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Poll: How Are Facebook Privacy Edits Affecting You?

This week we’re trying something new and a little different (at least for us). We’ve created a poll that we hope will be a fun addition to the Cisco Security blog.

Background On This Week’s Poll: You may have heard of this social network called Facebook. It used to be that people joined Facebook as part of a University affiliation and it was mostly used to keep track of school friends. Users let others know about their interests, hobbies, and favorite bands. As Facebook has grown it has morphed from a way to connect with friends into one of the de-facto ways people communicate with many in their personal life and, increasingly, in the business realm. This extends to bosses, high school friends and frienemies, and that second cousin twice removed.

While making all of these connections has been nice, there is a downside. Along the way there have been changes to the way personal content is stored and unforeseen consequences to a spreading openness. It has gotten to the point of annoyance and confusion for many. As another Cisco poster, Richard Aceves, said:

When security professionals are left scratching their heads trying to twiddle the nerd knobs or decipher the market-speak of Facebook’s opt-out dialogs, how does this bode for an ordinary user?

Last weekend I had a friend quit Facebook while we were IM’ing on Gmail. I was surprised how easily he made this decision, as it seemed to be rather drastic. I asked him if it was because of the recent privacy trends and he said, “no, I’m just getting tired of not knowing what I’m sharing.”  While an anecdote isn’t the singular of data, quitting Facebook has apparently been a growing trend. Read Write Web noted that leaving isn’t so easy (emotionally?), and Facebook has been working to quell some people’s fears. All this has left me wondering:

 


Vovici survey software

I’ll be back later with a whole new poll. Thanks for playing.

Important Note: The data collected from these polls is not meant to be used to do any analysis. It really is just for fun. YMMV.

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With much thanks to Lindsay Hamilton and Deanna Govoni!

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19 Comments.


  1. Richard Aceves

    I’m afraid I can’t choose #6 in the poll: before you posted this, I systematically deleted all my data on Facebook before deleting (note: not deactivating) my account entirely. Waiting to see what happens with diaspora* as an open source alternative…”

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  2. I hardly ever use FB and hope that it is secure when I do. My settings are all pretty closed, I think. If I heard of a major breach where my personal info could get out I would quit FB without much hesitation.

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  3. I’ve never given Facebook valid info. I trust them about as far as I can throw my truck, as it were.It does affect me tangentially as I have to help people cope with the changes – either helping them remove their account, delete information, change it – etc. and so on.

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  4. I always tell my small business clients don’t put anything on facebook you don’t want the world to see.Too many people put way too much personal info up without regard to consequences. I use facebook for business purposes,and teach my clients to do the same.

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  5. I have minimized the info and what was required to sign up is wrong. The only thing right is my name.

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  6. Lauren Friedman

    @RichardBut, you need to pick #6 since, um, you’ll always be there for yourself.:)@Joe, @JohnSame, although it is becoming harder to to protect your false info when you have friends who comment I thought you live in FOO.”" (listing your actual data which

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  7. The recent news about their problems with privacy have forced me to cancel my account…

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  8. I’ve for one have made major changes in my settings. It’s a little Big Brother”"-ish. I think that FB is seeing a backlash from the public because of their tactics”

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  9. Facebook is nothing but a modern day trojan horse that we let into our lives like Kudzu. There will be a time when many will rue the day.

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  10. Lauren Friedman

    @Dave: You’re free! How does it feel? Have you received any backlash from friends?@James: Same, almost all of my options are wiped. Have you started calling it Oceania yet? @Kevin: Have you been watching Real Genius recently?

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  11. Considering that I have no personal info on it and what is there is wrong I don’t need to change anything. Even my name is wrong. The picture was made in paint so people can’t even use that.

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  12. Richard – since you deleted your account, does this also mean that you are no longer part of my mafia or my farm neighbor?

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  13. I had to choose #5.The survey isn’t intended for me because I never joined FaceBook. However, I voted anyway because it’s because of privacy concerns that I never joined.Thus, I have no need to quit. :-)

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  14. Teh Cheng

    I’ve put no personal info into the profile and hope to limit FB to my friends connections and the minor activity updates I do post there (and yes, also jump thru hoops everytime FB makes a change to re-lock down exposure as much as possible to just Friends and some Friends-of-Friends)

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  15. Lauren Friedman

    @Anthony: Thanks – that’s what other”" was for :D”

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  16. Richard Aceves

    @Marty Careful — even your cheesy movie quotes are fair game :-)”

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  17. I had to choose #2 though I was tempted by #5. I used to use Facebook to keep track of my friends and relations but thanks to the new policies I deleted most of my personal information and am now using it for sharing news and keeping in contact with professional relations. Facebook is amazingly useful for asking technical questions and sharing interesting news. Besides, if I jump ship then who is going to be around to keep sending out Facebook’s privacy is broken”" links to all my friends who aren’t as privacy aware as me.”

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  18. These search engines help you see what is being shared on FB – if you choose to stay.OpenBook – http://youropenbook.org/andZesty.cahttp://zesty.ca/facebook/ This helps you sort through new instant personalization”" options from your browser.-ReclaimPrivacy.org, http://www.reclaimprivacy.org/facebook w/ video walk throughs, http://www.reclaimprivacy.org/help

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  19. Deanna Belle

    I love the poll, @lauren! happy to help!I have taken a much closer look at my privacy settings especially with the onset of the opt-in feature. I do think users should be defaulted to opt-out and not the other way around. The average user probably does not pay close attention to their privacy settings. Though – this could be a wake-up call for many of us! Know the privacy settings of the social networking sites that you use and always remember that your posts are trackable! (even when you think they aren’t!)

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