Saturday, July 03, 2010

You Can't Live With It. Or Without It.

It's difficult to know where to put one's oar in the water on Facebook's privacy practices because there's going to be an oil slick everywhere you do.

It's bad enough that any pervert with two brain cells to rub together can track down a comely lass through her Facebook profile, but now comes word that when Facebook users clicked on ads appearing on profile pages, the site would at times provide data to advertisers such as the username behind the click, as well as the user whose profile page from which the click came.

Facebook has regularly revised its privacy settings and made them more difficult to use in an obvious effort to stay ahead of its critics, although it seemed to have retreated somewhat to placate its critics. But the larger issue is not the laissez faire attitude of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his crew to privacy concerns but how little the vast majority of Facebook's nearly 500 million active users care losing their own privacy.

This is because social networking is the coin of the realm and not being on Facebook for many people -- and not just naive and impressionable teenagers -- is akin to wearing hoop skirts and riding around in a horse and buggy.

I resisted the siren call until the webmaster for my new book said that a Facebook page -- for the book, not me -- was essential.

Ahem, he was right.

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