Facebook is about to offer users a more hands-on way to manage their privacy on the 1.28 billion person social network.
According to a recent post on its blog, Facebook will default all new user accounts to a "friends only" audience for posts. Previously, all new user accounts were set to public.
Existing users have some new privacy tweaks coming their way too. The company is going to start annual privacy checks for current users in the next few weeks.
Users will be reminded about the following info and be given clear-cut options to adjust permissions, if they wish:
- Who they're posting to
- Which apps they use
- The privacy of key pieces of information on their profile
This is all coming from a company that has had an ambivalent relationship with privacy issues in the past. So what's driving the sudden change of heart?
Well, maybe Facebook is eyeing a recent European court decision that will require Google to erase the digital history of anyone in Europe who wants it. They want to get ahead of the curve after falling behind it for too long, because that's where the marketplace is going.
Case in point: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is launching a startup that focuses on the privacy of text messages.
Called CyberDust, Cuban's new company is kind of like a SnapChat for texting: Any messages sent on the service will self-destruct in 24 seconds after being read, leaving no trace behind, not even on the company's own servers!
Facebook can use your likes in advertising...unless you tell them otherwise
If you like something on Facebook, you are allowing the company to use your postings and other personal data they know about you in advertising. Even minors are subject to being featured in ads, the company revealed in a recent blog post.
"Everyone wants to know what their friends like," according to Facebook. "That's why we pair ads and friends—an easy way to find products and services you're interested in, based on what your friends share and like."
Originally, Facebook allowed parents to restrict the use of kids' likes in advertising. But now they're saying, "Tough." No additional consent from a parent or guardian is needed for them to do this. To me that's Clarkrageous. The good news is teens are having their own revenge as they migrate away from Facebook to other social media.
Fortunately, you can control how your social actions are paired with ads. Simply click here and then select your preference beneath the picture of the sample ad.
And on a related note, if you don't like Facebook tracking your offsite activity and then serving up related ads when you're back on their site, there's something you can do about it. Simply go to the Digital Advertising Alliance's opt out page and you can put the kibosh on what's being called "online behavioral advertising." More than 100 companies in addition to Facebook are spying on your surfing, but this is your one-stop shop to put an end to it!
Can the Facebook friends you keep hurt your credit?
Alternative online lenders like Kabbage.com who work with online businesses are paying close attention to your friends and associates on social media. In fact, your profile on social media factors into Kabbage's proprietary scored assessment of you. And surprisingly, they report that online businesses with a good social media score are 20% less likely to default on loans!
Other lenders also looking at your social media friends to make a decision on your lending application include foreign sites like Lenddo.com.
This whole idea goes back to a key rule of relationship banking: Know thy customer. Banking used to be a local activity where judgments were made not always based on assets, but on your character. The fact that Kabbage is now using social media to determine what kind of person you are gets back to that. So be sure the people you friend are real friends, not frenemies.