Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s Privacy Settings Come Under the Scanner Yet Again

In spite of having 1 billion monthly users, Facebook Inc(NASDAQ:FB) is still looking for ways to retain the faith of investor’s regarding their worth. However, that is not the only problem for the social networking site – issues regarding the tampering of private information of Facebook users’ are popping up at an alarming frequency.

Apparently, the social network is still displaying private data, which raises questions about the privacy settings. Recent rumors stated that Facebook was monitoring private messages between users to equate conversation with page "likes" and the French media revealed last September that private messages could be seen on user timelines.Users have responded angrily to such news, retorting that Facebook is abusing its privilege and comprising the privacy of its users.

Facebook's Pan-Euro communications manager Iain Mackenzie has told the Guardian that there have been relevant allegations before but the recent ones have gained more ground. Mackenzie clarifies that they reviewed the site’s privacy mechanisms and the technology to make private messages public does not exist as of yet. The confusion has resulted as users are uncertain as to how private messages will be displayed on public-facing timelines.

Mackenzie does admit that private Facebook messages are monitored to calculate a number score on shares, likes and interactions around a news story, public figure or topic. He states that this system has been in existence right from the time of Facebook’s inception. However, the execution of this system requires public manipulation and some Polish programmers proved that there was a glitch.

Facebook should be a little clearer about site policies and rules with users, but till date, users have also overlooked and accepted numerous modifications and updates of Facebook without raising any questions. Despite their skepticism and criticism, they have not deleted their accounts.

However, some users have not fretted too much about the privacy settings because they don’t have secrets as such, so according to them, it does not matter whether private messages can be publicly viewed. In fact, users are quite taken with the new “gifts” feature that allows users to send “real” gifts to friends instead of virtual ones.

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