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The Social Soap Box: Social Networks and Privacy

- May 27, 2010 - 66 Comments

With all of the buzz in the social web the last couple weeks around privacy and user data (Facebook in particular), we thought it would be timely to conduct an informal, unscientific poll of our Cisco Systems Facebook fans and have them weigh in on the debate. Thus far, 56 percent of the respondents agreed with the new privacy settings on Facebook while the other 44 percent didn’t. What do you think? Is there really a need for a ‘Quit Facebook Day’ movement on May 31st? Are people going too far? I turned to my friend and Co-Editor of Mashable, Ben Parr for his more expert opinion on what will happen on May 31st and his more philosophical view on privacy in general during a quick interview with my Cisco Flip.

“I’ve seen this type of protest over and over… Not much will happen. It will be a blip on the radar.”

If Ben is right (which I think he is), we can all return to some level of normalcy in our social web life on Memorial Day.  Even if the privacy debate is here to stay, isn’t it great to know that social networking sites such as Facebook, has enabled us to share information and our opinions in ways that we could never imagined even a decade ago? If you want to share your thoughts, join the conversation on our Facebook page.

In an effort to keep conversations fresh, Cisco Blogs closes comments after 60 days. Please visit the Cisco Blogs hub page for the latest content.

66 Comments

  1. I am a social networking fan; however, I am not sure about all the buzz about Facebook. I can see the possible benefits of Facebook, but so far I have heard more harm coming through Facebook than benefits.

  2. Actually there are some setting which help to increase privacy at Facebook, the problem is that they're hidden or turned off by default so most users don't even know about it.

  3. Really this brings up the subject of privacy on the internet as a whole. It is very easy to put information out there that anyone in the world can see. If it's about yourself then that's your own responsibility, but if people are posting information about you then there is nothing you can do about it currently. I don't know anyone who has been effected by this, but there have been cases of cyber bullying amongst school children, and is certainly something that could potentially become more of an issues in the future.

  4. As a full time police officer it doesn't surprise me what people put on their facebook pages. Recently the United States Air Force has encouraged all of its members to join Facebook so their supervisors can contact them (and I believe to watch them too!)I think people are quick to add people from work but not so quick to remember that they are on their buddy list.Social Networking has a lot of applications for Law Enforcement. Investigators often use it to prove associations, gain leads and do background checks.This is a two edged sword though... you can create a complete spoof profile and look like you walk on water and it will be given more weight than your application BECAUSE investigators assume you are unaware they are looking!I have even used someone's MySpace profile to identify people without ID Cards on a traffic stop and Facebook to find an owner of a lost wallet!So it can have applications for law enforcement, OTHER than spying on people!

  5. Privacy is crucial no doubt about that and I think that all websites especially Social Media should offer more options and better protection for their users. There is no question that Facebook will do whatever is needed to make their users less vulnerable to issues like this.Thanks,Rita

  6. I never really gave much thought about giving my information over when I joined facebook and twitter, but all this talk about increasing privacy settings has really got me thinking. If it is this important to so many people maybe it is a good thing to add provisions on access to our information.http://www.hosthop4.com

  7. It is the responsibility of the user.........

  8. I think it is inevitable that the social media will have to adapt as the internet and its transparency continues to evolve. To that point, we as users also need to to be responsible for what we disseminate where.

  9. We love having a facebook fan page - it seems to allow for quicker communication for our used smt & used pcb site.

  10. No, don't think that there is any need for 'Quit Facebook Day' at all. I was just glad to be informed that I needed to adjust my privacy settings to private"". Didn't see the need to quit though."

  11. How do we deal with social publicity, and personal privacy. It is a fine line to cross, and yet companies are continuing to crack down on it.

  12. I definetly think privacy issues are evolving. It is crazy to know what you can find out about someone just by doing a simple search on google.

  13. Perhaps people should take some responsibility and recognise that they are using a social network! You post information, it gets disseminated.Spare 10 minutes to check the privacy settings and away you go. Not too hard was it?

  14. My primary concerns about internet privacy revolve around my children.In my business I try to invoke the warm and fuzzy feelings"" by talking about my life experiences. Talking about my kids, my pets, and my Wife. I go so far as to include photos of them, and me, on my web sites.Clip art can not by nature invoke those feelings because they are clip art.But I am very careful about the pictures I include in my websites.As far as facebook is concerned they are both too young so I am not to concerned about that yet.Jay JettyCarpet Cleaning PahrumpCarpet Cleaning Las Vegas"

  15. This is actually the first I've heard about this. Of course, I'm a musician who still uses MySpace, so what do I know? I've always liked the fact that someone who isn't on MySpace or just not signed in can still look at my page... do you think FaceBook might start doing this?-Daryn

  16. Privacy is one major issue hurting the credibility of social networks. One such example is Facebook itself

  17. because of the privacy issues i am using facebook and other social networks only with my handle names and not my real name. i also change the settings that only people who are befriended with me can see my personal info. so basically if you are concerned about your privacy in social networks i'd recommend not to use any personal information.

  18. Thanks for sharing this important information. I advocate these new privacy settings.

  19. I agree that privacy is changing, I also think that views about privacy differ by people of different generations.

  20. Google search of the person can understand the things people may not want to let you know. I think more choice for its users to select photos and choose what they want, they want the public and private is the best way to go.

  21. Yeah, I agree with you ...We need to keep our privacy, beside of building our social life ...Regards

  22. With all the attention social media gets, these steps have to be taken. At first people were clueless, but now they realize you have to monitor at least at minimum, those forms of communications directly related to work.

  23. For me, the privacy policy in all domains of the Internet and so on Facebook is important. I do not want to share my private information with everyone, somehow do not feel good.I do not want to have false identities to avoid interference with privacy. Therefore, in my opinion better to have real name account with a very good protection of rights and identity, instead of a fake account and open and fake identity. I support the changes on Facebook and I hope you will follow the new.

  24. I'm of the opinion that people are taking 'quit Facebook' WAY too seriously. As long as there have been cookies online, the same type of information has been collected -- perhaps not as efficiently, but the whole point is to provide relevant ads. Why is that worse than seeing ads for things that are not relevant to you at all?

  25. I have stopped using facebook few weeks ago after months of experiencing it. I dont know why I have stopped but I just left it but somewhere for sure the privacy factor do come into play, though they say they have simplified it but still a lot is to be taken care of.IversonCertificate error"

  26. Though privacy in a sense is actually an irony for me here since facebook is primarily a social networking site, I still believe that privacy in this sense must have a particular premise and limit. That being said, it would be after the user to keep himself/herself private by regulating what he/she don't want others to see by limiting the words, pictures, or data he/she posts...

  27. I think the privacy setting is a good thing. I'm glad facebook did it that way its more filtered.

  28. It’s great that we have social networks, however I do think we all need to use caution when posting personal information. I really don’t care for the fact that someone that has a photo of my can post it on their page without my permission for the world to see. I believe changes were needed on Facebook, yet I still use caution, we have to take responsibility for our actions too.

  29. People should know how to secure themselves... or get to know for their safety. There is no need to make such protests.

  30. People need to take precautions for their own safety. It isnt Facebooks responsibility solely, if we dont provide the information they cant share it. Period.

  31. Privacy is definitely a concern of mine when using these social networking. There are tons of horror stories on how people have had themselves exploited and otherwise get into trouble just because of the ease of information access to these types of sites.

  32. It's just too great those privacy policies.Atleast they would not allow anyone to use other's privacy information.I also think that everyone who are on facebook should only put basic personal information like name,hobbies,ambitions etc....

  33. Facebook's new privacy options are good to have but users must also be responsible in what they disclose. While Facebook is useful in searching for and keeping in touch with our friends and lost contacts, we also have to remember that the information we put there is also viewable so that we too can be searched by others.

  34. I agree that privacy is changing, I also think that views about privacy differ by people of different generations. I think privacy is a bigger concern of people of an older generation then it is of people who are younger, which may explain the facebook privacy issues is a bigger concern in the media than it is in the facebook community.

  35. Facebook has never really done it for me, I hardly log on anymore due to the fact I keep getting sent crap invites. (ok a few of them were valid);o)Now they have changed the T&C's/privacy etc I have lost faith in the site.It became a full time job to sift through the droves of invites. Now everyone has a Facebook"" enabled website it looks like they are here to stay. Try a search for ""Facebook alternatives"" - its quite daunting.Regards - Gary M"

  36. 'Quit Facebook Day' was not a success... of my 200+ friends, 0 quit and I had another friend actually join Facebook this week. Not sure what other privacy changes will take effect on Facebook, but most people dont worry/ignore what Facebook is doing with their personal info.Thanks,Tommy from Spyware Removal Help"

  37. I think we should worry about Google too. Who knows how much information they have about everyone and everything.

  38. I fully agree with these new privacy settings !! Very good.

  39. I really thought about leaving FACEBOOK... I think it's not good what all of these so called Social Networks"" are doing with our private Data. But it's sometimes the easiest way to keep in touch friends all over the world. :-/By the way: Thanks to Cisco to make this fast Internet possible! :-)"

  40. I'm not an ultra-private guy like some network security people, but I do think that you should be asked if you want to share bits of information about your life. It's just good etiquette. I think Facebook and other advertisers throw out etiquette in favor of earning money. There used to be a thing on the Internet called Netiquette. I never hear that being talked about anymore. We should really be asking are selves: Is Facebook that useful? I don't think it is.Donnie @ Abraxas Web Design - Chattanooga, TN"

  41. In all honesty, it's not the social networks' faults. It's the users'. They signed up, they give out all this information, they post the statuses, etc. etc. Don't blame the companies.

  42. The privacy settings of FaceBook today is a big help. We can customize our own settings.

  43. Quit Facebook Day"" is impractical. I still need to use Facebook to stay in touch with friends and get invited to events.Like it or not, everyone else uses Facebook to do those things. The real solution, in my book, is to only have a ""bare bones"" profile so you aren't giving them any private information anyway.Thanks,Zachary from Missouri Internet Marketing"

  44. Facebook continues to have privacy issues that don't bode well for them or their users. It's OK to share - up to a certain point - but more harm can be done by Facebook's constant lapses of common sense and good taste.

  45. So we are all supposed to quit Facebook tomorrow to protest the weak"" privacy settings. I don't want to quit Facebook. My clients will never stop wanting Facebook integration. I want to have conversations about ethical Facebook development."

  46. From a philosophical point of wiew, I tend to think and see the internet as a wood that would need - according to Michel Serres a french philosopher - a new law law came from inside. That is: the present system of law is base on the distinction of private/public and it appears to me that this distinction should not structure our vision of the internet, because it imply a changing world.Robinhttp://www.rene-girard.com

  47. I don't think that people would be willing to completely abandon their favourite social networks."" - Brett JacobsI agree. I have several friends that use facebook and then decide to ""quit"" because they don't like the concept of everything being so open, or they feel that they spend too much time on it. Next thing you know they're back on the bandwagon again in less than a week, or have found a new alternative social networking website.It's a part of human nature to want to know everything about everyone. However, in this new information age when that information can be accessed with the simple click of a button, we as consumers have to be careful about how much of that information is being shared and who it's being shared with, and be ready to suffer the consequences. I was very distraught about the issue of advertisers gaining personal information about what was out there on Facebook. However, Facebook's quick response and willingness to ""fix"" the issue has been well received. Just like Autumn said, this is simply just a blip in the radar. All we can do is adapt, make the effort to be careful of what we have set on our privacy settings, and continue on. Thank you for this very insightful post. --Bakersfield CA Real Estate Listings"

  48. I think the social webs will help us know information or news everyday. It is important in living of everyone. it has enabled us to share information and our opinions in ways that we could never imagined

  49. I think the new settings will help, but overall people are tired of facebook changing every five minutes to suit their new profit margins.

  50. I agree with most of you that Facebook is a place to be social and it is up to the user to use their discretion.If you do not want people in your personal business (outside of name, age, etc because this is easily accessible outside of social networks thanks to computers) then do not put it out there.

  51. Although I want to blame facebook and other social networking sites for lack of privacy the main blame must lie with users. although the sites could take a more proactive approach.

  52. I would not be upset if facebook and myspace just fell off of the internet.

  53. We in the hotel industry are already facing a contraction in our guest's willingness to share personal information via our websites. The more hype that gets placed on Facebooks privacy issues, the more people hold back in sharing information that has been vital for our marketing efforts, even though we hold all of our information in strict privacy.

  54. Hi, this site look pretty good, many good news for fun, learn and relax, i will be back and call the the people for know your place, i'm a webdesiger in Brazil, and i have a blog too, my blog are abou twitter and social media.

  55. Facebook is now so important that it would be stupid to quit it definitly, almost for people who are working in the SEO domain.However, changing their privacy policy wasn't a bad thing even if a lot of work has to be done to perfect this wonderful network tool.Another explication to the failure of the Quitfacebookday"" is that there is no efficient alternative to it."

  56. I never really gave much thought about giving my information over when I joined facebook and twitter, but all this talk about increasing privacy settings has really got me thinking. If it is this important to so many people maybe it is a good thing to add provisions on access to our information.[url=http://www.salomonwellness.com]quick teen weight loss[/url]

  57. I think that Facebook will eventually listen to it's members as that's what keeps the ball rolling. To people who have problems with Facebook privacy, I say just watch what you say and add to your wall. If you don't want marketers to know your age, then don't put it down there in your profile. It's that simple, really.

  58. I do think they will be more cautious about what they choose to say and post. If Facebook and other sites want their users to be more “social” online

  59. I think it is important for people using social sites and the internet in general to remember that no matter where a comment, viewpoint or other private information is posted, if it is online there is a high probability that at some point it will get read by someone that you don't want it to.So one should always keep that in mind when disclosing something anywhere online.

  60. I do think they will be more cautious about what they choose to say and post.Certainly social media is not the only way to garner contact information to use in advertising

  61. I don't think that people would be willing to completely abandon their favorite social networks. However, I do think they will be more cautious about what they choose to say and post. If Facebook and other sites want their users to be more social"" online, they need to listen to what their users really want when it comes to privacy."

  62. i think its great that facebook has changed its privecy policy it was too easy to find out information on people

  63. I heard the news about the facebook privacy few weeks ago. Thanks for bringing up this topic.

  64. I agree that users should take privacy concerns serious. The one thing I'm always reminded of is this: Everyone hates getting spam mail and unsolicited phone calls, where do you think people gather this contact information? Certainly social media is not the only way to garner contact information to use in advertising but I'm sure it's gaining in importance the more mainstream social media use becomes.

  65. I think privacy should be taken more serious by users, inputing only basic personal information in social networks. Better safe than sorry.

  66. You bring up some very interesting thoughts, especially since social networks keep growing towards mainstream use every day.

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