Computer Privacy Settings are Not so Private

Francesca Hawkins, Staff Writer

Are you truly protected when you change your privacy settings or make a profile on a social network? The answer to that question is NO. Facebook and Google are the easiest places to find anyone’s personal information. Facebook has been bombarded with new privacy settings and new ways to “protect” your profile. Google keeps track of its look-up history and who looked it up. The sensational social network and the well-known search engine became popularly known but poorly protected.

PBS.org did a timeline on Facebook, and then the famous social network changed their privacy settings only to give out more information. During Facebook’s third year of being on the web, on September 26, 2006, it had “beefed up” its privacy settings allowing limited users to search, “poke”, message, “friend” or see other users. By December 9, 2009 Facebook made information sharable with everyone letting users know the other users’ names, profile pictures and gender. “No company has done more to push the boundaries of online privacy than Facebook,” said PBS.org.

We all know how to use Facebook but why is your information shared with everyone? Well, the new privacy settings are hard to understand and Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, said he would make it simpler to fix your settings.

Users should be aware that if a someone were to take a picture of five other people and tag them, you are linked not only to that person’s Facebook page but also, to the other people in the photo and the world wide web.

“Whoa, I didn’t know that. I think I’m going to change my privacy settings, ha ha, I’m going to block you,” said Jamie Wilson when she was told about Facebook’s privacy settings.

“Well, I have been a Facebook user for two years now and I’m still unhappy and confused with the privacy settings,” said Anthony Simmonetti.

In August 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia 24-year-old Ashley Payne was forced to resign from her position as a public high school teacher because a student complained about her Facebook photos. The student thought the photos of Ashley, holding alcoholic drinks, were to “promote” drinking. This is proof that Facebook is not private and if you post the wrong pictures or comments of what others deem inappropriate you will pay the price.

With my own research I “googled” my name as everyone should do, and I didn’t find my Facebook because I fixed my privacy settings. Although, I found my younger brother’s Myspace page, even the ones he deleted. It said his last status and that he has other profiles. He was totally unaware that his information was still on the World Wide Web for all to see.

When you make a Facebook expect to lose all your information if you don’t fix your privacy settings. Also, be careful what you post because anyone can see especially employers, teachers, peers and parents! The Internet is not safe, so take all the precautions and update your privacy settings for your sake.