Facebook: Privacy Issues

# this blog is answering the question: Analyse critically the following statement by Mark Zuckerberg while comparing it to privacy issues raised by online social networking collaborative practices.

Talk about privacy.

I just had a privacy breach. I just made a Twitter account, and I asked some friends to “follow me on twitter”. And one of them mentioned that there’s another Twitter account using my name and photo. The photo is one of my FACEBOOK PROFILE PICTURE and that Twitter account even has the link to my personal blog. I NEVER make a twitter account before. so.. You get the picture.

Talk about privacy breach.

Upon discussing about Privacy issues in Facebook, let us analyse on what Mark Zuckerberg has said (0:26 to 0:39):

alternatively, watch video here.

“When people have control over what they share, they are comfortable sharing more”
It’s not necessarily true, although it has some truth in it. Instead, when people have control, they are able to share more (Kirkpatrick, 2010). Note that sharing information does not necessarily mean you want to, but sometimes it’s because you have to. As Facebook is a social network, the reason why we use Facebook is to connect with our friends and make new friends (Boyd, 2008: 17). However, these ‘friends’ may influence us to share our personal information even when we initially do not want to (peer pressure). For example, they ask directly to your wall, “What’s your mobile number?” “Can I have your Blackberry Pin?”

“When people share more, the world becomes more open and connected”
Yes, the world is more open and connected. But is it necessarily better? (Boyd, 2008:17 looks at this issue by asking the question, “But is it good for people?”) Maybe we are more exposed to humanitarian events such as “We Pray For You” (Japanese earthquake victims). But participating in humanitarian event does not necessarily need a high level of sharing personal information. Instead, sharing information may open more opportunities for crimes to be happening. The reason is, not all people are able to be entrusted with the information that is shared (Jones & Soltren, 2005: 4). Some people may misuse that information to gain personal advantage. Last year, back in Indonesia, a teenage girl is kidnapped because she becomes “friends” with the person through Facebook. That’s how dangerous sharing information can be. (access news here, however, it’s in Indonesian).

“And in a more open world, many of the biggest problems we face together will become easier to solve.”
Yes, if we are more open towards each other, we may solve problems easier, as we are able to communicate our genuine opinions and discuss the solutions. But once again, solving these “biggest problems” does not need high extent of sharing personal information. This refers to what information is being shared, to whom is the information being shared, and the reason why the information is shared. You don’t necessarily need to give your full name to help the poor. You don’t need to tell about your personal life in order to give comments about the economic recession.

The statement is true, yet it is an overgeneralisation on what will be happening if we live in a perfect world (Kirkpatrick, 2010).

We should always be reminded on what to share, who to share, and why do we share these information.

Remember an old quote, “some things are better left unsaid.”

Why? Because not all people can be trusted with the information.


Boyd, D. (2008) ‘Facebook’s Privacy Trainwreak: Exposure, Invasion, and Social Convergence’, Convergence: The International Journal into New Media Technologies 14.4: 13-20.

Jones, H. & Soltren, J. H. (2005) ‘Facebook: Threats to Piracy’. pp. 1-76. retrieved from http://www-swiss.ai.mit.edu/6.805/student-papers/fall05-papers/facebook.pdf

Kirkpatrick, M. (2010) ‘Why Facebook is Wrong: Privacy Is Still Important’, Read Write Web, consulted 11 May 2010, http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/why_facebook_is_wrong_about_privacy.php

# For more information about Piracy issues in Facebook, you may want to consult this link, or this. You might also want to see CNN’s comment on Facebook Privacy issue. You may also want to watch the movie Nothing But The Truth, which clearly depicts why there are some things that do not need to be shared. Although it is not about social networking, it presents the key ideas that I have presented in this blog.

Ps. this is interesting. I just edited my Facebook privacy setting and it says this: “Use the settings below to control which of your information is available to applications, games and websites when your friends use them. The more info you share, the more social the experience.Well?

2 Responses to “Facebook: Privacy Issues”
  1. It’s funny how even on facebook they encourage you to share more like when you edited your pivacy settings, and even on your facebook home page when it asks you ‘what’s on your mind’. Nice post.

  2. mpurnama23 says:

    yeppp! somehow it contradicts each other but…;p yeah. you got the point =D

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