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Facebook Privacy Debate is NOT about Privacy June 19, 2010

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Society, Technology, Work.
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We recently watched the Ricky Gervais movie, “The Invention of Lying.” The movie itself was so-so. But the premise was very interesting. People simply spoke what was on their minds, there was no lying (white or otherwise), there was no sugar coating… Jennifer Garner played this role so well! The movie made everyone seem sad and depressed because the negative was right in front of them. I did not like this aspect of the movie, because, I would hope, that people would be able to live more free without the burden of living a different reality.

Then I was llistening to one of my NPR podcasts Friday morning and heard a story about Facebook and the privacy debate that is raging on around the world. The story was informative, but kind of glossed over the main point of what the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is ultimately trying to accomplish with his very controversial changes to the privacy settings in Facebook.

Since many people know the debate, I will only gloss over it here. Basically, many users and the media have complained that users of Facebook are by default providing personal information to all the world. People are required to make many complex and hidden changes to the security settings of their accounts in order to prevent certain people from seeing items in their profile. Essentially users are asking the social networking site to create two or more worlds where people can separate their life into personal, work, and whatever other groups of people they want to define.

Now, think about this… what if everyone knew everything about you? Potential and current employers knew what you did on your weekends. Friends and family knew the truth about what you are doing and when. If you could not lie or hide the truth, what would you do differently? Would you live you life differently? People think about what would I do if I won the lottery. Well, what if everyone lived the same reality?

I think what Facebook might change about the world is that people live in a single world. There is no longer a distinction between the person at work and the person at home. If you want to be true to yourself, you have to be true to everyone around you. You have to live life with the understanding that you should be your best self all the time. There should be nothing to be embarrassed about. That is how I want to live my life! The only secrets I have are when I buy someone a present.

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