Privacy is about Trust.

06May10

Now up until this point, I’ve never really worried so much about my privacy online. I’m not handing out my credit card or social security numbers, but in general it hasn’t been a great concern for me and I’ve finally realized why… because you don’t worry about your privacy being violated when you are giving information to entities you trust. Whether that be people, businesses or social networks, as long as you trust them, you don’t really worry about handing over sensitive information.

For example, I have no problem handing over my credit card, my work address, home address and birthday to Amazon. Why? Because I trust them to be responsible with my information. Sure there are laws in place that govern the use of most of this information, but it is also because I trust them as a reputable dealer.

Now some online merchants still skeeve me out, so I tend to not buy anything from them.

The same thing happens when we talk about people. Those I trust are the ones that I share the intimate details of my life with, those that could easily rob me when I check-in on Foursquare because they know where I live. (that’s supposed to be a joke. I didn’t say it was a good joke…)

Those who don’t strike me as trustworthy, I don’t share information with.

It’s no different with a social network.

I trust that the information I divulge on Myspace, Facebook or Twitter (take your pick) will be protected and that this service would not violate my trust in any way.

Unfortunately, lately that hasn’t been the case. It seems that some social networks (looking at you book face) are looking to capitalize on that trust they have built. MZ may not believe in privacy, but if he doesn’t, then he also doesn’t believe in trust. Which I must say is clearly evident in the actions Facebook has been taking lately.

I’m starting to lose faith in Facebook. Though I use it for work, I find that I’ve become much more reclusive, maybe this is because of the way I use it. Facebook to me is about connecting with people I, 9 times out of 10, know irl, which means they are people I trust fully to share personal sensitive information with. Yet, I find that Facebook is starting to try and capitalize on this (though they may have been doing it for awhile, they’re way more public about it), which is violating my sense of trust.

Twitter is still my social media darling, and that’s because I have a clear picture of what I use it for. I also respect and love the fact that I may not know everyone I connect with irl, which in turn tailors what I say. Sometimes I don’t care what I talk about, but that’s me being an honest human being and laying it all out there. I don’t have a false sense of trust, which is why I don’t mind that my tweets are being archived for all eternity.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that Facebook is scaring me a little bit and therefore I’m losing trust in them. Maybe it’s time I finally buckled down and read Trust Agents.

Anyone else feeling this way?

Photo credit.

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4 Responses to “Privacy is about Trust.”

  1. 1 Maggie

    I’m feeling that exact same way–to the point that I honestly am questioning whether a social media career is a good idea if it means that Facebook is a big part of what I do and a tool I routinely have to recommend–or at a bare minimum–explain to many other people. Now that Facebook is apparently taking over some “official” pages and reclassifying them as Community Pages, combined with the way they’ve made themselves accountable to nobody…I honestly am sickened by the whole thing and don’t want to have anything to do with them.

    An app I just discovered and highly recommend is Green Safe (http://apps.facebook.com/thegreensafe/). Your personal info “lives” on that tab and Facebook can’t touch it. If every Facebook user cleared their info and used this instead, Facebook would be SOL. Pass it on.

    And I need to read Trust Agents, too…it’s been sitting in my living room for months now.

  2. Yeah, tons and tons of people feel exactly like this. Burned. I’ve got Trust Agents next to my bed. (If I had it on my kindle iphone app, I would have read it by now. LOL.)

  3. I came across this visualization of how privacy has changed on Facebook over the last few years, and it really makes a statement: http://mattmckeon.com/facebook-privacy/

    I don’t know if I’m ready to leave Facebook–if nothing else, it’s a nice way to keep track of my brother–but I’m starting to assume that what I post there will eventually be just as public as what I post on Twitter …


  1. 1 What I’m Reading | Spark Consulting

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