A few weeks ago, Patricia mentioned Facebook in her post about digital privacy. I couldn’t help thinking of that post–and the predictions she made in it–when I heard about Facebook’s newly instated privacy settings. As of yesterday they’ve simplified their privacy controls and applied them retroactively, meaning that users can protect past posts. They’ve also done away with mandatory “instant personalization”, a program introduced last month which draws information from users’ profiles to customize other websites–for example, music sites like Pandora.
The instant personalization service is still there, however–the only difference is that now it can be turned off. A nice first step, yes. But it may have come too late. Many users have decided that keeping up with Facebook’s constant changes is too demanding. There are entire sites dedicated to people vowing to quit the site entirely. Even Google is struggling after introducing Google Buzz. As of yet the service has privacy controls that can be turned on and off. But then again, it has GPS and geotags your every post. Creepy? I think so. And apparently I’m not the only one. I would not be at all surprised to see it become the new fuel for the privacy fire.