Facebook Names and Privacy Concerns

Candace, 04 November 2007, No comments
Categories: Organizing, Web Applications

So there’s this new application out there — you may have heard about it — it’s called “The Facebook.”

I jumped on briefly when Rob was doing some developing and wanted me to do some testing with him. I know people who are deeply involved with their Facebook accounts but I didn’t really think of it as “my sort of thing” so set up my profile using just my first name and initial. I was also troubled by the privacy issues connected with Facebook.

Go figure that people I know in real life found me and friended me there and this weekend the circle grew again. Now that good friends from far away are sharing pictures and communicating through the site I’m considering starting over with a real profile with changing my id to my full name (thanks for the link Jeff) so that the site can work as it was meant. Part of me wants to maintain the small bit of privacy I have by not using my full name even though it isn’t that many steps from the small bit of information there to finding the rest.

Since I’m there and now connected to a few networks do I really have any privacy anyway? What would you do? Are we at the point that we accept that we have little control over the information about us on the Internet or are we still making an effort to control our online identities — even if it means we cannot play as well with our friends? One thing I can say for certain is that companies like Facebook have found a good way to get people to give up willingly and eagerly all kinds of information about themselves.


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  1. Jeff Schiller
    04 November 2007, 11:57 pm

    Any reason you can’t just change your Name at https://register.facebook.com/editaccount.php ?

  2. 16punches
    05 November 2007, 9:34 am

    Hmm. Missed that. Can’t change it under profile settings which is where I looked.

    Still though, what do you think about the issue of using a full name on Facebook? Do you use your full name everywhere or just in some places like on flickr and your blog?

  3. Rob
    05 November 2007, 2:27 pm

    Part of the deal is giving away a little of our information. What you get back can really be great but it only works if everyone’s in. And once everyone’s in of course that’s what’s really valuable to the commercial interests behind Facebook and the rest.

    As I’ve said in other places, it’s not that I’m concerned somebody will track down the fact that I said something bad about product X on Slashdot one day and now they know my name, it’s all about the aggregate mass of data. When my info gets mixed with 10 thousand others like me and a company decides that I’m not a worthwhile customer any more. Or worse, that they want to keep me but they just don’t have to treat me very well.

    Just mix some horror stories from The Consumerist with the datamining and demographic information that we know Yahoo, MSN & Google all collect and let the conspiracy theories start flowing 🙂 .

  4. Rob
    06 November 2007, 2:19 pm

    Okay, maybe I should be concerned about people looking at me exactly http://valleywag.com/tech/scoop/facebook-employees-know-what-profiles-you-look-at-315901.php

  5. 16punches
    06 November 2007, 9:05 pm

    Woah! That’s a scary link. I especially like this part:

    “Facebook’s privacy policy doesn’t explicitly reserve or waive employees’ right to check out your profile for any reason. ”

    Skunkery, indeed.

  6. Jeff Schiller
    09 November 2007, 11:02 am

    I use my real name when I post on blogs and some forums too (though “codedread” is a more unique search term, so I’ve been sidling that way recently on forums). And my real name all links back to my site and blog. It’s really about establishing an online identity.

    By the way, I also keep my profile locked down (http://www.facebook.com/privacy.php?view=profile) so that only my friends can see it.

    So the fact that I use a real name on Facebook and LinkedIn is not too much of a concern for me. You’ve used your real name on LinkedIn by the way and that comes up in a Google search for “Windsor” + your first name – just an FYI (feel free to remove this entire sentence from my comment if you’re concerned).

    Ultimately, I think anyone enterprising enough could figure out your name simply from your profile, looking at your friends, going to their website links, etc. I guess it’s really about how much you want to make public – the more websites you run, the more posts you make, the more comments you leave, the more information you’re giving away.

  7. 16punches
    13 November 2007, 4:01 pm

    So I guess the thing is, once you’ve begun creating an online identity everything you do online is inextricably linked. There’s no going back for me now.

    But for someone just starting out on the web (they do exist!) it’s important to keep in mind that sooner or later people will connect what you write and the pictures of you that end up posted on the internet.

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