I can’t take it anymore… I keep hearing people talking about how Facebook is "sharing all your information" or why they closed their account because it’s not private or how unsafe it is… Facebook’s privacy settings are GOOD! There’s LOTS of options that have been there for a LONG TIME. But, typical of a lot of web users, they don’t READ.
Yes, READING is an important part of using the web. Especially if someone is going to complain or cry "foul!" My Facebook profile is pretty open. I want the general public to see most of my stuff. Of course, I’m not posting pictures and videos of myself drunk at a party or stealing from the local drug store. But, for those times that I want some piece of content to be private, I click a couple of links, and poof – it’s gone (at least it appears to be gone to anyone who I do not want to see it.) And that includes wall posts, photo albums, search-abilty by Google, email addresses, links… almost anything.
Zuckerberg is not doing a good job of directing people to that "Privacy Settings" link under the "Account" heading (top-right corner of Facebook.) It’s REALLY easy. Click it, then click "Friends only" and TA-DA. Your information is "private". This is NOT HARD! And it hasn’t been much more difficult than that over the past couple of years. The problem is – people don’t read! The tools are there. The options are there.
The other big issue is that people mistakenly think that Facebook wants to sell YOUR name and YOUR information to Starbucks or Ford or whoever… That’s not the case. Facebook does the exact same thing that Safeway and Radio Shack and Target and MasterCard and Sprint and your car insurance company and your bank all do – they sell your STATISTICS. That means that Facebook (who knows about the other guys) removes your "Personally Identifiable Information" (PII) and then tells Starbucks that they have, say, 280,000 users who are between the ages of 21 and 29, who have used the word "coffee" in their wall posts. Or, FB might show you an ad based on the fact that you play Farmville and are a male between 35 and 40 who lives in Seattle. That’s it.
So, PLEASE STOP listening to the media (and anyone else) when they say that Facebook is selling YOUR information and how unsafe it is. Instead, tell them to click a couple of links then READ the manual. POOF no more "privacy issue."
Be thankful that Facebook cares about your privacy and your statistics. And good luck trying to find the "privacy" options with your credit card company… or grocery store… or car dealership… or tax returns… or twitter account… or video rental service… or…