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“Privacy on Social Networks – I Don’t Think So”

Facebook had a barrage of criticism when it tried to introduce Beacon in 2007. Beacon allowed targeted advertisements and allowed users to share their activities with their friends. Certain activities on partner sites were published to a user’s News Feed.  The controversial service, which became the target of a class action lawsuit, was shut down in September 2009.

Facebook, in its second attempt  has introduced the Open Graph protocol just last month- described by CEO Mark Zuckerberg as “the most transformative thing we’ve ever done for the Web.” It’s called the Open Graph.

As a result Facebook’s privacy policy has morphed into a document that is longer than the U.S constitution.

Facebook plans to connect disparate corners of the Web that other social sites are building. “Yelp is mapping out the part of the graph that relates to small businesses. Pandora is mapping out the part of the graph that relates to music,” Zuckerberg said.facebook-privacy

Will the Open Graph succeed in Facebook’s quest to become the defacto start and endpoint to the world wide web, maybe – I’ll let you decide that one.

But my concern is the slipping through the cracks, so to speak, of massive amounts of private user data from numerous social networks and Facebook is not the only possible culprit to the leaking of user data.

Recent news reports have revealed that social networks including MySpace have been caught leaking user data to ad networks like Yahoo’s Right Media and DoubleClick of Google.

While the privacy campaigners will always be out in force no matter what the social networks do – I think we need to find a balance between sharing user data and getting greedy – it is inevitable that social networks in one form or another will continue to infiltrate our daily lives and become integrated into numerous digital platforms, but we need to ensure that we as users still maintain some level of control, not the other way around – what do you think?

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