Facebook is in the news again over privacy issues. Most users of social media already know that privacy is limited once we engage in Internet activity. However; there should still be certain levels of privacy that offer a high level of security.
Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook apps are freely sharing users personal information to advertisers and marketers. According to WSJ, this issue affects “tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook's strictest privacy settings.”
It’s reported that Zynga Game Network Inc’s Farmville with 59 million users is one of top ten apps that have transmitted personal information about user’s and their friends to outside companies. The apps reviewed by the WSJ “were sending Facebook ID numbers to at least 25 advertising and data firms, several of which build profiles of Internet users by tracking their online activities.”
A Zynga spokesperson told the Journal "Zynga has a strict policy of not passing personally identifiable information to any third parties. We look forward to working with Facebook to refine how web technologies work to keep people in control of their information."
Privacy and Facebook
We will have to wait and see what happens as a result of another “privacy breach,” and Facebook users will respond. But the truth of the matter is, we do take a high risk when sharing our personal information on any website. Anytime a we try to access a new application, we are asked if we are willing to give the application access to our personal information, photos, etc., and we have the option to choose “no.” However; we often click the “yes” button, which instantly makes us vulnerable and diminishes our level of privacy.
How Important Is Your Privacy?
One of my guest bloggers, Alfonso Wyatt recently wrote an article, “Technology Will Not Forgive or Forget.” Wyatt, references Jeffrey Rosen’s NYTimes article “The Web Means The End of Forgetting,” where according to Wyatt in referencing the article, “the author astutely presented how personal comments/pictures sent to web based sites like Facebook, MySpace, Google, YouTube, blogs or Twitter can in theory live forever in cyberspace.”
Moving forward we have to ask ourselves how important is our privacy? Are we willing to forego that game of Farmville, Scrabble and my favorite, Bejeweled Blitz to lessen the risk of privacy violation? If privacy is that important to you, then we may have to make the tough decision to limit what we share in social media. Or, if you're a realist, and secure with the fact that your personal information runs the risk of being disseminated throughout cyberspace, then by all means, continue adding apps to your social media library. It's Definitely something to think about.