Facebook – Friend or Big Brother?

On 01/17/2012, in Career, Email, Professionalism, by Jordan Wilson

Just read an interesting article on Facebook.

Facebook and Politico are working together to create sentiment analysis reports on political issues. Now that in itself is not overly interesting.

What is intriguing is this: 

Facebook and One’s Private Messages

It seems that:

“the Facebook-Politico data set will include Facebook users’ private status messages and comments.”

Private status messages and comments? I do not want Facebook data-mining my private comments. Or that I thought were private.

But do not worry.

“Facebook and Politico say the entire process is automated and no Facebook employees read the posts.

Ah, that is good to know.

No Real Worry?

It is not like there is a data base filled with Facebook users’ private messages and comments that contain political key words.

What? You mean there is such a data base. But do not worry, it is fully automated. Yep, I shall definitely sleep better knowing that it is all automated.

In reality, tracking my usage of Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrinch does not really trouble me.

But what will Facebook decide to track next week? Next month? Next year?

And how truly safe and secure is this data?

Updating your life on Facebook is fine.

But keep this post in mind when possibly approaching any legal/ethical/moral/etc. lines.

What Is Private Today May Be Public Tomorrow

What may be private today between you and a friend, may be less so in future.

Obviously, this is true for non-private communication.

Even if we take Facebook at their word, others already utilize Facebook posts and groups for their own purposes. When hiring, companies normally conduct internet searches on potential employees. So monitor your public persona.

But “private” communications are often never truly private.

Emails sit in servers even if you delete them from your own mailbox. Text messages and voice mail can be saved and/or forwarded by recipients. And so on. Look at all the trouble Tiger Woods went through because private communications became public.

Whatever you put out in the public domain, whether you believe is private or not, can come back to bite you.

Be careful now and you will avoid problems down the road.

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