Can I be your friend?
On Facebook we constantly ask people who are completely strangers to us, show other people our photo album or “like” something. If you look closely, these are all things that we would probably never do in normal life because they seem far too absurd to us. This funny video has taken Facebook madness by taking Facebook literally:
“Ever thought how odd your online life is? Ever thought what could go wrong? This film looks forward to ENO's production of Nico Muhly's new opera 'Two Boys'. A new opera that lifts the lid on the dangers of living our lives online. ”
Why do users share information
But this funny thing has a serious background: it highlights the relevance of control over the sharing of personal information.
The scientist Danah Boyd names in her opening speech at SXSW 2010 another decisive factor for the drive to publish “PII - Personally Identifiable Information”:
Share data to be found?
Namely, the hope that it will be found by friends on the Internet. However, Boyd adds that this is not so-called “PEI-Personal Embarrissing Information” (“personally shameful information”), which the user usually makes public voluntarily.
Because in this case, this would be information that could cause a significant reputational damage - provided, however, that data would be perceived by the public at all. Boyd emphasizes that just because something is available, it does not mean that it is also retrieved.
"I have nothing to lose"
It also highlights the fact that, on the assumption that there is not much to lose, users make private data available to the public. If this is unfavorable party images, this is annoying, but in case of doubt no further consequences.
Often, however, the fact remains that the information that was once published on the Internet mostly remains permanently discoverable. Another situation arises when, as Boyd describes, a child who had left the federal state anonymously with his mother in order to escape the child's violent father opened an account at Facebook.
Facebook suddenly changes the privacy
Without prior notice, Facebook changed the default setting from “private” to “public” in December 2009, exposing the mother and child to unwanted detection by the father. Boyd emphasizes that the greatest uncertainty factor on the Internet is that users do not know how to deal with changes in the system:
"One of the most destabilizing issues online is that people aren't good at managing how the system might change the rules on them."
Facebook - formerly a haven for privacy advocates?
Because amazing, Facebook was perceived earlier than a network in which the privacy enjoyed a special protection. In February 2009 Zuckerberg wrote on The Facebook Blog:
Our philosophy is that people have their information and control who they share it with. The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work.
Zuckerberg speaks here of the philosophy of his company, which means that the users are in possession of their own information and can control with whom they want to share. In this statement, he describes the trust that sets the users in Facebook as a safe place to share information, as the basis for the functionality of Facebook.
A new perception
The changes in privacy attitudes in December 2009, however, fundamentally broke with this perception. Facebook has thus deconstructed itself. Since, by default, all personal information was now visible to “everyone”, unless you had opted out, 65% of all user profiles were made public with this change.
Zuckerberg pointed out at the beginning of 2009 in the aforementioned blog post that the user would always have the possibility to restrict the access to the private data by third parties.
"People want full ownership and control of their information so they can turn off access to it at any time."
Privacy sacrificed to mammon?
One of the biggest criticisms that came up in this context was the question of why you could not opt-in to consciously choose to share your personal data, rather than Facebook making the assumption in advance that all users were using it Would agree to free movement.
A basic explanation is provided by Boyd in her speech by pointing out that for Facebook only through this procedure a large Virality3 has emerged and connected the network for the first time monetarizable.
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