Noted in my rapid morning reading of RSS feeds: danah boyd writes about Facebook’s complex privacy settings confusing people: “Tech developers… I implore you… put privacy information into the context of the content itself. When I post a photo in my album, let me see a list of EVERYONE who can view that photo. When I look at a photo on someone’s profile, let me see everyone else who can view that photo before I go to write a comment. You don’t get people to understand the scale of visibility by tweetling a few privacy settings every few months and having no idea what “Friends of Friends” actually means. If you have that setting on and you go to post a photo and realize that it will be visible to 5,000 people included 10 ex-lovers, you’re going to think twice. Or you’re going to change your privacy settings.” Indeed, that does seem like the obvious solution.

2 thoughts on “why not show us the effects of our privacy settings?

  1. David

    Bebo and Myspace are worse in terms of privacy than facebook in my opinion. Bebo and Myspace profiles regularly appear in google searches. I have a friend that works for an insurance company that make their employees google new applicants searching for such profiles in the hope of weeding out drug users and binge drinkers.

  2. […] Putting Privacy Settings in the Context of Use (in Facebook and elsewhere) [apophenia] – danah boyd’s sensible and timely reminder about Facebook’s ridiculously complicated and confusing privacy settings: “Facebook’s privacy settings are the most flexible and the most confusing privacy settings in the industry. Over and over again, I interview teens (and adults) who think that they’ve set their privacy settings to do one thing and are shocked (and sometimes horrified) to learn that their privacy settings do something else. Furthermore, because of things like tagged photos, people are often unaware of the visibility of content that they did not directly contribute. People continue to get themselves into trouble because they lack the control that they think they have.” [Via Jill] (These, incidentally, are among the reasons why you won’t see any pictures of my son on Facebook! Flickr, where I retain copyright and can actually use meaningful privacy settings, is far preferable!) […]

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