I found this piece by Danah Boyd via Boing Boing that pretty well sums up the feelings of most about the Facebook privacy changes. Do I agree with her? Yes and no; however, I will refrain from commenting too much more on the issue at the moment. Instead, I will just list some things that keep crossing my mind as I continue to read more about this whole thing:
–the politics of choice and privacy
–making usability transparent
–user knowledge and personal responsibility
–users, demographics, and privilege
–the change in point of view on technology as we move farther away from print
–print/”traditional” publishing vs. web publishing
–the cost (monetary as well as emotional) of control/being able to control privacy
–the politics of new identities
–a new world for “the personal is political”
That one last is especially interesting to me. I used to write and read quite a lot about that idea, but that was in the print world and it tended to mean something quite different. A commenter pointed out another blog entry on this subject, and I think it’s an interesting viewpoint, if not quite that well explained there. Dragging this whole thing into the arena of feminism might be a bit of a stretch for me, but I can understand that thought process on a few levels. At this point, though, I probably agree most with the following comment:
May 14th, 2010 at 6:32 pm
In 1996-2000 I ran some races for my high school. I have a totally unique name, so if you Google my name, you can find this out. I never consented to it, and I was a minor, yet that information (amongst other things) is out there for anyone to see whether I want them to or not. None of this ever bothered me, but I digress: the notion that Facebook is suddenly the thing that’s violating our privacy is silly. The fact is that any time you do anything even remotely social on the computer or not, people could find out about it. I don’t know why anyone thought that Facebook would be an exception to that. I want them to be more open about what they’re doing, but ultimately it’s a free website whose premise is to connect with people, and that includes corporate entities of which my company is one. It was naive to ever think that things you put on there were not going to be seen by anyone.
Once again, YES, Facebook needs to be more open about some of the information they’re sharing, but there’s a difference between saying that and being outraged that people in your everyday life have seen things you wish they hadn’t. The latter is most likely your fault, honestly. The little girl who finds out about her mom’s ability to see her site learned a lesson she would probably need to learn sooner or later.”
Am I being shortsighted in agreeing here? That’s what I’m trying to figure out since it seems as though I should be more pissed off than I am about the changes at Facebook. But I’m trying to see the bigger picture here. I’m going to continue reading Jaron Lanier’s You Are Not a Gadget to see if it will help me refine my point of view on this whole thing. More to follow on this subject when I finish the book.