@Tech Talk Facebook

Can You Live Without Facebook?

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook

The question you should really ask yourself is if you lost your facebook profile would the general public still be able to find you on the internet?

If the answer to that question is “No” you might want to take some charge over your digital identity. All facebook really should do is allow you to be found on the internet. Nothing more.

Amazingly , only within the last week have I been checking my facebook settings. Word was coming out of the facebook F8 conference this week that facebook has some very ambitious plans to take over the web and upon hearing those plans Google engineers were all deleting their facebook profiles over privacy issues.

When the cooks come running out of the kitchen with food poisoning maybe you should think twice about eating there.

Facebook has had some well documented security breaches in the past. Just check their wikipedia page.

I’m usually pretty diligent when it comes to internet security so I decided to go through my facebook settings yesterday. I ended up deleting 81 applictions that had access to my profile information. 81! I am not a heavy user of facebook mind you! Yes, they even had a credit card linked to the account. Deleted that.

I then locked down most of my information so that only my friends could see it. Going through each individual setting and adjusting the preferences took me at least an hour! There are so many privacy settings that my only option might be to take down the account completely but I’m also exploring ways to just leave a small bio up or maybe a fan page. Something that says I was once here but not anymore.

Anyway, facebook is starting to look like that former online giant AOL. Look where they are now. Companies with such ambitious plans for collecting people’s personal data for monetary gain should not be supported. Will facebook succeed where AOL couldn’t?

This week I found reports that compromised facebook accounts were being sold in Russia. I have a very small friends lists and don’t add just anyone but 3 of my friends have compromised accounts that attempt to compromise my account. All these accounts working together to compromise other accounts just makes it inevitable that my account will eventually be compromised.

So here is my advice … Take charge of your digital identity. There are many ways to do this. Accounts at linkedin are good for professional networking, twitter is my preferred way to contact people, my gmail is integrated with Google Buzz and instead of using facebook as the center of my digital identity I use my blog. I can then link my flickr account for my pictures and Youtube account for my videos directly to the blog. There is a nice balance here between using google products and other products.

For those of you in the know I use wordpress for the blog platform which is open source and completely free.

Facebook, meanwhile, will continue to grow and with so many new people getting access to the internet everyday, especially the very young and the very old, most newbies will gravitate to facebook for it’s ease of use and it’s most likely the site you will find whoever you are looking for.

Bloggers have a responsibility to warn the public about the risks of using facebook. Consider yourself warned. :)

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