Technology Journalist and Copywriter

Kate O'Flaherty


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By kateoflaherty, Nov 26 2012 11:21AM

Facebook users continue to complain about privacy, despite posting intimate details for hundreds of so-called 'friends' to see on a daily basis.

Over the past few months, a deluge of hoax Facebook status updates have warned users of 'changes' to privacy rules, prompting a premature outcry. However, life imitated art when the social network announced last week that it is to combine user data with its recently acquired photo app, Instagram. Facebook advised users that it might also share data with its other businesses or affiliates in order to "help provide, understand, and improve [its] services and their own services". The website is also about to remove the ability for users to vote on changes to its data privacy policy.

This, of course, has riled many users as internet privacy is a very tenacious issue. Google has already been rapped by the EU for its approach to privacy, which was branded "incomplete and approximate", raising "deep concerns about data protection and the respect of the European law".

And admittedly, on a personal level, it is little creepy when our web history is tracked and collected. Perhaps though, Facebook users, who expose their public posts to 200+ 'friends', should stop being so precious over their data.

As one user aptly states, Facebook is "a noticeboard, not a secret diary", so published material can be seen, copied and forwarded by anyone in the world who has access to a computer.

So perhaps it is time that Facebook users accept that nothing they post on the internet is completely private. As cyber bullies and those posting their involvement in the London Riots last year have discovered, your comments can be viewed, and action can be taken as a result of them.

Twitter users have also found out how dangerous a thoughtless post can be and yes, it seems ridiculous that libel laws can be applied here. However, Facebook users should start viewing the site in the way they view Twitter. The information that you post is certainly not private and often can and will be seen.

Sure, make it as controlled as possible, but still be aware that your data is in no way secret. It's the internet and we are lucky enough to live in a society where the web is open and our opinions can be heard. So continue to post, but just be aware, nothing on the internet is private; that is against its very nature.

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