Blog 1 Pt. III

Carefully read the Terms of Service and privacy policy for a social network on which you have an account. What does it say about how they will use your information? What will they do if there is a breach in security on their site? Write a blog post summarising your findings. State your opinion on whether you are happy with the Terms of Service and are comfortable with trusting the social networking site with regard to privacy and security. Look at how other students have answered this question and comment on their blogs.

 
The Privacy section shows that Facebook not only has the information which must be entered by the user in order to register for a Facebook account  but also stores seemingly irrelevant information. This excerpt was taken directly from the Facebook website and outlines some of the information that is frequently collected.

(https://www.facebook.com/about/privacy/your-info)

  • We receive data about you whenever you interact with Facebook, such as when you look at another person’s timeline, send or receive a message, search for a friend or a Page, click on, view or otherwise interact with things, use a Facebook mobile app, or purchase Facebook Credits or make other purchases through Facebook.
  • When you post things like photos or videos on Facebook, we may receive additional related data (or metadata), such as the time, date, and place you took the photo or video.
  • We receive data from the computer, mobile phone or other device you use to access Facebook, including when multiple users log in from the same device. This may include your IP address and other information about things like your internet service, location, the type (including identifiers) of browser you use, or the pages you visit. For example, we may get your GPS or other location information so we can tell you if any of your friends are nearby.
  • We receive data whenever you visit a game, application, or website that uses Facebook Platform or visit a site with a Facebook feature (such as a social plugin), sometimes through cookies. This may include the date and time you visit the site; the web address, or URL, you’re on; technical information about the IP address, browser and the operating system you use; and, if you are logged in to Facebook, your User ID.
  • Sometimes we get data from our affiliates or our advertising partners, customers and other third parties that helps us (or them) deliver ads, understand online activity, and generally make Facebook better. For example, an advertiser may tell us information about you (like how you responded to an ad on Facebook or on another site) in order to measure the effectiveness of – and improve the quality of – ads.

They also use that data that has been obtained to suggest particular things to you including advertising as stated on their privacy page. It even specifically states that Facebook may use the information to deliver relevant ads to you. This however, is to be expected as advertising is one of Facebook’s primary means of income in a predominantly free website although some users may still consider that their privacy is being invaded.

It also shows that Facebook has backup copies of data even when deleted (they reference this to be similar to the Recycle Bin in Windows or the Trash in OS X) though it is stated that this is not able to be viewed or used by others.

Depending on the type of security breach, the response of Facebook may differ. For example in this case (http://techcrunch.com/2013/06/22/facebook-breach-letter/)  Facebook responded by emailing the users who’s security had been breached and explained the current situation and apologised.  Facebook also has several pages including a Facebook Security page to keep its users current on any potential threats or system bugs at any given time. Certain breaches may also be solved by the Facebook team under the hood without the user clearly/knowing what is happening.

In terms of whether or not I am comfortable with the terms of service and the way that my data is used, that is difficult to answer. I can understand why many people dislike Facebook in the sense that they consider the information and data collected to be unnecessary/unsafe and that is a concern that I too have, however, personally most of the information that is collected from me I don’t mind sharing and is not being published or used for purposes that I oppose. With that being said, I consider some of the information gathered or being used to be irrelevant. However, the company provides a majority of their services free of charge and uses this information as a means of profiting.

This is the price you pay for using the services of Facebook as they use this information to their advantage, for the purpose of advertising amongst other things. It does make me uneasy in the grand scheme of things that one company has such a vast amount of information on over 1 billion users though, if the data collected was being misused the results could be catastrophic; so I can certainly see both sides of this situation.

In short, I think people need to be aware of what information is being collected, how it is being used and then judge for themselves as to whether or not they have a problem with it, but at the current time I personally don’t strongly object to the Terms and Services and trust the network with the information that I have provided, though my opinion may change at a later date.

 

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