Thirteen million people have never looked at their Facebook privacy settings. That should raise a red flag to Facebook. The platform should figure out a way to make people aware. While I cannot remember the last time I adjusted my privacy settings, I certainly know how to find them. I should adjust them more often but I’ve always taken the set it and forget it approach.
I think there should be a way for Facebook to place a pop up on a person’s page alerting them that it has been a year since their privacy settings have been touched. This would be a great reminder to people. It could even give a direct link and take all the hunting away from people and get them involved in protecting themselves. I think most of those 13 million probably don’t even know that you can adjust who sees what on Facebook.
There are a lot of people who fail to understand that what they post on social media could come back to bite them. While they may have set their page to private, that doesn’t take away the ability for others to share what they’ve posted. Nothing is ultimately private online. If you share something you better be OK with the entire world seeing it just in case it goes viral or gets into the wrong hands.
There was a time in my life where I thought this is my Facebook page and I can saw what I want. That backfired when I made a complaint about work and it was reported to a previous boss. I was frustrated at the time I wrote the post and I should’ve bitten my tongue and not said anything. While I didn’t get in trouble, that warning definitely opened my eyes to how my personal and professional life mix on social media and I cannot always speak freely.
When we first discussed reporters friending interviewees on Facebook I was all for it and didn’t feel that they should have to identify themselves as a reporter. I felt the obligation fell on the person getting the friend requests to do their homework. Several weeks later my tune has changed some. I still think the person should do their homework but I don’t think a journalist should act differently on social media than they should in person. In person they would identify themselves and I now believe that to be true on social media as well.
I do feel it is unethical to take information that has been posted in a private space and share it with the public. However, the hard part is knowing if someone’s account is private or not. I won’t know what someone has as their privacy settings or remember if they had to allow me to follow them on Twitter or not. I’m also not going to take the time to investigate someone’s privacy before sharing something.