Facebook loses friends as privacy campaign grows

Source : http://www.guardian.co.uk

It's a fitting congruity that the simplest way to gauge Facebook's current woes comes via that other unchallenged behemoth of the internet, Google. Type "How do I ..." into the search engine and one of the first suggestions it comes up with continues: "... delete my Facebook account?" Today it was the ninth top-ranked search term, bringing more than 18m results.

Since it was devised a mere half-dozen years ago by Mark Zuckerberg and three Harvard contemporaries, the social networking site has grown at an astonishing speed, seeing off once-powerful competitors such as Bebo and MySpace. It has also attracted controversies, notably over the issue of a "panic button" for child users.

But this week Facebook has experienced perhaps the closest thing to a crisis in its brief history, with reports of an emergency staff meeting at its California headquarters about privacy issues.

Criticism has been mounting since a revamp of the site in December meant users' profiles became publicly accessible by default. Retreating back into anonymity also became an increasingly tortuous process, with profiles now featuring 50 separate privacy settings and 170 options. This was followed in March by more changes, including plans to automatically share users' information with outside websites.

While this has the potential to hugely boost Facebook's revenues through targeted marketing, it has angered campaigners, including the American Civil Liberties Union. This month EU data protection officials wrote to Facebook, calling the privacy changes "unacceptable".

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Created by admin 13 weeks 4 days ago – Made popular 13 weeks 4 days ago
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Good article. I also found this one on Axis Of Logic

Keiros 13 weeks 4 days 23 hours 29 min ago

Why do 400 million people have a Facebook? Is your child one of them?

By Arturo Rosales, Columnist. Axis of Logic
Axis of Logic
Saturday, May 15, 2010

Arturo Rosales reflects ...

Are human beings in developed and not so developed societes so alienated from each other that they need to communicate with strangers on internet? How many hours do internet-addicted children spend on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter pushing information about themselves out into cyberspace for all eternity? There must be some statistics somewhere on this.

Talking about statistics how many hours do kids spend speaking in a meaningful way to their parents or family? Or are they brought up from almost Day #1 watching Baby TV, graduating to Discovery Kids then on to Nickelodeon and then Disney Channel? Then comes the big leap to Facebook and eventually they crawl into the "gimme" disease.

In all these scenarios the entertainment is provided by the corporations or to put it in real terms - components of the Global Corporate Empire. We all know that the GCE loves kids - as future consumers.

"Let's go and grow some vegetables in the back yard, Johnny!"

"Dad, are you insane? I gotta see what Mandy is doing with her new iPod. By the way can I have a Blackberry for my birthday? Everyone else has one. They are so useful I could get on the internet no matter where I am and I could send emails from every country in the whole wide world. They're really cool, dad."

"But you've never been outside of Manhattan, never mind the United States. What if I buy you a seed box and a watering can and we can have home-grown, healthy vegtables with no toxins in them".

"What are toxins? Forget it. I gotta get on line NOW!!"

This may be a caricature the modern drama - but it is a reality, nonetheless - of western society today. It's also one of the tragic losses for family, real friendship and community in a world of corporate-dominated life. Some say that parents have a responsibility to control their children's time on television and the internet. It's a bit like inviting strangers to visit with our children behind closed doors and at the same time to control their activities. The normal difficulties inherent with good parenting are challenging enough without allowing corporations to enter the privacy of our homes, introducing God-knows-what-values to our children, undermining our authority as parents and bringing new conflicts between us and our kids!

Of course I'm aware of the peer pressure that has always existed among the kids who have and those who do not. But in the past it was a pretty dress or a pair of sneakers. The internet has introduced a whole new kind of competition among kids. At the risk of sounding over dramatic, we wouldn't allow our child to have a firearm just because their friend has one. Ok, the video games, social networks and chat rooms are not a cocked pistol. But what silent risks exist for our children behind that closed door when they are on the computer and we're chilling out in front of the tube with that after work drink at our side?

Now if your kids are among the 400 million people who use Facebook watch this 4 minute video which is fact and not conspiracy theory. Why is the CIA at the top of the pyramid when it comes to Facebook? Old Arturo says, c'mon dad and mom, bring your kid back home from the wilderness of the real wolves and witches on the internet, spend time with them, play board games with them, listen to them, take walks in nature together, turn off the television, read together, plant a garden if you have a back yard and if you don't, get them to put a tomato plant in a pot and watch it grow. Help them with their homework, find out where they've really been tonight, learn to apologize to them when you've been wrong, hug them - really! Tell them stories about your childhood and about their grandparents, aunts, uncle and cousins. Let them get to know you and find out what wonderful people they really are. It's not easy in this system that demands so much of our time and energy, leaving us with fatigue at the end of the workday. But it does come down to our priorities for what's really important. It's about the very meaning of our lives - and theirs.

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