Tech Tuesday: Facebook Sharing, More Than Just Your Info

Tech Tuesday – Facebook Warning, as Usual. Actually, more than one Facebook warning today.

Facebook to Share Users Info

No, this is not something that was posted by your friend a year ago, then reposted, and copied, and passed on. This is a true news story updated today. You may see it in your feed soon I’m sure, but note this is new, and not a repost of a repost of a repost.

Facebook is moving forward with it’s plan, albeit controversial, to give 3rd party developers access to all of FB users phone numbers and home addresses.

As you may remember, Facebook announced their new policy in their own devolper blog back in January. Three days later however, they suspended the plan because of user outcry, but promising users they would see it’s return in a few weeks. (They of course called it an “improved feature”. Improved for them maybe!)

Two congressman, Representatives Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) wrote to Facebook, expressing concern over the new functionality. Facebook responded, reaffirming that it will be allowing third parties to request access to users’ addresses and phone numbers.

Facebook did note however that it is considering implementing controls that would, in more detail, highlight the exact personal info that’s being transmitted to third parties and also said it is “actively considering” whether to restrict users under 18 years old from sharing their contact information.

“We expect that, once the feature is re-enabled, Facebook will again permit users to authorize applications to obtain their contact information,” Facebook’s Marne Levine, vice president of global public policy, wrote in the letter to Reps. Markey and Barton. “However, we are currently evaluating methods to further enhance user control in this area.”

Make you feel better? Me neither.

Facebook has been pushing it’s members to share more and more information for a long time, both on Facebook, and off. Privacy issues have always been at the forefront with it’s members, and we have, in the past, seen a retreat whenever FB starts talking about controversial privacy sharing. However this time, they aren’t backing down.

In addition, removing that information now, in hopes of avoiding such sharing, may already be too late.

Think you have taken all the precautions? Removed your phone number? Removed third party applications? Think again. You know for sure they have your e-mail address, since you need to provide that upon signing up. Have you signed any petitions that showed up in your feed? Well, there’s your name, maybe even an address, or at least your Zip code. Looking you up from there isn’t too difficult. Buy anything from any of the games you have played on there? There’s your name, billing address, maybe phone number, credit card…

Think we have the whole behind the scenes story and you are protected? Yeah right. Facebook makes a load of money in Advertisement. All Ads are brought to you by the things you do on there AND off, and what your friends do around the internet. Those “like” buttons on all those external pages just adds another note in the database about you and your political affiliation, religious views, likes and dislikes, purchase habits, family status, tastes, etc. etc. etc. Clicking on a link you see in your feed to an external site… do you think Facebook didn’t just follow you there?

Study: Facebook Linked to One in Five Divorces in the United States

Another “duh” moment. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers recently conducted a Survey that found that out of every 5 divorces in the United States, Facebook is cited in at least one of them. Yes, one in five. Also, according to the report, more than 80 percent of divorce lawyers reported a rising number of people are using social media to engage in extramarital affairs.

“We’re coming across it more and more,” said licensed clinical psychologist Steven Kimmons, Ph.D., of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill. “One spouse connects online with someone they knew from high school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook. Within a short amount of time, the sharing of personal stories can lead to a deepened sense of intimacy, which in turn can point the couple in the direction of physical contact.”

Of course strained marriages were more vulnerable to it (of which there were more with the recession) but according to Kimmons, there didn’t need to be any previous marital problems for an online relationship to blossom into a full-fledged affair. “I don’t think these people typically set out to have affairs,” said Kimmons, who also practices therapy and marriage counseling. “A lot of it is curiosity. They see an old friend or someone they dated and decide to say ‘hello’ and catch up on where that person is and how they’re doing.”

It all comes down, he says, to the amount of time and contact two people have with one another in any type of relationship, including online. The more time people have, the more likely the relationship grows. “If I’m talking to one person five times a week versus another person one time a week, you don’t need a fancy psychological study to conclude that I’m more likely to fall in love with the person I talk to five times a week because I have more contact with that person,” Kimmons said.

Kimmons offers safeguards as well, like sharing passwords with one-another, setting limits to online time (such as not being online at 2am alone) and being your own watchdog about who you are connecting with. For instance, “Look at the population of the people who are your online friends,” Kimmons said. “Is it a good mixture of men and women? Do you spend more time talking to females versus males or do you favor a certain type of friend over another? That can tell you something about how you’re using social networks. You may not even be aware that you’re heading down a road that can get quickly get pretty dangerous, pretty fast to your marriage.”

Kimmons also says it’s good to spell out from the get go to your online friends exactly what you are looking for. “From the start tell your online friend that you’re not looking for anything more than establishing old contacts with people to find out how they’re doing.” Otherwise, your friend may get the wrong idea or notion, as eventually, you might.

Oh well. Most people I talk to just blame it on the evils of the internet. For many, it’s a throw up your hands moment and say ‘whatever.’ Just another downfall of being online. I ask though, is it? Should it be? Should we just sit back and allow companies to share our info, or online life to destroy our marriages? Should we all re-read Orwell’s ‘1984’ just one more time, or am I over-reacting? I do that you know.

Now, go “like” us on Facebook, since you know you aren’t deleting your account anytime soon anyway. Then, let us know what you think below, you know, where we WON’T be sharing your info. We will also try not to break up your marriage, although Yak Addiction is known to run rampant around these parts. Be careful.

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