March 21, 2018

Wondering on Wednesday (v126)

OK, wonder-lusters, let's get to it.

If you're a Facebook user, do you know you can manage your privacy settings?

When Facebook sends you those little messages reminding you to check your privacy settings often, and how to do that, I wonder if you've ever looked to see what's what?

And if you're a Facebook user who has never, ever, ever paid attention to privacy, is there a reason why you haven't?

Do you use apps on Facebook? What about those ubiquitous quizzes? Have you ever looked at the screen right after you click on "Continue with Facebook" where it allows you to check the app's Privacy Policy and to review what you're about to share? Below is an example of the screen you might be just clicking right through.

"What's your St. Patrick's Day Nickname?" is one that was making the rounds last week. Several of my friends and acquaintances on Facebook did that one, and I wonder if any of them took steps to protect their privacy?

If you're wondering the point here, it's all this stuff about Facebook not protecting our personal data, which of course has been all over the news - including the recent stretch when the company suffered a reported $50B loss in market value.

Now, I get that we want 'them' - Mark Zuckerberg and his coders and techies and security people and his advertising contract writers and lawyers and all -  to do something to protect us, and I agree they have some responsibility here - there's no doubt about that. I wish, for example, that everything on Facebook was an 'opt in to share' default rather than an 'opt out to not share' - if that were the case, the social media giant would be protecting us even if we're not interested enough, or savvy enough, or mindful enough to protect ourselves.

But I can't  help wondering why we are so quick to ignore the phone if we don't recognize the number, but we fall so willingly into divulging our pet's names, or the name of our childhood best friend or our first car, or our high school mascot and on and on and on, especially when we should know that many of those same bits of information are used on our favorite websites to protect us? You know, those security questions?  Um hmm.

And, to be honest, I also can't help wondering what's going to happen as the two (so far) class action suits - one on behalf of investors, one on behalf of users - start winding their way through the process.  Facebook as we know it might end up looking very different.

And if it does, you can be sure there will still be ways for users to protect their privacy, and millions of users who don't.

As we learn more about Cambridge Analytica, the data-mining firm that bragged about helping get Donald Trump elected, and that stole (used?) the personal information of 50 million Facebook users, I have one more question:  I wonder who you think we should really worry about more?
  • data-miners who pick and choose who to try and influence on social media, and then target ads and fake stories made to look real to their chosen users, or
  • the lying liar in the White House, his ethically-challenged, security-challenged, less-than-forthcoming staff, and everyone else who is associated with him, including those Republicans who have thrown their ethics, self-respect, and even their long-standing policy positions out the window in order to stay in his good favor?

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