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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Franken faces off against Facebook

Facebook’s new privacy settings have many people, including Senator Al Franken, concerned. In an effort to enhance users’ ability to share information and expand its reach to other Web sites, Facebook is allowing select third-party Web sites (e.g., CNN, the Huffington Post, and ESPN) the ability to access and store some users’ personal information. For example, if you order a pizza from Dominoes online, Facebook will publish information on your profile and Dominoes will track your purchase.

While Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg touts this new service as “transformative technology,” critics don’t like the invasion of privacy. Yesterday, Franken and three other senators wrote a letter to Facebook executives asking them to allow users to opt-in to the new privacy settings. Currently, the default privacy settings permit third-party access to users’ information.

While I appreciate Franken’s fight against Facebook’s sudden Big Brother mentality, the social network’s new technology reinforces what I already knew about the Internet: the virtual word is not private, so you need to be careful how you use it and what you share on it.

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