Will You Leave Facebook If Privacy Issues Don’t Change?

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I went searching for a buddy on my Facebook profile. It wasn’t there. I searched and searched, but couldn’t find him. I caught him on Twitter and asked where he went. He told me that he deleted his Facebook profile due to all the privacy issues. I was not surprised – With all the issues that Facebook has seen in the last couple months, I could see why he did.

He was not alone. I have heard of a few social mediates also reducing their usage, if not nixing their Facebook profile. I definitely think about what I post on my wall and send in my message area. I delete those that post a game or other application on my wall and I don’t post anything that can be considered “Private” – Basically, try to keep the profile as clean as possible.

Recent privacy issues with Facebook make one realize that your online data could be open to users within a heartbeat. We hear about someone finding a vulnerability, usually after the problem was fixed. Too many in a small amount of time, and we have a crisis where the FTC might have to step in.

No different than in years past…

Whether it’s Facebook, MySpace, email, websites or whatever, people try to get in and people test the limits. I just put up a Wiki site. I put on certain privacies, but within a week, someone found a new way to get through. They posted jibberish sites – nothing that would be malware, which I could easily correct. I fixed the hole and moved on.

Facebook is the site that is under fire because everyone has a profile. At least over 400 million users. In comparison, the US population is at 307 million, over 6 Billion around the world. Heck, my mom is on Facebook.

These are people that might not be tech Savvy. They don’t understand how the site works and they don’t care. They just want to connect with friends and family. They may have heard the rambling about privacy and some may have taken heed, but most haven’t and are not upset with them right now – until their profile is infiltrated.

MySpace, AOL, GeoCities

Remember when we were all on MySpace? Remember when you switched to Facebook? Did you delete your MySpace profile, or do you still check it randomly?

Back in 2007, when MySpace was king, we had different types of privacy issues. The big issue was online predators. Sex offenders on the social network site set one raid to remove over 350 profiles from MySpace.

AOL had many privacy issues in the early years. 1998, we heard of how people found back doors to the “Walled Garden”. GeoCities was under fire for selling personal information. They settled with the FTC just days before they set their first IPO. Business before privacy?

Twitter, Friendfeed, MSN, Compuserve, BBS – These all have had privacy issues at one time. As a site grows, the bad guys realize it can become a great portal to try and take down or get someone’s money. They strike, the site counter-strikes – The battle continues. Rinse and repeat.

Step in the FTC

Privacy issues have escallated to the point where Facebook hired former Bush regulator Tim Muris to defend the social network and it’s privacy problems to the FTC. Of course, if you have a product that is 400 million strong, you definitely will have scrutiny. Regulation is there to protect. Whether the government should step in for regulation might be a whole other topic. Add in the fact that some of those Facebook profiles are non- US citizens; The rules get different.

So is it different, or just the same old?

Privacy is a big issue on the Internet. Whether it’s getting your email hacked or finding a back door on a social network. We don’t want our personal information in the wrong hands. But we also want to connect to the people we care about. In all reality, Facebook is working on their issues. If you leave Facebook for privacy, you might want to just leave the Internet altogether.

So when is too much? Are you thinking of or have you deleted your Facebook profile?