Safe Keeping: 5 Things You Should Know About Facebook Privacy

Safe Keeping: 5 Things You Should Know About Facebook Privacy

This weekend we celebrate the memory of our fallen, and the pursuit of freedom. That being said, this could be the perfect time to address what some are calling the passing of our online right to privacy. Haha. Lame-os. There is no such thing as online privacy! Maybe we're overstating it a little, but lately, the media has been overrun with stories about the uproar caused by Facebook changing its privacy policy and controls. To find out what all this privacy talk really means to us, the casual users of FB, we went through their privacy policy and controls and found, what we think, are the major points you should know next time you sign in. In real life, it's actually not that big of a deal, but don't say we didn't warn you. Hit the jump to see what Facebook's privacy policies really mean to you.

Facebook Claims Rights To Your Intellectual Property.

What This Means: You give Facebook license to use any "IP Content"—videos, photos, etc.—that you post onto Facebook.

What This Means To You: Unless you lock down your account so that only your friends can view your photos, they're considered public domain, and Facebook can use them for, pretty much, whatever they want. Also, even if you deactivate your FB account, there's a more than good chance your photos are still stored somewhere on their servers. So be easy with those Mardi Gras photos, my dude.

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Facebook Makes Most of Your Info Public By Default.

What This Means: When you register for Facebook, most of the information you place in your profile will be available to the public.

What This Means To You: If you don't want people to know that you're a right-leaning Pentecost, you will have to dip into the privacy settings and make your info private. Luckily, Facebook makes it pretty easy to do with one-button privacy controls. You can easily choose if you want to share our information with "Everyone," "Friends of Friends," or "Friends Only."

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Facebook Can Collect Information From Any Device That You Use to Login.

What This Means: Although collecting information for marketing/advertising purposes is nothing new (Nielsen, anyone?), Facebook clearly states that "when you access Facebook from a computer, mobile phone, or other device, we may collect information from that device about your browser type, location, and IP address, and the pages you visit."

What This Means To You: If you're harmless, we'd say don't worry about it. But if you're a porn addict or budding terrorist, remember that these threads can be tracked. Simply put, don't do illegal or wild dumb shit on Facebook—i.e., using it to advertise that you got dimes of that fire to all your dorm mates. Actually, you probably shouldn't even use a computer, unless you're doing it all from a coffee house wi-fi. But that's another post for another day.

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Facebook Has No Control Over Third Parties.

What This Means: All of those fun, time-draining games like Mafia Wars, Café World and Farmville that are a part of Facebook Platform were not developed by Facebook. They are all run by other businesses who may have their own ulterior motives.

What This Means To You: If you're worried that Farmville is just a sinister ploy to collect user information (they call it "data mining"), than you might actually be on to something. Although the collection of information via these third party applications has yet to be proven a menace, we recommend checking out their own privacy policies if you're at all worried. If you don't want to participate in Facebook Platform at all, you can opt out and block all games and third-party programs from your profile.

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Facebook Shares Your Info Through "Instant Personalization."

What This Means: Facebook's newest feature is what has been pissing people off the most. "Instant Personalization" (IP) does just what its name implies. If you go to the website of one of Facebook's IP partners, like, say, Pandora, it will go through all your Facebook history and try to personalize the site and site options especially for you based off content you shared on Facebook.

What This Means To You: Not too much. Look, if you decide to put yourself out there on the Internet, deal with it. A website learning that you love the Dixie Chicks isn't so bad. Yes, we get a little weary about Facebook giving our info to third parties without our permission, but the customization could be a cool feature down the road. Besides, if you don't like it, Facebook gives you the choice to shut the fuck up and not be on the site in the first place opt out.
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Tags: facebook, facebook-privacy, privacy-policy, technology
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