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Talking about Facebook & Privacy with RTR FM

logo_facebook I was interviewed this morning on Perth’s RTR FM about privacy concerns raised in light of media reports that Facebook plans “to exploit the vast amount of personal information it holds on its 150 million members by creating one of the world’s largest market research databases.”  While the reports themselves might have overstated the case in this instance, I’m constantly surprised by how little thought most users of social networking sites give to their own privacy; I’m equally dismayed when it comes as a revelation to people that Facebook is actually about trying to make money – it’s a business, not philanthropy!  That said, any chance to get people thinking a bit more about the digital footprints they leave is a good thing and I enjoyed the this morning’s chat on the air.  If you want you can access ‘Facebook is evil now?’ on RTR’s website, on click here for an mp3 of the interview (10 minutes, around 9Mb).

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  1. Perhaps what we’re seeing on Facebook is a renegotiation of the boundaries of what people consider as private. Previously photos and relationship details were considered “private” but people today appear much less concerned about what they disclose about themselves. As the number of people with a significant digital footprint grows the negative consequences of having posted “inappropriate” material will diminish. In 20 years management positions will be filled by members of today’s net generation who are far more comfortable and understanding of the nature of what is posted on social networking sites.

    Enjoyed the interview.

  2. Peter, if most Facebook users were conscious of exactly what level of privacy they had regarding their personal information, family photos and so doth then, sure, we might consider this a large-scale renegotiation of where people draw the line around their own privacy. However, while there are some things that people in general, and especially younger people, are more will to share online these days, I still fear that a lot of what happens in terms of privacy – and the presumption of privacy – is driven by a lack of awareness of exactly how services like Facebook work. The media has at least one story a week regarding how [person X inadvertently told group of people Y some X did not intend to disclose because they didn’t understand their social networking service’s privacy settings]; these stories suggest to me that people need to be better informed about what privacy they’re maintaining, and what they’re signing away; only then can they explicitly and consciously renegotiate those boundaries.

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