Facebook Makes Gestured Attempts To Guard Privacy
Nowadays, the creepiness goes beyond parents looking at inappropriate pictures and into a world where advertisements are tailored to your preferences and interests. I remembered being pretty weirded out when the newly-created right-hand column asked me if I would like to shop at Free People, buy JetBlue airline tickets and get a manicure for $15—questions to which all the answers were, in fact, yes!
I find it uncomfortable that every time I click a “like” button on anything, it’s being recorded in a way that advertisers can use me for their own benefit. Not exactly scary, but I don’t like feeling like Big Facebook Brother is breathing down my neck.
Facebook has some new features that came out this past week that will supposedly help us deal with this, but I don’t see how it will help in a substantial way.
One feature tells you how exactly different applications use your data to personalize your experience. You can see when they last accessed your information, and you can change how much of it they can see.
But this only controls what information your applications give out - not any other sections of Facebook - giving you the illusion that you have real power over your data.
Another new feature is called “download your information,” where you can view a copy of all your wall posts, status updates, photos, profile information, and conversations with friends.
All it does is tell you what it is you have written or posted in the past. There isn’t a real way to delete or hide something, if needed. I would think the fact that everything is accessible in one downloadable program makes it actually easier to access.
It also has a more refined Groups application, where you can separate your friends into any cluster you want. They can be your flag football team, your classmates, or your book club. Then, you can determine which groups of friends can see what.
I agree that it is a step up from what we had before, but it just takes so much time and effort to separate everyone into different groups. If you have the hours in the day to make this happen, I’m sure it will be pretty convenient; yet, I’m not sure if I’m up for constantly updating and managing my different groups.
So all in all, I do agree that Facebook is trying hard to think of creative ways to make users feel safer and more protected. However, there is only so much that these new features can do, and I don’t think they can deliver the security and convenience they promised.
Reach reporter Jess Cho here