fbpx

Facebook: Reclaim Privacy Security and Safety


Facebook keeps changing around what is private and what is public in the default settings. But the crowd is smarter than the individual company so ReclaimPrivacy have tools for you. Also a diagram on private to public social networks.

From Private to Public social networks

What will take Facebook’s place as the most secure, most protected, most private of sharing spaces online? Somewhere you can comfortably place the photos of the grandkids running around starkers at the beach?

The New York Times had an interview with Facebook’s public policy executive, Elliot Schrage. Actually the New York Times crowdsourced the interview questions (collected 300) then presented them to the guy. Which is an intelligent way to do newsgathering and newsreporting if you ask me.

We’ve found that a few fields of information need to be shared to facilitate the kind of experience people come to Facebook to have. That’s why we require the following fields to be public:

  • name,
  • profile photo (if people choose to have one),
  • gender,
  • connections (again, if people choose to make them),
  • and user ID number.

Facebook provides a less satisfying experience for people who choose not to post a photo or make connections with friends or interests. But, other than name and gender, nothing requires them to complete these fields or share information they do not want to share. If you’re not comfortable sharing, don’t. (Elliot Schrage, Facebook)

I have issues with this “if you choose to make to do so” approach. And I know that it will sound odd to those who assume that “everything that goes online is for public broadcasting” but my experience of Facebook is that it was the most private, gated social network online. You could remove yourself from search so that even those who knew your email address and name couldn’t find you. It means that if you were adamant – like my mum – to only connect with a handful of people that she chooses to, she could. And telling people that they can “just ignore friend requests” doesn’t work for a large proportion of the population that aren’t interested in social media, but worry about how they connect with friends.

For example, now spammers can go through your friends list and start adding people. They don’t even have to be your friends to see your friends list. Yuck.

and there’s other issues too. Like waaaaay too many settings:

From NYT: Too big an image? Not my fault, blame Facebook

Enter ReclaimPrivacy.org – add a widget to your browser toolbar then click it. It’ll tell you what settings you should relook at.

Social networks will take a lot of abuse from community hosts. It ends up being a co-dependent mutually abusive relationship. I kid you not. But this move towards fighting back – a la Apple – is fascinating. So much better than whining, just create some tools to help people block, exclude and manage their social connections online.

by the way, I’ve done a bunch of radio interviews today – and one for the Sydney Morning Herald on on the fallout from the Facebook security settings changes.

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

19 thoughts on “Facebook: Reclaim Privacy Security and Safety

  1. Thank you for these tips. Facebook is really somewhat disgusting at the moment because nothing is really private anymore. If you register at facebook, your information is not yours but theirs and sadly, they’re doing anything and anyway they want with our personal information. So I am really thankful regarding this information you’ve shared. Let’s fight back.

  2. Thanks for the tip Laurel. I have very good reasons to keep my FB private, it’s for my family and close friends, although I do have a few close business associates on there too. I use Twitter and LinkedIn for business.

  3. There’s something kind of funny about the privacy scanner explaining that “your friends are protected from accidentally sharing your personal information” when with the same screencap you’ve told the world Nicole Jensen likes Reclaim Privacy.

    I don’t know… I kind of feel like everyone’s gone slightly mad. The Internet used to be more fun before everyone became inordinately privacy conscious.

    1. Yeah I cut out everything else deliberately but risked leaving her’s in as a) it was relevant and b) not very personal.
      I once got told off for using a screenshot of Facebook where other people’s details were revealed. Highlighting how very personal FB is, in my opinion.

      The world was more fun before we discovered privacy which is quite a modern concept. Of course so is hygiene… 😛

      1. And in some ways it really doesn’t matter how officially ‘private’ your Facebook settings are because anybody in your network can take a screen capture or just blab at any moment anyway. PROTIP: Don’t tell anyone anywhere where the bodies are buried… erm, so to speak. 😉

Comments are closed.

Recent Content