The dangers of FaceBook

Ari Melber’s article Facebook: The New Look of Surveillance is a fascinating look at the privacy issues with the social networking site Facebook. Excerpt:

Like guests at the Hotel California, people who check out of Facebook have a hard time leaving. Profiles of former members are preserved in case people want to reactivate their accounts. And all users’ digital selves can outlive their creators. As the company’s “terms of use” explain, profiles of deceased members are kept “active under a special memorialized status for a period of time determined by us to allow other users to post and view comments.”

Facebook’s 58 million active members have posted more than 2.7 billion photos, with more than 2.2 billion digital labels of people in the pictures. But what many users may not realize is that the company owns every photo. In fact, everything that people post is automatically licensed to Facebook for its perpetual and transferable use, distribution or public display. The terms of use reserve the right to grant and sublicense all “user content” posted on the site to other businesses.

Reading the article reminded me of another popular site that I’ve written about on this blog. Social networking is fun I’m sure but putting private information online and allowing people access to the information opens you up to being exploited. It’s best to be aware of the privacy issues and be skeptical rather than trust companies to do the right thing.

After all sometimes executives tend to make Gordon Gecko look good.


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