The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Security, privacy, etcetera

Because of the new Facebook “Facelift,” I am 10 percent more paranoid these last few days. Not only am I jittery and nervous with classes starting, I have to now look over my shoulder online. Being mildly frantic is not fun.

For those of you who don’t know, Facebook is the high school, college and university equivalent to MySpace and one of the “safest” online communities out there, according to the story I wrote: “What brings us closer also keeps us apart,” Issue date 04/27/06.

Not just any stranger can look at your online profile, they have to be collegiate and provide a valid school e-mail address to register in order to “lurk” around.

But with this new facelift, are they going downhill with their badge of safety? Can this do some damage? I hope not.

The two new features give your network of friends a little “look-see” as to whether you have recently broken up with someone, if you’ve declined a party invitation, what new friends you’ve made, what new group you’ve joined, who has written a comment about you and whose comment wall you’ve recently written on as well.

When I logged into my account I saw an organized RSS-like feed that detailed every single thing all my friends did, and another news feed that tattled what I did, completely out in the open, for all of my friends to read.

I don’t tell my friends everything I do every day and so this kind infringed on my right to secrecy.

I felt powerless.

As soon as these features were added, groups expressing their protest sprang up. Groups like “The New Facebook Sucks,” “People Who Hate the ‘Facebook Facelift'” and the “Students Against Facebook News Feed (Official Petition to Facebook).”

I joined them and as soon as I joined the group, a news feed on my profile page told everyone that “Yohanna joined the group RESTORE FACEBOOK TO BEFORE IT GOT STALKER-ISH. 1:48pm.”

UGH! Can I protest in private? Wait, I’m using the very thing I am protesting about, to protest. How counter productive, be productive-like.

These groups essentially demand that the feature be deserted, or an adjustment be made.

I agree. These little details of your online occurrences are too much in my book. I like my right to secrecy, plus what is this, tabloid college gossip news?! I mean, I closed my MySpace account because of eerie stuff like this.

But it looks like there is hope at the end of the tunnel. The Los Angeles Times, along with BBC World News, have reported about the online protest, and Mark Zuckerberg’s public apology in the form of an open letter addressed it directly.

In his letter, the founder of Facebook said, “We really messed this one up. When we launched News Feed and Mini-Feed we were trying to provide you with a stream of information about your social world. Instead, we did a bad job of explaining what the new features were and an even worse job of giving you control of them. I’d like to try to correct those errors now.”

There now is a privacy controls explanation page explaining exactly how to control your privacy settings. I wonder how many people actually know about it.

Yohanna hopefully can now chill 2:52pm.

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