer plead ignorance, as we know exactly what Facebook is doing – creating an inventory of our private data and behaviors to sell to an adoring advertising marketplace that rewards them with a bump in stock value.
Make the right decision when Facebook releases the software this Friday – after all, home is where your privacy is. Or at least, that’s the way it should be.
John Sileo is a social media privacy expert and keynote speaker on reputation, privacy and cyber data protection. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent media appearances on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.