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Innovative premise, but privacy issues are becoming prevalent
Member Name: huggy2009
Date: 23/05/10, updated on 23/05/10 (52 review reads)
Advantages: Good to stay in touch with friends
Disadvantages: What is being done with your personal information.
Facebook is a global networking site which is popular with people around the world. Created by student Mark Zuckerburg this has become a worldwide phenomenom and is one of the largest brands on the internet.
What is it used for:
Facebook is used for social networking, basically stick a picture of yourself on their site with a description of what you are doing, what you like and dislike and off you go.
You can use the site to get in touch with everyone in your email contact book as well as people you might have lost contact with from school or any workplace you have been at.
This is one of the worlds most popular websites with over 450 million users, it has become an essential part of popular culture for many as it allows instant contact with a wide variety of friends and allows you to maintain interest in their behaviour through status updates, photographs etc.
This is the number one social networking site, it allows friends and families to stay in contact, people to get in touch with people they've met face to face and stay in contact and like minded people to form groups to develop social culture a clear example being the group which decided to stop X factor reaching number one by simultaneously buying Rage Against The Machine as a cry against popular culture. In many ways this act of populism sparked by one persons decision wasn't much different to people following X Factor performers chosen by Simon Cowell but it made people feel part of something counter-revolutionary and this was achieved through Facebook.
Its also really good for getting in contact with people from school and old jobs that you may have lost contact with. Sometimes if you find someone you genuinely liked and lost contact with it can change your life and add something to it which is great, some of the games and applications are thoroughly good fun too for people.
If you need to follow groups to form an opinion then perhaps you need to question your own thought processes, also if you didn't stay in contact with people quite often there is good reason, I found that I would receive friend requests from people I had lost contact with for good reason and wonder why they wanted to be a 'friend' when they had let me down or not been great in the past, it's a good place to find people you've lost but a bad place to be found by those you didn't want further contact with.
Some people use it for their own self esteem in having lots of friends even if they don't know them, but this can be dangerous as proven by a number of incidents where peoples status updates have enraged former partners, or people posing as kids have actually been predatory adults using Facebook to meet kids.
There are also a number of issues with Privacy, Facebook changed contols last year meaning that if you didn't update your account any personal details you had on the site would be easily searchable by anyone on the internet, this wasn't something users had agreed to and caused uproar, also Facebook has now made a profit and does use lots of online marketing to feed products to its users.
Some people add their contact details for friends not realising that their phone number and email is then available to millions if they don't set the privacy settings leaving themselves open to fraud. Others are simply not computer savvy enough to appreciate how to change privacy settings and therefore have information available to all.
This is a double edge sword as many people don't have too many personal details on the site anyway so its not a problem for them, but others do get caught up in living the online lifestyle and share their worlds through social networking which is fun but somewhat dangerous.
The issue is one which will spend more time in the limelight as both the US congress and the EU feel that Facebooks decision to change privacy controls was unnecessary and wasn't advertised correctly. It is interesting to read of people who've written private messages of what their doing without realising their privacy settings are open and finding that this is searchable for hundreds of millions of people, which can be a tad embarrassing.
Another problem is it is very difficult to cancel your account unless you search very hard, meaning that even if you deactivate it your details are still widely available on search engines.
Basically if you become a fan of a band, company, football club, they can then share the personal information on your page with other companies which is not something i'm sure anyone signed up for.
Overall it's a useful product especially for younger people wanting to stay in touch but it can be a double edged sword as there have been cases of Facebook bullying which have led to tragedy and stalking and violent crime, the issues of security are serious ones and should be addressed to avoid predatory adults using this site to meet unknowing youngsters without their parents knowledge, there needs to be some sort of control of who uses the site and how it I used and a means of ensuring that people are who they say they are otherwise there will always be a risk with such sites.
The site has its uses, but it can also be very annoying if you have friends who are constantly putting their latest movements whether it be having dinner or jogging, sometimes less is more and people don't realise that sharing too much information.
It is difficult for Facebook as they go from a great idea from a group of friends to international super company with the constraints and responsibilities that come with it, but the revenue they are gaining means they should be able to employ the brains to deal with these issues, it is important for Facebook users to regain trust in the brand otherwise there is a risk with over 25 million blogs currently on the subject that this could affect their future customers and with that revenue and turnover.
Personally I don't think the creators of the site realised the furore their privacy changes would have and that their was nothing sinister in this, it was done for reasons of revenue and to increase their revenue from advertising but they possibly consulted the wrong people and didn't advertise it properly.
If you are concerned about privacy and have information you don't want shared then make sure your account privacy settings are only open to friends or friends of friends if you are confident, however, if you really want to delete your account fully rather than deactivate it you can do this on the site:
Click "submit" and follow the instructions.
You then have to leave the account for 14 days without going back into it and its deleted, if you do go back into it, then the account will remain open.
Summary: Innovative premise, but privacy issues are becoming prevalent