February 4, 2010

REMEMBER! Privacy Must Be Set

Culture, teh inetrwebz, web 3 Comments

Facebook — mystical place where connections are forged, friends are kept, lovers are explored, relationships are destroyed, positions are obtained, and jobs are brutally lost. Now more than ever. Let me tell you a story.

My phone rang. It was 3AM and I was home riding a deadline, but it was my friend Lindsay, so I picked up.

“OMGSHE’SONMYPROFILE,” she screamed. I could barely hear her between the slurring and the noise in the background.

“OK, calm down. Who, what, why, where, when and how.”

As she talked, I put the pieces together. The man she’s seeing has a crazy ex-girlfriend who’s devoted herself to stalking Lindsay. Lindsay had taken the appropriate measures, but hadn’t bothered to check Facebook — why should she? Facebook is supposed to be safe, right?

Wrong. Late last year, Facebook executed a privacy pullback that essentially screwed all of us. Under the guise of making privacy settings on the social network easier to set and control, Facebook — from one day to the next — made everything on our profiles public. Even those of us very involved with changes in social networks took a while to figure out how to restore order and privacy.

Hell, even Mark Zuckerberg had his embarrassing candids exposed after Facebook put on all these fabulous new privacy controls.

He’s the CEO of Facebook, people.

Why did they do this? Ryan Tate summarized it perfectly in Valleywag in December:

Facebook’s business rationale here is clear. Rival Silicon Valley startup Twitter has grown extremely quickly in the last few years, almost entirely on the back of public content — from celebrities, people’s friends and users’ professional colleagues. That has brought traffic, money from search engines and a $1 billion valuation.

Facebook wants in on that kind of growth, and more public content means more traffic. But Facebook has historically been one of the most private of the social networks, functioning as a sort of safe alcove amid the chaos of MySpace and Friendster.

So Facebook needed to give users a big shove to put its business plan into play. As startup founder Jason Calacanis puts it,

Facebook is trying to dupe hundreds of millions of users they’ve spent years attracting into exposing their data for Facebook’s personal gain: pageviews. Yes, Facebook is tricking us into exposing all our items so that those personal items get indexed in search engines–including Facebook’s–in order to drive more traffic to Facebook.

But it’s not just that Facebook is tricking its users; it’s betraying them.

Simple as that. So there I was, with a hysterical, drunken woman on the phone late one night.

“I don’t know how to change my settings on my phone!” she screamed. “I want her off, AV! GET HER OFF ME!”

“Give me your password.”

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I logged in and changed everything to the most restrictive setting. Better to shut everyone out than leave a door open. I even changed her profile picture (you can never make that friends-only, even if your profile picture album is).

The reason I’m telling you this is as a courtesy. There is a way to see how people can view your profile. Take a second to check it out and make sure it looks the way you’d like it to look whether it’s your boss, parents, kids, spouse, or that hottie you were talking at the bar last night.

If you have difficulty navigating the new settings, I suggest Valleywag’s Guide to Restoring Your Privacy on Facebook. They have great tips, complete with screen shots.

I know it’s a pain in the ass, my sweet flytraps of decadence and delight, but take the time to read the notices from social networks where you really share yourself. We’ve all heard the horror stories about firings and divorces as a result of inattention to our social network profiles.

Facebook and other social networks may have populations that compare to some of the biggest countries in the world, but they are not democracies. You have no rights. Nothing is safe and nothing is sacred. If it’s really incriminating, take it offline. Otherwise, be vigilant. Make sure you keep up on terms of service changes and upgrades. And every once in a while, take a look at your profiles when you’re not logged in to get a sense of what others are seeing.

It takes a few minutes but it will save you on a hell of a lot of nosebleeds. Trust me on that.

(Of course, if you’re in the mood for a nosebleed, go ahead and read this: The Facebook Privacy Settings You’ve Lost Forever.)

AV Flox

Your humble editrix-in-command.

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook

  • http://datingla.vox.com DatingLA

    Or maybe we should practice self-censoring instead of relying on others to supply us tools to censor? You know, don’t put it out there in the first place?

  • Anaiis

    To understand this argument, it’s easier to take it off the digital and into meatspace. Essentially, what you’re saying is: if you don’t want the information out, don’t tell a friend or group of friends. Sound advice. But isn’t it nice to share experiences with these friends? Yes, we would be safer if we kept everything to ourselves, but isn’t it nice to have those conversations with the people you know, who also know you? Sites like these enable people to enjoy this closeness. As a culture of digital nomads with friends scattered all over the world, having a place where we can all convene is not just nice, but important. Unfortunately, we can’t entirely rely on these networks to keep things among the group. A little vigilance will can a long way in enabling us to enjoy both things.

  • Pingback: Signing Out — FOREVER! | Sex and the 405

Facebook

Add our page on Google+!

Keep up with everything we're covering right in your stream. Please note this page is limited to users 18+.

Featured

Gamers Won’t Be Seduced, Will Stare At Random Cleav Instead

That Steam allows the objectification and sexualization of female characters in a variety of its games but refuses to accept a game about actually engaging with women in a more interactive fashion is astonishingly backward.

FetLife Is Not Safe for Users

That the site doesn’t take measures to protect user content and has shown incompetence or negligence in regard to user privacy, all the while prohibiting victims from warning others about predatory behavior creates an environment where it is nearly impossible for members of the community to take care of themselves and one another. By enabling FetLife to continue espousing a code of silence, allowing the spinning self-created security issues as “attacks,” and not pointing out how disingenuous FetLife statements about safety are, we are allowing our community to become a breeding ground for exploitation.

Why You Should Vote No On Prop 35

Should people who benefit (parents, siblings, children, roommates!) from the earnings of “commercial sex acts” (any sexual conduct connected to the giving or receiving of something of value) be charged with human trafficking? Should someone who creates obscene material that is deemed “deviant” be charged as with human trafficking? Should someone who profits from obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should people transporting obscene materials be charged with human trafficking? Should a person who engages in sex with someone claiming to be above the age of consent or furnishing a fake ID to this effect be charged with human trafficking? What if I told you the sentences for that kind of conviction were eight, 14 or 20 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $500,000, and life as a registered sex offender?

Pretty and Calls Herself a Geek? Attention Whore!

If you are a woman, you might be given a chance to prove yourself in this community. Since there is no standard definition of what a “geek” is and it will vary from one judge to the next anyway, chances of failing are high (cake and grief counseling will be available after the conclusion of the test!). If you somehow manage to succeed, you’ll be tested again and again by anyone who encounters you until you manage to establish yourself like, say, Felicia Day. But even then, you’ll be questioned. As a woman, your whole existence within the geek community will be nothing but a series of tests — if you’re lucky. If you aren’t lucky, you’ll be harassed and threatened and those within the culture will tacitly agree that you deserve it.

Cuddle Chemical? Moral Molecule? Not So Fast

Zak’s original field, it turns out, is economics, a far cry from the hearts and teddy bears we imagine when we consider his nickname. But after performing experiments on generosity, Zak stumbled on the importance of trust in interactions, which led him, rather inevitably, to research about oxytocin. Oxytocin, you might remember, is a hormone that has been linked previously to bonding — between mothers and children primarily, but also between partners. What Zak has done is take the research a step further, arguing in his recent book, The Moral Molecule, that oxytocin plays a role in determining whether we are good or evil.

How to Avoid Pissing off a Stripper

Let’s talk about the strippers. Whether they like to be half-naked or not, whether they enjoy turning you on or not, there’s one thing they all have in common: they’re working. Whether you think that taking one’s clothes off for money is a great choice of career is really beside the point (is it a possibility for you to make $500 per hour at your job without a law degree? Just asking). These women are providing fantasy, yes, but that is their job. And as a patron of the establishment where they work, you need to treat them like you would anyone else who provides a service to you.

Masthead

Send us news!

Editrix-in-Command:
AV Flox

In-House Theologian:
Robert Fischer

Eros and Desire Scholar:
Dawn Kaczmar

Scientific Consultant:
Jason Goldman

East Coast Liaison:
Jackie Summers

Arch-Nemesis:
Barbie Davenporte

Read about the contributors we've had over time on our staff page.

Follow SAT405 on:
Twitter
Facebook

RSS

Hosted by (mt)

About

Sex and the 405 is what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.

Here you’ll find news about the latest research being conducted to figure out what drives desire, passion, and other sex habits; reviews of sex toys, porn and other sexy things; coverage of the latest sex-related news that have our mainstream media's panties up in a bunch; human interest pieces about sex and desire; interviews with people who love sex, or hate sex, or work in sex, or work to enable you to have better sex; opinion pieces that relate to sex and society; and the sex-related side of celebrity gossip. More...