Every man and his dog seems to be on Facebook these days – apart from the guy in the corner who prides himself on being anti-social and never leaves the house without his tinfoil hat – but with the social networking site repeatedly falling foul of privacy laws and coming under criticism for implementing changes without alerting users, maybe those who reject the site may have a point.
• Facial recognition – Facebook's most recent update that's caused uproar is the instant recognition of your pretty face as friends, or friends’ friends, get automatic prompts to tag you when you appear in an uploaded photo. Facebook's apology did little to calm those who saw the tool as more than a way to help lazy users who may have tagged you in that embarrassing shot anyway.
• Everyone's invited – One of the good features about Facebook is that you can customise your privacy settings to limit who can see certain parts of your profile. As well as full customisation, you can limit to just friends, friends of friends or everyone. Everyone was the default setting and everyone really did mean everyone. As well as all Facebook's users being privy to your information, anyone could wander in off a search engine and view your profile. A search engine would be happy to index your page and everything said on it.
• Forever yours – A slight rewording of a usage agreement can change a lot. Facebook tinkered with theirs which meant that even if you deleted your profile, Facebook would still own all the information you ever put on there. Outrage ensued from the few people who actually read things like usage agreements.
• Privacy defaults – Facebook has also tried to encourage the sharing of information by users by simply lowering the default controls in their privacy settings. Even if you'd been in to edit your settings but had kept the default ones in place, they were lowered without your permission.
Facebook continues to make changes to its privacy settings and user agreements, so if you’re worried about the information you have stored on the social networking site, make sure you stay abreast of changes. No matter if you're using tablet broadband on your new iPad or you prefer wireless broadband pay as you go on your computer to keep up to date with what your friends are up to, be sure to be prudent with what you're sharing with them - lest you're sharing it with the world.
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