This week, Facebook rolled out Privacy Checkup; users, when logging into the social media powerhouse from a real computer (ie, not a mobile device or tablet (which I guess still happens?)), receive an intrusive notification suggesting that they participate in a “Privacy Checkup,” which can be loosely interpreted as an annual medical physical, just for your social media demons.
It was almost like Zuckerberg’s ears were ringing, given our conversation in class this past Monday.
Through Privacy Checkup, Facebook users are essentially handed a clipboard showing their current privacy settings. Users are then encouraged to pour through several screens to make sure everything they want visible is visible, and more importantly, things they don’t want visible can be “hidden.”
Now, the word “hidden” is quoted purposefully; of course, anything posted on Facebook (and other social media sites) is not private, and the idea of privacy settings is somewhat naive – if anyone wants something badly enough, it can be acquired. Having said that, given that Facebook typically makes privacy changes behind the users’ e-backs, this is certainly a step in the right direction toward giving its users a false sense of security.
It is important to note that through the rollout of Privacy Checkup, Facebook has not added any new privacy settings, or given users any reason to believe that their content is more secure – that is not the purpose of the Checkup. The Checkup is simply a way for Facebook to make sure that all users at least have the opportunity to make changes to who can view their posts, linked apps, and personal information (including phone numbers, email addresses, addresses, etc).
Were you prompted to utilize Checkup? If so, did you realize that some of your content, which you thought was private, actually was not. Personally, I noticed that I had 6 email addresses linked to my Facebook account, which were apparently “Public,” AKA visible to “Anyone On or Off Facebook.” Does the newly implemented Checkup make you feel more secure, or does it actually feel like more of a wake-up-call, highlighting all of the information which Facebook has access to?
– Neil Heckman