Sunday, 5 July 2009

Privacy and Facebook

(By Richard Holway 4.00pm 5th July 09) Privacy and Facebook have been in the news this week for a number of reasons. Readers may remember my many articles about only wanting one social network (and associated profile) to update, but with various privacy settings so that what might be applicable for my daughter and other family members to read would not be appropriate for my business friends. (Indeed, the converse is true too!)

This week Chris Kelly, chief privacy officer at Facebook, said they would now offer a tiered level of privacy options for its users including "all of your friends, your friends and people in your school or work networks, and friends of friends."

In addition there is also an option to share publicly with everyone on the Web. This is Facebook starting to compete with Twitter.

Both these moves are welcome.

Today, Facebook and privacy hit the front page of the Mail on Sunday. The wife of Sir John Sawers, the incoming head of MI6, posted family photos on her Facebook site. Once this was exposed, the entries were deleted. I was amused by the remark from Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, this lunch time that “the fact that Sir John wears Speedo swimming trucks on holiday is not a national secret”. I’m sure it wouldn’t take me too long to find similar photos of every UK IT CEO (should I be so inclined) posted by a son or daughter (or wife!). I think the decision should always be to never put anything on Facebook which could ever cause you embarrassment or provide information which was not readily available from other public sources.

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