I am sure that some people have felt this for some time already. Â Others may not have quite caught on yet. Â But Facebook, the Social Networking powerhouse is broken. Â No the site isn’t down. Â But rather than continuing to try and sneak features by people that they eventually catch on to and turn off in their privacy settings, Facebook has now upped the ante and essentially crippled features unless you make your information public for all the world to see.
It apparently starting rolling out last week, but it finally hit my profile today. Â A popup notifying me that it now links things in my profile. Â My hometown, my likes, my previous employer information, etc. Â OK, on the surface, it is not a horrible or particularly evil feature, I could link and find other people that went to my same high school, or worked at some of the same previous employers. Â Except, all of that information is public to the world once I do that. Â Not than any of this information is “top secret” stuff, but still, I would rather have some sort of filters against what I make easy for Phishers and other scam artists to cull, or at least make them work for it, and not provide everything a would be thief needs for identity theft to be served up to them for free.
OK, fine, so I will need to pick and choose what I am going to allow Facebook to link to, this way only what I don’t mind being public is out there. Â Right? Â Nope! Â That doesn’t work either, and this is why I say Facebook is broken. Â If you are not willing to make the information public… then Facebook will no longer allow you to have it as part of your profile… period. Â They won’t just leave it unlinked… no, after you go through this process, anything you don’t allow it to link IS REMOVED FROM YOUR PROFILE!
I don’t mind ads, and I realize targeted information makes for better advertising dollars, and since Facebook is FREE (despite what all those stupid groups “warning” about Facebook starting to charge May 1, May 15, July 10th and August 33rd, prices from $4.95 to eleventy billion dollars a month are saying) and I don’t mind Facebook making money, they have simply gone from bad to downright evil in their attempts to coax people into making information public.
Now please don’t tell me something stupid like I could go back to using Friendster or MySpace. Â Let us be honest for a second, MySpace is for bands and people that want to decorate their pages like a 12 year old with a poster fetish, and does ANYBODY use Friendster anymore? Â Didn’t think so.
Yes, I know and am well aware of the privacy settings, and will turn off what I don’t want to be public. Â But that prevents me from sharing things that I wish to with my friends and family. Â Worse, now I also feel like I need to start a help group for those that may not be as techÂ savvyÂ or are unaware of what the implication are of these moves. Â Incidentally, if you feel unsure about what is being made public by any of these new changes, feel free to e-mail or leave a comment and I will be happy to help.
For those old enough to remember Hill Street Blues, at the beginning of every episode the Seargeant would warn them, “Let’s be careful out there.” Â That now definitely applies to Facebook. Â Be careful, be aware, and beware of what you may be exposing to the world. Â Facebook is now broken. Â Pass it on.