Facebook and all its glory climbing to the top of the social network and social marketing ranks has been under scrutiny with their last layout changes and privacy controls. There was a time where the user had some granular control over who could see what on their profile and yet stay social by accepting friend requests from people they may not know directly. After their latest round of changes users couldn’t even find WHERE to protect their updates and found out that every little thing they did or said on Facebook was now a full PUBLIC stream! Posting a happy birthday wish to your ten friends for the day was now added to your friends network feed. Liking a story on Huffington Post, Mashable, Local news, or a friends photo album all went to your feed and your friends feed. What a culmination of frustration and a reckoning of a social networking giant taking the backwards security approach to make things ALLOW ALL, DENY SOME approach and give some convoluted response that the user is in control but we are doing things this way anyway!
Now we find out that who you are friends with is another indicator of who you are, where you are located or even what you are most likely to be a target of for marketing purposes. Its not really new since any good marketer or information hound can glean almost anything they want from a few simple pieces of information. Have you searched yourself lately on Google, Bing, Yahoo or other engines? Your Facebook profile may popup and show anything from your friend list, status updates to your favorite pages. This post by Erik Hayden points out the fact that people are watching YOU, studying YOU and making inferences based on YOUR FRIENDS.
I would say be careful of who you allow to friend you on Facebook, however, that would not solve the implicit idea of privacy. I would choose to get to know more about your privacy settings and implement different changes to see what you are comfortable sharing or not sharing. In this digital age, if you don’t own the server or the developers that create the product, you can not be guaranteed a higher scale of privacy online. In hood lingo, “you betta check yo self” and take measures of being informed of your friends and the privacy controls of any social network.