March 11, 2011

Read Before You Complain

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 2:36 pm

Elizabeth Boekman

When using Facebook, the biggest concern a user has is how much information is being let out for the public to see.  If too much of the user’s information appears to be ‘let out’ then they automatically blames the Facebook Company for not doing all it can with its privacy settings.  Or the user blames Facebook for not informing or teaching them how to use the privacy settings.  This is actually not the case; Facebook provides users with several pages of information explaining each privacy setting and gives multiple sites on how to set the settings.  Users are being lazy and are expecting instant gratification. Instead of taking the time to look at the privacy page on Facebook they expect one paragraph of information that will solve all their problems, this however is not reality.

When joining Facebook, one of the first things a user has to do when signing up is check the small box in the corner that says they agree to all the Privacy settings.  Most users overlook the actual agreement and just click the box.  This makes the users appear dim and misinformed when they start claiming Facebook does nothing for privacy.  If users would actually take the time to read the privacy policy instead of overlooking it like usual then they would come to find that there is a lot of useful information in it.  It is broken down into nine easy to read sections explaining all of the information that Facebook receives, the information that users share with third parties, and there is even a section called “How You Can Change or Remove Information.” (Privacy Agreement) Users need to start taking the time to read the Privacy agreement to inform themselves before they start blaming the Facebook Company.

If a user wants to know more about the privacy settings on Facebook or how to set them, all they have to do is go to the ‘Privacy’ page on Facebook.  There is a button at the bottom of the news feed on every user’s homepage that will take them to the privacy page.  (Facebook privacy site) Once a user is on this page they are provided with information that explains not only the newest privacy features like instant personalization, but also helpful information like what to share on Facebook, connecting with people on Facebook, how minors using Facebook are protected, etc.  This page also tells the user what controls there are and how to use them.  The information is out for all Facebook users to see and now it is up to the users to take the time to read and apply it to their own accounts.

If the several pages of information on the Privacy policy page and the privacy on Facebook is still too confusing for a user and they need more help setting their privacy settings Facebook provides extra site that they can go to.  (Extra Help) At the bottom of the privacy page there are several links a user can click on that provide a more in-depth explanation of how to set privacy settings.  Some of these links consist of a three-part tutorial video that explains how to step-by-step change parts of your privacy settings.  They also provide other Facebook help pages like, Privacy FAQs, Security Page, Privacy organizations and agencies, Safety Center, and General Safe Harbor Notice.  (Safety Center) To say that Facebook is not providing enough information for their users on privacy seems redundant after reading pages on pages of the types of settings Facebook has for user privacy.  The users need to start taking actions and use what is provided for them.

If some users are still not convinced that Facebook will help set their privacy settings then users can find multiple outside sources that explain Facebook privacy settings.  (How to Protect Your Privacy with Facebook’s New Privacy Settings in 17 Easy Steps) All a user would have to do is type into a search engine “Facebook settings help,” and there are many pages that provide how to set the privacy settings. On most of the pages they give users an idea of the most important things to know about their Facebook.  Some examples of what information these site provide are information about tagged photos viewing settings, protecting the information of the people you are friends with, setting who can post on a users Wall, how to deactivate a Facebook account, etc.  The information on privacy settings on Facebook is out there for users.  It is the user that needs to take responsibility now and stop blaming the company for their laziness.  Users can protect themselves, now it is just a matter of if they will take the time to do it.


  1. First! Okay I agree with what Liz said completely. I feel as if too often, people complain about the lack of help they get for things when all they had to do was invest a little time and effort. And for Facebook, I think that it is important that people know both sides of the story. Yes, Facebook allows for a lot of information to be shared, but this is only because we allow it to happen. I was going to actually read the steps that are outlined above but then remembered I gave up Facebook for lent so I had to stop myself 😦 Now though, I feel even more confident in my view towards Facebook and their privacy settings. I didn’t realize that they already had it broken down for the users in easy to read steps (a process that I view as totally optional and done as a favor to all of us Facebook users). I’m glad that someone finally looked at Facebook from the other side of the legal documentation.

    -Will Paton

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  2. Ryan Bear

    Second! So I also agree with Liz’s argument. Facebook is a site that was made for people to see what your doing, who you are, and really anything else that you wish to post on it. Therefore, when people argue that facebook is giving away too much information, its a load of bullshit. If you don’t want people to know anything about you, then don’t have a Facebook, simple as that. And Liz is right, I believe that Facebook does its best to provide the right tools and opportunities to protect its users and only transmit the right information. Granted Facebook may only do this to cover their own ass, but regardless they still do. Lazy people shouldn’t complain about things caused by their own laziness! Anyone on Facebook has abilities to make the profile private from whoever the hell they want, yet they insist on saying that its not private enough. In the end, the root of all evil is the user.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

  3. I totally agree with this post. I think that if people really cared about privacy on Facebook they should take the time to go and read the privacy policy. When I first got a Facebook I didn’t even think twice at looking at the privacy conditions. I just accepted them. I feel like I do this with a lot of different applications like my apps on my phone. I can’t be bothered to take the time to read something so boring. I think that if people have problems with the privacy conditions then they shouldn’t have a Facebook. Facebook is a site to show others who you are and to communicate. I think it is up to the user to decide what they post and not and that it is their responsibility. In my opinion I don’t even think the information Facebook provides other companies is harmful. Who cares if people know that you’re a male or female? Or that you’re 20 years old?

    – Chamilka Gunasekera

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 3:32 pm | Reply

  4. This post reminds me a lot of the apps article we read in class. It is a similar issue because people are giving up their personal information without knowing that they agreed to it. However, I agree with the writer here that it is the people’s fault for not taking the time to read the privacy rules and instructions before setting up their account. With all of this new technology, society needs to understand that they will need to put forth an extra effort to protect themselves. I know that I personally always skip over reading these documents, but after taking English 102 I might stop and read parts of it before agreeing with it.
    -Scott Smith

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 11, 2011 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

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