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Friday, August 20, 2010

How to keep your privacy private on Facebook

Facebook is now launching a new feature, called Facebook Places. I just learned about it today, and I am - to put it mildly - not happy about it.

The whole idea is that you can now "check in" wherever you are, so your friends can keep up with you. This way you can see who is in the same place as you and what they are doing. You can of course also use it to brag about your whereabouts at that ultra cool concert or in-place you want everybody to know you are frequenting.

At first glance not too bad an idea. If you do NOT want to share where you are, just don't check in. Right?


See, the thing is that YOUR FRIENDS also have the ability to check you in. If they see you somewhere - anywhere - and decide to check you in, it will be shared on your facebook wall and in your friends updates for all your friends to see. You are with Facebook Places no longer in control of the information shared about your whereabouts.

Do you really want your boss to know if you decided to go out on your sick day? Do you really want your wife to know when you go purchase a gift for her? Do you really want to opt out of the option of telling that little white lie about where you are right now?

We all know that it is generally a bad idea to announce on Facebook that you will be away from your home for a longer time. This could easily be interpreted as an open invitation for burglars. "Oh, Kingkeld will not be home for the next three days. That should give us plenty of time to go get all his über-neat stuff!".

I can only imagine this becoming a much bigger problem with Facebook Places. Now there is no point in keeping it secret if you are leaving town. Your friends can easily snitch on you anyways, just because they have a gadget in their hands and like playing with it. They will probably not even think of it as being harmful or hurtful.

Of course, it is always considered courteous to not wish people a great vacation or nice trip on Facebook, unless the person has already announced it. This should go without saying.

As if it is not bad enough that Facebook in a sense now is stalking you, they also keep the information. All the check-ins that are done in your name goes in a database to be used for advertising etc. This is also where all the other information about you goes. Who are your friends? Are you going the same places? What places are they? I really don't feel that Facebook needs to make money and specific advertising for me that way.

Usually I am not really needing to lie about my whereabouts. I have no problem letting anyone know what I am doing, or where. I just don't like the thought of "Big Brother" watching me, disguised as my best friends. What a horrible, horrible idea.

How would you like to see status updates such as "(your name) has been checked in at the STD clinic" or "(your name) is taking a massive dump at the local gas station. Guess he couldn't hold it"?

I would rather be without them.

If you are like me, you turn off the Facebook Places features ASAP.

Because, as a light at the end of the tunnel, there is a way turn the Facebook Places feature off. It is very simple, and in my opinion very necessary. We don't really need the whole world looking over our shoulder whenever or whatever we are doing, do we? Instructions to be found below.

Now, the other side of the coin... all the postings that will most likely come. Are we really interested in knowing where everyone is at all times?

Personally, I am sick and tired of being informed how many Sheep brother Bob needs for his farm and how many gold coins cousin Erika just made playing hide-and-go-seek. Facebook Places will be one more feature to annoy and clutter what Facebook is doing best - keeping in touch with your friends and contacts.

I highly recommend "Fluff Busting Purity" (they are no longer allowed to be called "Facebook Purity" as that was apparantly (and likely so) infringing trademarks. However, the site is still the same, and what they do is still awesome.

Fluff Busting Purity simply removes all the clutter from Facebook through a customisable interface that gives you the option to sort all the junk out of your Facebook page. This makes it so much easier and fun to use Facebook. A quick download using very easy instructions as you are good to go. Link Below.

I hope you find some of this information useful. Personally, I can't stand the thought of Facebook Places, and Fluff Busting Purity has made Facebook an enjoyment for me.

Rant over. Have a great day. :)

How to turn off Facebook Places, so only you can check in.
How to install Fluff Busting Purity.

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