Monday 17 January 2011

Facebook: Close your freak show to the voyeurs

What Facebook is up to

If you do not understand Facebook by now, it has placed a bet and you had better get ready to fold, bluff or show your hand, the way you play the game is not dependent on Facebook but you.

The news now is that Facebook is now revealing personal details [1] like your phone number and home address to developers.

That means if you have not tightened the security on your Facebook profile, that information can be extracted by applications and tools that are seeking that kind of information about you.

It is like being clothed and having a body scanner seeing through your clothes to see what you have concealed on your person inviting the curiosity of security to give you a hand job – sorry, the polite term is a pat down.

However, if you are concealing nothing on your person, there is no need for a pat down, you pass through the system, offer the viewer the barest titillation and you are on your way.


In other words, regardless of how computer savvy you think you are, why are such details on your Facebook profile?

Why does your home address have to be on Facebook? Friends who know you probably have your address, if they don’t they can ask and you have through one single transaction of a telephone call, a text message or an email send your address to them.

There is just no particular reason for your address to be in your Facebook profile, even you were suffering from amnesia and needed an aide memoir for your home address, Facebook does not by the most incredulous stretch of the imagination qualify to be the repository of that standard of personal information.

The question still is why?

The same goes for your phone number; I had a private message exchange with a friend the other day when I wanted to share my phone number. It was just between me and him, I could after sending that message and he calling me delete the message

It was a private information (message) that is stored on Facebook servers, probably retrievable by Facebook but should by no means to shared by Facebook with anyone else.

Following the standard set by Twitter, if authorities make a sealed request for that information, they should seek to reveal that request to me allowing for me to challenge that request in the courts if I feel that disposed.

Just because your life, your views and your pictures are on Facebook does not mean your home address or phone numbers should be on Facebook. I would hope if you published the pictures of your car, you will blank out the license plate number too.

An empty safe eliminates the threat

Just as an empty safe opened to that view of a robber satisfies the robber of its emptiness, if you do not fill that information in on your Facebook profile; by that, I mean your home address, your phone number or any other distinguishing information as your birthdate, your hometown, your current location and so on, developers cannot suddenly have that information to play with and reveal to others.

The circumlocutory argument I am making here is you are primarily responsible first for what you put on Facebook, if you do not put it on Facebook, Facebook cannot use it or abuse it as it shifts the goal posts of security seeking to create business opportunity for itself at your expense and folly.

If it’s about, it gets out

So, you can go into your profile now and start to remove the unnecessary personal information you are sharing like an exhibitionist offering a freak show to leering voyeurs who are ogling with glee free of charge and having a laugh, pimping you off to others of that ilk whilst you think you are all safe in your version of the proverbial emperor’s new clothes.

If in doubt, leave it out, if it’s about it does get out, the choice is yours – is your Facebook an open book for everyone to poke fun at? You are the master of your Facebook destiny, how you lay it out is how you will be seen.

Like I have said before, put on some clothes, close some windows, slam some doors shut and draw some curtains, you do deserve some privacy for your moments of intimacy, don’t you?


[1] Huffington Post | Facebook Starts Sharing Your Home Address, Phone Number With Developers

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