i posted about this on facebook as well. my facebook friends and wordpress friends have been universally supportive. i have been so lucky. and then i got to thinking:
since facebook went public, it has been working very hard to show advertisers and investors that its greatest asset is information about its users. and a mighty big asset. sure, it’s interesting that you posted psy’s gangnam style video on your wall and that your cat pictures are soooooooooo damn cute. but there’s a little more to it. facebook wants to be able to “share” information about users that will predict spending habits, future needs, even weaknesses that can be exploited by corporate america.
facebook is working with a company called datalogix. datalogix collects information from retailers using customer loyalty cards and combines this information with things like your regular email address, your alma mater, or postal address that show up in other data bases. datalogix is not some new kid in the data world–it owns information about almost every american household and $1 trillion in consumer transactions. combining information about consumers allows advertising to be targeted very precisely.
depending on how you feel about privacy and about sensitive personal issues, you might feel alarmed. the only fear i have is that blue cross blue shield is going to suddenly raise my premiums or drop me altogether because i’m seeking help.
and then there’s this: facebook holds a key to your history, your relationships, your emotions and your past. the idea that forgotten private messages might be made public and be prominently displayed for the world to see could be a frightening prospect for many users. but that’s exactly what’s happened.
facebook has acknowledged reports, mainly from america and europe, claiming that private messages from prior to 2009 have been popping up on people’s walls. ouch, that morning after passed out on the couch picture from 2008 that you thought nobody would remember is now out there on your timeline. the company says there’s has been no breach, claiming instead that the messages were merely old public posts revealed again by a bug. a little hard to decipher.
i guess i don’t believe in privacy anymore. everyone can find out anything about anyone. but i also believe in trying very hard to live one’s life with . . .
i am facing an interesting, challenging, terrifying time and i am grateful beyond measure to every friend who has said “i’m with you!” many many many thanks!