Do you have enough privacy options on social media?

400-FACEBOOK-MAGNIFYING-GLAHistoric City News, like most modern, technology-driven organizations, depends on social media as one significant channel of communication with our audience. But, more than that, as a newsgathering bureau, we depend on social media as a secondary source, or, sometimes primary source, of corroboration of events and identification of people and places in the news.

Individuals and businesses have increasingly embraced social media, more so in the past five-year period. Subscribers of these services have voluntarily contributed an unprecedented volume of personal information, including images, to websites like myspace, twitter, and the social media giant, facebook.

Should you have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” when you publish your life’s history to the public Internet and submit living color images of everything from your graduation to the time your “bestie” was holding your head over the toilet the time you got so drunk you weren’t sure you were going make it home?

As with all things in cyberspace, it is a lot easier to add something to the network than it is to remove it — simply because of the thousands of search engine robots that are constantly crawling through websites and accumulating copies of their content.

Each website has their own “terms of service” which govern how and what they allow to be hosted on their computer — many have a separate “privacy policy”, but not all. Facebook does, for example, but they tend to make privacy setting changes first and tell their upset and confused users second.

Last year, Facebook Inc., who in any month reports having about 1.11 billion active online user accounts, required subscribers to deliberately go to their privacy settings and check a box to enable a privacy feature that allowed you to go undetected in searches — otherwise you could easily be found.

Historic City News has learned that it’s not just the NSA that can find you on facebook. Though e-mail notification, being made at some point during the next couple of weeks, facebook will inform users that the “opt out” option is no longer supported. At this point, users no longer get the option to go undetected.

Let us know what you think >>