So the globe had an article yesterday about a group of University of Ottawa law students who lodged a complaint that Facebook breaches Canadian privacy law.
Regarding concerns that Facebook might be sharing the information with advertisers without users consent… fair enough.
But in regards to people not understanding their information is going to be shared publicly? I’m less sure. This quote really struck me:
“There’s definitely some significant shortcomings with Facebook’s privacy settings and with their ability to protect users,” said Harley Finkelstein, 24, one of the four students behind the complaint.
“If a 14-year-old kid in Toronto decides to join Facebook, and is prompted to add a network, and he decides to join the Toronto network – because that’s where he lives – does he really know that everyone on that network – by default – will have access to his personal information?”
I think the answer is yes. Indeed, that’s probably why the kid’s joining.
So this strikes me as akin to labels on paper coffee cups that say “Warning. Hot!” The fact that coffee is hot is as self-evident as the fact that social networking sites are about enabling people to, well, connect socially with others over the internet.
So we can soon expect to see this post’s title as a warning label on any social networking site. I’m sure they’ll be read as closely as the coffee cup labels are.