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Blog: The Privacy Perils of Being on Facebook

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Facebook appears to be an important part of our daily lives. When waiting for the tram or sitting alone in a café, you login and wander through status updates. You like a status of a friend you haven’t seen in 6 months, share an article or blog, upload a picture. The rare encounter with someone who is not on Facebook, other than your parents perhaps, might leave you flabbergasted. You’re fascinated by this alien creature who is able to exist without the use of oxygen, or so it seems.

But is Facebook really such a blessing?

It will happen from time to time. A friend updating their status in a panic, posting the following message:

“ALL THE PHONE NUMBERS IN YOUR PHONE are now on Facebook! go to the top right of the screen, click on ACCOUNT, click on EDIT FRIENDS, left side of screen and click CONTACTS. You will see all phone numbers from your phone (FB friends or not) are published that you have stored in your mobile phone. TO REMOVE, go to RIGHT column, click on “this page.” Please repost this on your status, so your friends can remove their numbers and thus prevent abuse if they do not want them published.”

8 hours ago • Like

A few comments later it turns out that these phone numbers aren’t public. It only happens when you yourself connected it to Facebook. And even then the phone numbers are visible for you alone. Nevertheless, Facebook still possesses the initial information. A massive database of phone numbers on top of the collection of names, birth dates, e-mail addresses and an assortment of likes and activities. Thus there are no guarantees for privacy.

It might seem that the odd people who aren’t on Facebook might be the lucky ones. Free from the hassle of security scares and mysterious updates. We could join them and collectively decide to stop. However, I don’t see this happening any time soon.