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Facebook–Where Everyone Knows Your Name May 6, 2010

Posted by Nina Rosenstand in Culture, Current Events, Ethics, Nina Rosenstand's Posts.
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An Indiana woman’s home was burglarized recently, while she was at a concert. The culprits turned out to be Facebook “friends”;  she had announced, online,  that she’d be at the concert. With friends like that, we surely don’t need any enemies, as the old saying goes.  Facebook, along with MySpace and Twitter, is one of the institutions in which a generation may see itself mirrored and reach self-comprehension, and it is a fascinating phenomenon, socially, psychologically and philosophically. Most of my students, and most of my friends’ kids, have Facebook pages, and I see the amazing accumulation of “friends” displayed on their sites—in some cases thousands.  I think it probably compares to “counting coup” in the Old West, a new form of collection mania, or transition rites of adolescence (such as collecting phone numbers that you’ll never, ever call—as if they’re proofs of friendship). I assume that everybody knows this is just a new term for temporary, occasional contacts, and not genuine friends, but even so, words are seductive, and some of these contacts get to know a wealth of details about each other that I (coming from a different time and place—I’m kind of a time traveler. We all are, the older we get) would reserve for perhaps only two or three people in my entire life. A friend, to me, is someone who you do activities with (according to Deborah Tannen: the male friendship model), and/or talk about big and small things with (Tannen: the female model), or both. It doesn’t have to involve proximity: a friend can be a good friend, even if you don’t see them for years.  Online/phone contact makes up for physical presence in many of our current friendships. On the other hand, people you see every day and deal with on a superficial level, are acquaintances, not friends. So I am not a big fan of the friending phenomenon online, or the social websites where some people spend part of their social life—perhaps even all of it.

However, I, too, have a Facebook page, and there is nothing, absolutely nothing personal on it, on or behind the Wall. I don’t check it very often, because I don’t maintain it to accumulate friends. From time to time I get “friend” requests from strangers, and I ignore them. But quite often I get such requests from students—former and present. I appreciate the (presumably) amicable intent, and I don’t want to seem rude and alienate nice people—but on the other hand, sharing personal information with students  is downright unprofessional for an instructor, and may even be construed as professionally unethical:  are you more “friends” with students on your Facebook page than with the students who aren’t on your “friends” list? That could lead to the suspicion of preferential treatment of some students. In addition, it may in some cases invite trouble: some people can’t tell the difference between a real Friend and a Facebook contact, and they don’t know where the line should be drawn. So I don’t add anyone as a friend who is not either a real old face-to-face friend or a colleague I know personally, and on my page I state specifically that I don’t add students as friends.

But this issue goes way beyond such personal choices in changing times: it illustrates the new questions arising about how much and when to make oneself available to friends, to students, colleagues, teachers, and the world in general—because this is not an innocent world. Years ago, when I was the same age as students now collecting friends on Facebook, we loved Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan books, about the old brujo teaching the young anthropologist the secrets of power (as some of us suspected, most of those books were, shall we say, fantasies rather than actual anthropological reporting). One ground rule was, loosely paraphrased, Don’t give away too much information about yourself. The more you spread your information out there, the less control you have over your life. Now Carlos wanted to use this rule for a deeper understanding and use of the powers of the mind, but I’d say that it is a pretty good rule to bring back in these days when privacy is becoming a thing of the past. Our intimate information will soon be out there, anyway, whether it be through ubiquitous webcams, health records online, tax records online, or other means. And enterprising people—with or without political and legal legitimacy—will be able to mine all that information for power and profit. It is already happening. Why add to it by sharing details about your life, simply for narcissistic reasons? Facebook is being challenged by U.S. lawmakers as to changes in its privacy policy, which would allow  Facebook members other than your friends to access personal information about you—but even if Facebook restricts the access to “Friends,” it would not be much of a protection, when people add “friends” indiscriminately as a form of collecting trophies, and share details about their lives with untold strangers because it feels good. In addition, the phenomenon of phishing is getting increasingly sophisticated. This excerpt comes from a blogger who is a regular user of Facebook, Dan Tynan from ITWorld:

I still have a dozen other group invitations from various friends. I don’t trust any of them now. I don’t even want to click “ignore” on the odd chance it will somehow corrupt my account and spam all 700-odd people in my FB posse. So this spam attack has effectively killed that feature for me. And if spammers can manipulate Facebook’s group recommendations that easily, imagine what they could do to Facebook’s plan to butter “Like” buttons all over the Web.

We’ll see much more of this erosion of privacy in the future. So your old Professor Cautious recommends: think twice before you share your personal information with selected friends and accumulated strangers on Facebook and elsewhere in Cyberspace…

PS  The latest development from The Atlantic: The Facebook Privacy Wars Heat Up.

PPS May 11: In case you were in doubt: here’s what’s been going on since December, according to Wired Epicenter (long and informative article):



1. Aemal - May 8, 2010

This is an interesting issue. I do have a Facebook and use it regularly. It’s probably the first thing I check once I log into my computer in the morning. I then check it maybe every few hours throughout the day. Even since I moved, Facebook has become the main means of communication between me and many of my closest friends. Facebook chat allows for seamless conversations that are fast then text messaging and because it was introduced when I was in high-school, I kind of grew up using it. The issue of privacy for me personally is simple. Do not add friends whom you do not know, keep most information private, and use logic on what information you want posted on Facebook. Many people I know have lots or personal information on Facebook, like phone numbers and where they live. People need to understand that those items may be just to much information to be safe. Its people’s choice to use Facebook. “Erosion of privacy” is in the hands of those who want to use these social networking sites and how they choose to use it. Also Facebook should be used only to connect with those you actually want to talk to or keep in touch with. Just because you want to keep adding friends so your friend count gets higher is ridiculous. A number means nothing.

2. Osten - May 8, 2010

It occurred to me that Facebook might be used like the news; one’s “friends” are provided the means to report on their activities and then report back on their own. It would probably be “most” effective as a news source however if one’s friend list encompassed as many people as possible, this might mean accepting all Facebook users as friends. Though I don’t deny that the situation like the Indiana woman’s is not fear worthy, I can’t imagine a more “complete” source for news. This being a social network however, makes me think that this scenario would be more about reporting feelings than events. I wonder what one might see on Facebook if they were “friends” with everybody.

3. Mark Aumend - May 8, 2010

I would have to agree with Professor Rosenstand’s position on this matter. Facebook, though efficient and tempting, is another rapidly expanding highway for hackers, spammers, and other unscrupulous individuals to use for information manipulation purposes. We should also observe the potential future implications of this and similar websites; they pose an unwarranted security risk to everyone with associated family members that unknowingly have their pictures posted along with the intentional ones. For example, computers now have face recognition software which can be used to identify a person’s name and other personal information, so when someone is “tagged” within sites like Facebook that information may potentially be used by identity thieves to locate the wealthy family members of those who otherwise would keep that information private, and use that information to access banking, credit, and other valuable assets thus resulting in endless police investigations which produce nothing but paperwork. The advertising industry are well aware of these threats and have contract clauses that address security and legal implications that actors and models would be crazy not to account for in their insurance policies. So for we common folk, it is simply best to protect our personal information as well as yield to the temptation of showing our faces to the world if we value our respective assets.

4. Asur - May 8, 2010

Crime has always been opportunistic; the more opportunities you present people to exploit your trust or carelessness — and the more people you present them to — the more it will happen.

This fact is as old as humanity itself.

The only special considerations relative the net are the number of people using it and the persistence of its contents — which should already be obvious.

5. Mike - May 9, 2010

It is alarming when you discover the availability of personal info on FB and around the web. Many FB users do not have their privacy settings set to the maximum levels, and have all of their contact info (phone #, address, and email) on display for the entire world (literally) to see. Depending on how much the person uses their FB account, you can decipher almost everything about them. These breaches of privacy are not only limited to social networking sites, but any thing you post/upload to the web. I recently received an anonymous note from a female, and was nervous that I may have had a stalker, I googled her the phone number she left me and found out through a online posting for roommate 1 yr ago, a wealth of information. So I would agree that it is always better to be on the cautious side and, not to trust anyone.

6. not a fan of facebook - May 10, 2010

I do not have a facebook so I am not familiar with all of the atrocious things that have happened on the “friendly website.” All of my friends and family members do not understand why I do not have a facebook. When asked why I do not have a facebook I simply reply that I don’t think it is a useful way to make friends. I would rather be out hanging out with people rather than obsessing over others lives. When I ask people why they have a facebook they reply that it is a “good way to keep in touch with people.” What ever happened to phones, email, or even face to face gatherings? I think facebook has made people be socially dependent on the internet. I have a friend who was nearly raped because of face book. It is not safe. Facebook should have a required privacy blocker. People should not add strangers to look at their page. It is important to be alert and always be aware that there are weirdoes out there. People act as if facebook is so much more sophisticated than facebook but it’s pretty much the same thing. Bad things do happen on face book and you should not trust anyone, even you’re so called friends.

7. Victor Nguyen - May 10, 2010

Unfortunately for me, I too, have a facebook and I check it regularly. When I go inside the LRC and use the computer, that is the first site that I usually check on. I find facebook useful for example, if I lost my phone I can message a person for their number, chat with people or send photos. Like a couple posters said above me, it’s a good news source. It’s very fast and convenient. I just think people need to be aware about how much privacy they put. Facebook does somewhat of a good job keeping that privacy. Example is advertisement on the side based on what you typed in your interests. I think people just need to be educated, learn the potential harm, be careful on who they pick their friends and put limited information on their website.

8. Nina Rosenstand - May 11, 2010

Thanks for comments and suggestions! Check out the PPS addition from today at the end of my blogpost, and read the whole article. There is no more privacy on Facebook–the redesigned system makes all information available to 3rd parties. This ought to make us all rethink using Facebook…

9. michael j. berry - May 11, 2010

The whole facebook/myspace phenomenon is a sad social commentary on just how low we have fallen. You now have people spending literally hours a day on their social network sites keeping in touch with people who they either don’t actually know or don’t care enough about to have an actual conversation with. Wow, what a novel idea, actually sitting in the same room with a person and actually communicating your thought and ideas with another living person. Too bad we are shying more and more away from that. The whole facebook debacle is only serving to destroy any threads of social skills the younger generations have left. So-called “Crash-TV” has already destroyed their attention span to the point where a squirrell on crystal meth can pay attention to something for a longer period of time than your average 16 year old can. And now thanks to Facebook/MySpace teens and young adults can whither away in from of their computer checking up on their thousands of “friends” when in reality they have none that are real.

Asur - May 12, 2010

Ridiculous. The medium of communication is irrelevant, important is simply that communication occurs. Saying that face to face communication is more ‘real’ than a phone call, a letter, or an electronic exchange is simple bias.

Face to face communication can aspire to the very heights of formulaic meaninglessness, just as a note in Verdana 10pt can convey deep feeling and intimacy.

10. Julia - May 11, 2010

I closed my Facebook account recently. At first, Facebook felt like something akin to keeping an extremely-lightweight online journal. I was accomplishing something, writing, and at the same time was staying in touch with friends and good acquaintances. Then I noticed how much time it took to stay current, be responsive, and create comments. I also noticed that, overall, what I had written was pretty trivial. Facebook cut into everyday three-dimensional reality: being outside, walking, listening, doing chores, looking around without trying to see anything, in other words, simply being.

I also realized Facebook creates a false sense of duty. Receiving notice that a friend uploaded new photos, posted new info, it felt impolite to ignore it because “it” was a person. I was spending too much time writing thoughtful replies, keeping my page active. If I collected all that time and redistributed it in real-reality, I would go out with friends, talk on the phone, make a good meal; the pleasure would be immeasurably greater than collecting zeroes and ones in non-real reality.

11. Kara McNair - May 11, 2010

An interesting issue. I do happen to have a Facebook and like many people, it’s usually the first or second thing I check in the morning. I check it usually about twice a day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. As far as Facebook Privacy goes, I suppose it all comes down to adding the people you know well, and can trust. I only add people that I know personally, from school, good friends and such. If someone were to friend request me whom I don’t think I know(which seems to happen a bit), then I simply ask if I know them from somewhere and if they don’t respond then I just ignore the request, and if they respond saying that I don’t know them then, I obviously ignore that. Almost never does it happen that I end up knowing that person. I think that on Facebook, regardless of having friends you know, you shouldn’t put up so much personal information. I’ve seen some of my friends have their addresses and phone numbers on there, and I just don’t think that is safe. So, in short, be smart and be safe about who you add and what you allow other people to see about you on your profile. Protect yourself, because things like in the story in the blog, can happen to anyone who’s so blaze about personal information.

12. chantel - May 11, 2010

When I first read this article, I thought about the teens who robbed the celebrity’s homes. They figured out when they wouldn’t be home based it off of twitter, face book and the celeb appearances. The teens stole thousands of dollars worth of designer clothes and jewelry. Face book can be scary if you put to much personal information on it. One should never give out phone numbers and addresses on face book! People can develop stalkers if they do not limit their profile pages to having it be only their friends who may view their page. I think face book is a little out of control. It used to be made just for college students but now my little cousins, aunts and even my mother has face book. Not that it’s an issue, because face book is a huge networking, social machine. I never accept people I don’t know and my profile is definitely set to private. But it is great for communicating with my mother, since I live away from home now. Face book to me is really all in fun.

13. Huy - May 11, 2010

I made a Facebook account less than year ago just to try it out, and it has become a daily use for me to keep in touch with my friends. I like the event feature on Facebook because it’s an easy way to send out invites to your friends for a birthday party, fundraiser, concert,etc. But concerning the privacy, I only add friends and family members. I limit the amount of information that I post online because I do not want people to get to know me mostly by online. I rather them get to know me in real life. Facebook though is more safe than myspace because there is less spamming and phishing. Sometimes when I use to use Myspace, I would press on a friend’s page, and it would give me a virus, therefore started using myspace less, and eventually stop using it completely.

14. Ashley - May 11, 2010

This is a very interesting issue because many people, not just students, have a facebook. Many do include personal information in their “information” section such as city they love in, age, and relationship status. Many of my friends even share their telephone number and e-mail address. I try to limit the amount of information I give out, because I know there are people out there who stalk facebook, and are a threat to society.

Just recently, my husband was in Afghanistan, and I had to be very careful about the information that I put on my facebook. Of course I would let everyone know on my status when I would hear from him so others new he was doing okay, but I would never state where he was, or when the expected date he was coming home would be. Although we have rules to follow called “OPSEC,” many would put informaiton up about their military service members that would go against the rules. Along the 7 months that he was deployed, I had many people from Afghanistan, Iraq, and other foreign countries try to add me as a friend on facebook. They say that many go to the families of military personnel to find out information about the military. It can be life threatening, and destroy many lives to put comments or information on the where abouts of our military.

You need to be very careful who you “add” because they can be anyone. If I don’t know them or don’t talk to them, I don’t add them. I also block many people who look suspicious so they are not able to see any of my information.

The good thing about facebook is the security that you can make for yourself. You can set everything to private and have to be friends with someone in order to see most of their information. I have also had a girl find me and stalk me on myspace. She would delete her page and make a new one and try to add me again. Months went by before she found me on facebook, and has continued stalking me, and trying to add me. It could be a really scary thing, because for all I know this girl is really a guy predator.

Another good thing about facebook is the fact that I can socialize with family and old friends. I am from New Jersey, and I am in California due to the military, and it is nice to keep in touch with good friends and family from back home. My mother is able to see new pictures that I upload from concerts, soccer, and my puppy. It comes down to knowing yourself, and your friends. You need to limit the information that you give out to keep yourself and your friends from any danger.

It is very unfortunate that you can’t exactly hide every single detail about yourself. There are people out there who are computer smart, and know how to hack or look up personal information. It is scary what hte world is coming to. Having a facebook, myspace, or twitter account puts everyone at risk. And when you add a new friend, that puts you both at a higher risk, because you have more people who are able to see your page.

I hope that everyone stays very careful, and limits the things that they state. Make sure you view your information page, and delete your e-mail addres and telephone numbers. If you have any friends who have more then enough information on their page, warn them and maybe you can get them to take down their numbers. You can’t trust anyone anymore. Be safe!

15. Jacob J - May 12, 2010

I would consider myself a Facebook junkie… most of my Friends probably would as well. The first sign of my addiction came with MySpace, which is the original. Admittedly, my purpose at the beginning was to gain more Friends. A few years after making the switch to Facebook, I began to only allow someone to be my friend if I had met them in person. This criterion made some sort of difference for awhile. Just recently, I actually sifted through my Friends and trimmed the number down a bit.

People only see what you want them to, and you only see what you want to. (This, of course, is not including third-party companies.) The ability to personalize something that connects you to family, classmates, and peers can be the key to prevention of cases like the one in this blog. A user even has the means to make virtually EVERYTHING private. Pictures, location, age, etc. can either be provided or not provided by the specific Facebook member.

This is where the problem lies. People love to have photos commented on, Status Updates “liked”, and funny YouTube videos posted on their Walls. This is why I agree with your choice of disclosing nothing personal on your Facebook page, even though it’s not the case for me. I know the risk I am taking when I post an update about the restaurant I’m excited for on my birthday. Someone could easily use that information to do harm against me. But the chance that my mom will “like” my Facebook status from 2,000 miles away, I’ll see it on my iPhone at dinner, and it’ll make my night is much greater than someone breaking into my house.

16. Yeuk Pei Chau - May 12, 2010

I agree with you that the matter of privacy is a major problem on Facebook. As I can remember, few years ago, when the Facebook was only used by UCSD students, the school terminated a lot of students because of students’ pictures. Students carelessly posted their pictures, which showed that they were drinking in school area. The school stated that students were never allowed to drink in school area. Since they have evidences to proof students violating those rules. The school terminated them. Should students have privacy? I think it is not right for school to involve its students’ private lives

In addition, I want to suggest that Facebook also propaganda imitation. By looking at those “ friends” account, we can see their wonderful lives. They are beautiful. They travel around the world. They also having a lot of friends in their account. Everything seems perfect. However, are they really like that? A lot of my friends give up their Facebook account because they feel that people on Facebook are like frauds. People behave differently while they are on Facebook. Perhaps, they try to create a ideal life that they long for.

To me, maintaining a Facebook account is like marketing. According to 48 Laws of Power, in order to be successful, we need to play other people’s fantasy. People are always attracted to those have what they don’t have. By up loading some beautiful pictures, we are actually telling everyone that we are better than you. Therefore, perhaps, it is a good way to get some people’s attention that may be useful in the future.

17. Ang - May 12, 2010

Although Facebook faces no difficulty in achieving its fundamental purpose of allowing us to keep in touch with family and friends, users possess a plethora of reasons for staying active in this social network. One main reason, for me, is to satisfy my curiosity. I have a bunch of old friends from high school who I have not come in contact with since graduation. Having them as my contacts on Facebook allows me to see what they have done and where they are at in this world.

Friends of mine tell me that this is one of their reasons for staying active and aware on Facebook too. With friends and family constantly peeking into your lives through this network, it is no wonder why people post information and photos usually boasting of their accomplishments, places they have traveled, events to look forward to, etc. There is definitely nothing wrong with expressing yourself in this manner; Facebook users must just realize that anything and everything published on the Internet, in general, increases vulnerability in all walks of life. It is to their discretion regarding what they want their “friends” know.

People who are not “friends” of yours may also have access to your Facebook profile. Type in a full name in Google, and you will find – just within the first few hits – a link to the person’s Facebook page. Different privacy settings allow people to see single or a combination of tabs on a person’s page, such as Wall, Info, or Photos. It is your responsibility to control what information you want disclosed. Unfortunately, in a world full of hackers and other technological geniuses, there is no guarantee that information you have down as private really is kept private.

18. Kelly S. - May 12, 2010

Facebook is a great website to connect with friends however it has many dangerous problems associated with it as well. As someone who has a facebook page, many random people try to add you as a friend; I personally do not add these people because they are not my friends but other people do so without thinking about the consequences. Many people also put dangerous information on their pages such as their phone numbers, what city they live in, and even what part of town they live in. If random people are added as friends to your page and you have personal information about about yourself, you can unknowingly create a situation for yourself that can become problematic. While people are constantly updating their status’ and letting “friends” know what they are doing at all hours of the day we have said goodbye to the privacy of our lives.
Facebook can be a lot of fun however; I feel that people should be warned of the dangers of putting your information on the web for all to see.

19. Silvio Bonfiglioli - May 12, 2010

I am from a different country where Facebook has another name, but shares the same tools. The name is Orkut. The reason I am a member of Orkut, is to keep in touch with my friends and family in Brazil. I recognize many problems with Orkut, especially in a 3rd world country where poverty and crime are in a high level. There are many cases of girls getting raped and people getting robbed, by “friends” they have never seen in their lives. Every time I go to Brazil, I do not tell anyone but my family. The reason why I do this is because I do not want any surprises when I arrive in Sao Paulo’s airport, the city where I am from in Brazil. I have to admit, the website keeps me close to home, I can see my friends pictures, I know when they are in a good or bad mood, and even when they get a new girlfriend. In my opinion people have to be careful with the amount of personal information that is published on line, you never know who is reading it.

20. r.nol - May 13, 2010

I agree with Professor Rosenstand that students should not fraternize with theirs instructors and that it is very unprofessional and risky. There should always be a line, even if it’s virtual.

Several instances have occurred where people have been fired because of facebook/social networking websites. They add their bosses/managers and forget, then complain about them; or they call in sick for work then post about going to a sport’s game or other event.

A prospective employee for Cisco posted this on a popular social networking website:

‘Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.’

A Cisco employee saw the post and responded with:

‘Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web.’

Facebook/social networking sites are easy ways for people to find out information about you, and to see what you’re saying. Any information you put on facebook is stored forever even if you delete it. You should always watch what you say in real life and especially on the internet where anyone can see it.

Asur - May 13, 2010

Actually, it’s the other way around, only instructors have a professional onus not to ‘fraternize’ with their students — those same students are under no such obligation relative their instructors.

21. Tommy Rummani - May 13, 2010

Its true that facebook has its problems with people knowing certain things about you, but there are also certain things that people have to think about before they post something up. For example, that lady from Indiana should have at least had that idea in the back of her mind. Its not just facebook, most people dont even tell their neighbors where they are going or how long they will be gone for. Facebook will always be relevant because it is a good source of communication with one’s friends. There are also many privacy settings on there which people can block people from seeing. Facebook has to be blamed somewhat for this because many people can see your whole life story, but the woman who was burglarized needs to be blamed the most. Its not even the burglar’s fault, if someone has 500 friends, has a picture of them at their house next to a $2000 tv, and says their going to be gone for the next 4 hours, it seems like that person would deserve it for being that gullible. In the end Facebook is a growing form of communication and with the millions of members, people just have to think twice about what they say.

Asur - May 13, 2010

The notion that the victim of a crime can be responsible for that crime being committed against them because they were too weak to prevent it is flatly perverse.

No one — ever — ‘has something coming to them’ simply because they were too trusting. If anything, that fact simply magnifies the injustice of the crime perpetrated against them.

22. James P. - May 13, 2010

I myself have a Facebook and do check it on a regular basis, to stay in touch with friends and family. However I don’t use my real name so that my close friends and family are the only ones that add me and so employers cant look for me and use my information against me. I do agree that facebook has many loop-holes and back-alleys that get your information tampered with, for instance when uploading a picture to facebook,. In the tiny little agreement you check to process that image states that “facebook owns that image once you upload it to the site.” So let us suppose that a artist is trying to get some notoriety uses facebook to get their name recognized in the art world and uploads their art. Maybe one day they open a gallery and put some of images they used on facebook in their gallery, well they don’t own those images anymore the forfeited that right when posting them on facebook so at any point they could be sued for this breach in contract all because that artist clicked a box on a social networking site agreeing to something that they didn’t even read in the fine print.

23. Greg S. - May 13, 2010

The world of technology is growing too fast for some people to handle. This unfortunate thing that happened about the robbery is a simple mistake that could have easily been avoided with some guidance and common sense that obviously was not present with this girl. It sucks that other people who don’t have any understanding about privacy have to ruin it for the rest of us who do enjoy facebook for the simple pleasure of meeting up with old classmates from elementary school that you used to see and “play” with everyday at recess. Or the friends that you made a pact with in the early days that you would be best buds forever but a thing called life set in and you went your separate ways. There is nothing wrong with being social, you just need to know where to draw the line. It’s sad that a majority of people out there abuse facebook. Adding coworkers or people that you had the most interesting talk with at last weeks party is fun and has no harm if you know how to conduct yourself. All in all I think facebook should come with an hour training session before you can sign up that you can’t skip explaining all the details of privacy and what not to do. This only applies for the people that never grew up with common sense.

24. Kyle Boyce - May 13, 2010

Facebook is both a blessing and a curse. I mean if you want to know what is going on in your friends lives and want an easy way to communicate with them Facebook is amazing. The problem however is that nothing online is private, if you have an account anyone can know everything they want to know about you. Another thing is that people tend to post everything about their life. This is especially true on twitter. Not everyone needs to know what you’re doing at any given moment. People like the women in Indiana should pay closer attention to what they are saying on these social networking sites. Facebook is not the problem, nor is MySpace or twitter. The real problem is ignorance and carelessness . To finish my thoughts, people need to use these social networking sites more responsibly. Thanks.

25. Sean Wells - May 13, 2010

I agree that social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, ect. have negative affects, such as providing other with your personal information and letting others know what you’re doing or where you are. These sites are making improvements to privacy settings and that is great, but the biggest problem is that people aren’t aware of what people can do with your information (track you down, rob you, hijack one of your accounts online).

Facebook has over 350 million users so there’s obviously something good about it. You can connect with people all the time and that’s a great feature. If people would limit how much personal information they provided on their profile and had the privacy settings set to the maximum level, we wouldn’t have this problem (or at least to this extent).

It is important to only become friends with people you know in real life. A person can create an account, upload an image of another person, and add you as a friend just to see more of your personal information. When you update your status with your location or where you are right now, you are putting yourself in danger. If you’re away from your home, someone could go there and rob you. If you’re at a bar or club, someone could go there and stalk you. If you’re by yourself, someone could hurt you.

As long as you are cautious and aware of what information is being displayed for your friends, friends of friends, and everyone… then it’s fine. That’s my input.

– Sean Wells

26. Andrew Newcomb - May 13, 2010

When i was first introduced to Facebook, I was unwilling to try it out, and thought that the whole thing was simply a way for people to focus on themselves publicly. My friend set up a page for me, and by the time I had started using it for a few days, I was hooked. Today I check my e-mail everyday, and when I see a bold link that means someone has commented on my status or added me as a friend.
With respect to revealing private information on facebook, people should exercise discretion, given the highly addictive nature of the program. Some people have a tendency to cast off the remains of their previous life, and submit themselves to the facebook world.
South Park recently published an episode in which peoples profiles were metaphorically represented by images of themselves, or projections of their ego. My problem with facebook is the same as the problem I have with myspace. A site that is started with the humble intentions of just “sharing the music” or “social Networking” eventually will morph into a self-loving ego expedition. The thing I hate the most about facebook is that i am on it right now, translating my lifer in to series of computer key characters.

27. Samuel - May 13, 2010

To my surprise, when I first logged onto my computer today, on the front page of Yahoo.com was “7 things you shouldn’t do on Facebook.” As I read the article, number 5 on the list of what you shouldn’t do on Facebook was “Mentioning That You’ll Be Away From Home.”


I myself do not have a Facebook account and I am not planning to obtain one anytime soon. Although Facebook can be a great tool for keeping in touch with friends and family, I personally believe that all the negative (personal/privacy issues) with Facebook outweigh anything positive for myself. I have a hard time understanding why some people would post personal information about themselves, better yet tell the world about when and where they will be. Like the article on Yahoo.com state, it’s “like putting a “no one’s home” sign on your door”. I guess I like my privacy and if I really need to keep in touch with my friends and family, I’ll just do it the old school way, by phone!

28. More on Facebook and Privacy « Philosophy On The Mesa - May 17, 2010

[…] 17, 2010 Posted by Dwight Furrow in Culture, Dwight Furrow's Posts, Ethics, Technology. trackback Nina’s post about privacy on Facebook thoroughly covered the […]

29. More on Facebook and Privacy | Rants & Reasons - May 17, 2010

[…] Nina’s post about privacy on Facebook thoroughly covered the issue. […]

30. Facebook Revisited–New Policies for Professors « Philosophy On The Mesa - April 25, 2011

[…] of what Mark Zuckerberg may think about the declining value of the concept of privacy. I talked about the subject on this blog last year, where I explained my take on professors friending students (and got a great […]

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