Facebook-like ammended privacy policies are happening everywhere. You're just not paying attention

by David Spark on February 20, 2009

Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg got in a lot of hot water for making an amendment to their privacy policies which essentially said we can keep your data indefinitely even if you cancel your account. The Consumerist picked up on this policy change, and the roar around the Internet was heard.

The reason everyone got so upset is because somebody told you about it. Do you think these privacy violations only happen when you’re told about it? No, it’s already going on all over the Internet. Today, there’s already tons of content that you’ve posted online that you’ve either forgotten about or lingers on from an account you cancelled. Stop blaming just Facebook. Your privacy problems are much bigger and you should actually be thanking Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook for being so upfront about its policies and also willing to change things when you complain.

You’ve got digital breadcrumbs everywhere

There are already an infinite number of ways your content is being repurposed the second it goes online. If you truly want privacy, then don’t post content online. If you start doing some deep searches on your name or handles you had ten years ago I’m sure you’ll uncover some content you had no idea was still lingering out there.

Go ahead and do a deep search on yourself and see what you find. If you posted stuff to USENET back in the day, ALL of that content is still there. Google bought the archive and all of that content is searchable. And there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s going to stay there.

You might be able to complain to Google, but good luck getting it erased. As for other discussion boards you may have posted to, the original owner I’m sure is long gone. And in that case, there’s no one to complain to.

Zuckerberg was trying to defend the actions of Facebook’s privacy statement amendment by explaining that for Facebook to function properly, copies of content have to be made and distributed around the social network. So if you send an email to a buddy, a copy appears in your inbox and in his. But if you cancel your Facebook account, that email still exists in your friend’s account.

In fact, what Zuckerberg was explaining was how a lot of content on the Internet is distributed. We should all be thanking him by using his high profile company to alert us to a privacy issue that’s been going on a long time before his company and extends way way beyond Facebook.

Concerned about your privacy? Then start paying attention.

Privacy is first up to the individual. Stop blaming big corporations and social media sites for your lack of privacy. If you’re really concerned about privacy, be more aware. Don’t assume that Facebook is the culprit just because they’re the first to admit what’s happening.

The copying of your online content has been going on for years. Every time you put something out there we leave digital footprints. We leave breadcrumbs (digital copies) everywhere. And it was going on for years before Facebook. It will continue going on after that.

Think about posting online content like you would think first when contemplating a tattoo. Do you really want to be looking at that thing ten years from now?

This news item is for the Spark Minute week of 2/23/09 which can be heard daily on Green 960 and 910 KNEW in San Francisco, CA.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kimx February 20, 2009 at 9:12 pm

The time of Facebook is over. We saw this in the past with Geocities (websites community). Everything has it’s sunrise and it’s sunset. However Twitter may continue booming for a while

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