Facebook just doesn’t get it. Every time they try to institute another privacy initiative they don’t inform their end user. They do it in a way you would never know you are sharing more information than you would want. How many times do they have to stumble before they do it right? They will never get it right, and the reason is that the leaders and forces that lead Facebook will never change their philosophy of trying to get all your personal information into the hands of 3rd party associates that pay them royalty or licensing fees. With how big Facebook is now, it’s all about the money.
The blog Inside Facebook actually gets it wrong too:
Most critics have immediately focused on how greedy developers will request the data in order to spam users, which is a valid concern. But the access will also enable the creation of apps that keep friends connected via SMS and facilitate eCommerce by pre-populating delivery details.
The Rewards and Risks of Facebook Developer Access to User Phone Numbers and Addresses – Inside Facebook 1/17/11
To always err on the secure side is the best option for your users. Don’t just go out and do it without informing your users or just add the text to a dialog that has been the same forever and people just click through. It’s not about keeping friends connected or eCommerce, it is about protecting your users from the spammers and identity thieves that are looking for a victim.
This is the reason we should be teaching the pitfalls of online access to our children. They should be aware that others do not care about their privacy, while some are out to prey on them. We should start teaching online safety in the form of a Facebook, MySpace, Twitter class in Middle school. Those classes can be built upon to make some really good classes in high school that not only teach the proper use, but how to create applications for them or to create the next Facebook. The children of today use this technology, we need to be teaching the methods of how to use them responsibly or we are not doing our own jobs responsibly.