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Why Facebook Privacy Settings Don't Matter

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A new article in PC world discusses why the privacy settings on Facebook don’t matter – it instead blames the user for their own data breach. It recommends that those on Facebook should use their common sense and think in the long term. By controlling what you share and only sharing what is responsible Facebook is no longer in charge of your privacy.

Why Facebook Privacy Settings Don’t Matter

John C. Dvorak – I find it endlessly amusing how so many articles are written about Facebook and its cavalier lack of concern over privacy issues (case in point: Read Dan Costa’s column). A large community is up in arms over the fact that Facebook consistently changes the way it operates and constantly resets the privacy settings of the users to nil, as in NO PRIVACY.

This amuses me because it seems as if the majority of Facebook users don’t even know about or care about the privacy settings. Once in a while some old lady is flabbergasted by the fact that anyone can write on her wall, sure. And once in a blue moon some teenage girl says she “didn’t know” her teachers could see her comments. All the while the users of Facebook are increasing by the millions as the complaints are increasing by the thousands, thus amounting to nothing of consequence.

Now there is a movement to create an open-source version of the social network to address all these concerns, and it may or may not be successful, but it doesn’t matter since most users have so little regard for their own privacy. They’re too busy publishing humiliating pictures of themselves on Facebook, Flickr and elsewhere. It always seems to be a good idea at the time.

And why do Americans continue to do these dumb things? It’s a unique reflection of the short-term thinking that plagues the culture. We always hear about this phenomenon regarding the activities of American corporations, which always seem to be thinking short-term to appease the investors. They do things quarter by quarter instead of thinking toward the long future.

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John Sileo is the award-winning author of Stolen Lives, Privacy Means Profit and the Facebook Safety Survival Guide. His professional speaking clients include the Department of Defense, the FTC, FDIC, Pfizer, Prudential and hundreds of other organizations that care about their information privacy. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.


Facebook Changing Privacy Settings – Again!

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Facebook faced major backlash last month after they implemented a new tool that linked your interests to sites across the Internet and allowed third parties access to your information unless you specifically deny such access. As we mentioned in yesterday’s blog about an [intlink id=”2062″ type=”post”]easy way to configure your privacy settings[/intlink] in Facebook, there are 50 different settings with more than 170 options!

Many Facebook users have been extremely vocal about their frustrations, even organizing efforts to quit the quickly growing site. According to CNN Facebook will be reversing these changes today to make them simpler for the user with the intent of increasing user privacy.

“I can confirm that our new, simpler user controls will begin rolling out tomorrow. I can’t say more yet,” Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes told CNN in an e-mail Tuesday.

In a piece on Monday in The Washington Post, Zuckerberg said upcoming tweaks — which could be implemented as early as Wednesday — will make it simpler to use these privacy controls and and provide an easy way to turn off all third-party services. Keep your eye out for these changes, but if you are concerned about your current privacy settings try this new Facebook Privacy Tool.

Read more on the CNN article: Facebook to Announce Changes after Privacy Settings Backlash

Order your copy of the Facebook Safety Survival Guide to make sure you and your children are protected online.

John Sileo helps businesses tackle social networking privacy concerns. His clients include the Department of Defense, the FTC, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more about having him speak at your next meeting or conference or working directly with your business, contact him by email or on 800.258.8076

A Facebook Privacy Tool, Finally

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We need a Facebook Privacy Tool that isn’t written by Facebook. Currently, to effectively manage your privacy on Facebook, you’ve got to alter 50 settings with more than 170 options.

Maybe that is why Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg confessed on Monday that the quickly expanding social network had “missed the mark” when it comes to its complex privacy controls — and pledged to do better.

Can you imagine keeping up with all your Privacy Settings every time Facbook makes a change? Until Facebook figures it out, a new Privacy Awareness Group—ReclaimPrivacy.org, has developed a tool that scans your Facebook privacy settings to tell you how secure your personal information is. The tool comes in the form of a bookmark for your web browser.  Start by dragging the bookmark from the website above to your bookmarks/favorites. Then, log into your Facebook account, go to the privacy settings screen and click on the bookmark. After the tool scans your privacy settings in six areas—Facebook’s Instant Personalization feature; your personal data; contact information; friends, tags, and connections; what your friends can share about you; and whether applications can leak your personal data—it tells you what areas are secure and where you may want to consider tweaking your settings.

If you have received any sort of [intlink id=”1261″ type=”post”]fraud training[/intlink], I am sure you are thinking: How do I know that ReclaimPrivacy.org will respect my privacy and isn’t just trying to get access to my personal Facebook page? Great question. The Website says it never sees your Facebook data nor does it share your personal information (take this for what you will). It also publishes the source code for its scanning tool in the name of transparency (the experts at PCWorld/MacWorld checked this out and found it to be sound).

After the scan is complete,  this window (above) rises to the top and shows three levels of concern. Green means you are secure, Yellow means you could tighten your settings, and Red means you are at high risk. It provides helpful links to guide you to the pages where you need to tighten your settings.

It is recommended that you perform this scan in all browsers you use (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.). Users have noted that they get different results in different web browsers. This brings up an important point about this tool and other privacy tools – nothing works flawlessly and nothing replaces good old-fashioned human involvement. This tool is a starting point to simplify the process, but don’t let it be the only tool. Take time to manually investigate your Facebook Privacy.

Although Zuckerberg has promised privacy changes to better suit Facebook users in the coming weeks, perhaps this tool can help users rest easy in the mean time.

Order your copy of the Facebook Safety Survival Guide to make sure you and your children are protected online.

John Sileo helps corporations tackle social networking privacy concerns. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more about having him speak at your next meeting or conference, contact him by email or on 800.258.8076.

Google Buzz: Social Networking Privacy

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Google BuzzYesterday, Google revealed its new social networking tool, Google Buzz. This is a new way to see status messages, picture updates, and Buzz messages of your friends straight through your Gmail account. In some respects, it is very similar to tweets and Facebook status updates, but with the technology and cross-promotion that only Google can deliver. Just as Facebook has tried to combine social media (profiles, messages, pictures, status updates) in one place, Google is attempting to do the same with your email inbox.

What can seem like an innocent way to update friends, if not used correctly, can post  personal and seemingly private information in both the public stream and for those in your geographic vicinity. Read more about Google Buzz and Your Privacy Settings here.

PC World has written an article discussing the the most pressing questions about Google Buzz. It touches on things like how advertisements will be targeted to you based upon your status updates. I can only imagine that this would be very similar to how they currently use the content of your email messages to place targeted ads on your gmail screen.

As with any social networking site, be vigilant, as what you post can be made public, not only to your close friends, but to the world. With any social media the main privacy issue to remember is that all posts are [intlink id=”554″ type=”post”]public, permanent, and exploitable[/intlink].

John Sileo became one of America’s leading Social Networking Speakers & sought after Identity Theft Expert after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more about having him speak at your next meeting or conference, contact him by email or on 800.258.8076.

Facebook Privacy Settings Update

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Picture 4 During a time when rules, laws and privacy settings are having trouble keeping up with technology, Facebook is having trouble keeping up with their ever growing population. Recently topping 350 million users, Facebook is scrambling to satisfy them all. Recently, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, posted an open letter on the website discussing changes to the Facebook privacy setting that they are implementing to help make their users data less public. Take a minute to read the full article and protect your profile.

Order your copy of the Facebook Safety Survival Guide to make sure you and your children are protected online.

John Sileo became America’s leading Identity Theft Speaker & Expert after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer and the FDIC.  To learn more about having him speak at your next meeting or conference, contact him by [intlink id=”15″ type=”page” anchor=”Contact John Sileo”]email[/intlink] or on 800.258.8076.