Will Bueché

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Hullabaloo about Facebook Privacy Settings

Posted in Personal by Will on Saturday, December 12th, 2009 ~ 9pm

In essence, Facebook has asked everyone to review their security settings, and given them more encouragement to limit information that one may have shared too casually in the past. It’s a good pro-active move of Facebook, to recognize the misuse of information and to prompt people to select higher security settings.

So what’s the fuss? No cause for fuss that I can see. The “Privacy Settings” page has all the options right there. The only cause for complaint is that the “Please Update Your Privacy Settings” nag-screen that appeared to everyone last week was too simplistic, and one really needs to visit the Privacy Settings page afterwards — as I certainly did (and probably millions of others did as well) after realizing that I did not remember what my “Old Settings” that it referred to actually were.

I ended up more carefully choosing my settings. And that is what this whole alert was all about.

BUT…What remains true is that Facebook Apps — those quizzes and such — have access to even info that you have set to be Friends-only or Friends of Friends! This ACLU application was written by the ACLU to show off the security hole that continues to exist to this very day, and which is a serious flaw in the Facebook system, since it even affects people who never use any apps themselves! (The apps can see your private info even if a single one of your friends uses the app.): http://apps.facebook.com/aclunc_privacy_quiz/

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