The Changing Face of Privacy on Facebook

June 2nd, 2014 by Jason Hartman | Comments Off on The Changing Face of Privacy on Facebook

medium_14205519686It seems like every time you log on to Facebook for business or personal use, something has changed. Minor changes to the interface, major changes to the privacy rules, and so on. Social media is constantly in flux, which can be a frustrating experience for anyone—particularly if you use Facebook for professional reasons.

People like Jason Hartman often find Facebook to be a great tool for business—it’s easy to communicate, organize, and assign tasks. But it’s also a potentially huge invader of privacy.

Amidst huge claims about making further efforts to protect the privacy of users, Facebook recently announced that it will likely be saving data captured by the microphone on your smartphone. That’s right—Facebook will be listening in on private conversations.

It will listen to identify sounds within your environment—songs, television shows, movies playing in the background. Once it is identified, Facebook will give you the option to share the media it has picked up. Facebook has not commented on whether or not unidentified sounds are stored.

While Facebook insists that it won’t be storing sounds, they do admit that they will be archiving the data they pick up. Facebook says the data will be anonymous, but it certainly feels like an invasion of privacy. The data is certainly valuable to advertisers and will likely be sold.

Currently, it is unclear if Facebook will use the capabilities to capture other data—like user discussions about business, healthcare, etc. This seems to go a step beyond other measures in the tech industry to gather data and has users in awe.

And all of this on the heels of major privacy announcements and policy changes. Facebook, just days before, announced the addition of a privacy checkup for every user and an default privacy setting change so as to provide access only a user’s friends.

You might also remember that Facebook was recently implicated as a company receiving a lot of money (think millions of dollars) for working with the NSA data surveillance program.

If you’re using Facebook to keep in touch with loved ones as you live life abroad, these changes may have serious implications for you. Similarly, those using Facebook for business purposes should be wary of changed to privacy settings that may but you, your clients, or your employees in situations where their privacy is violated.

What do you think? Has Facebook crossed a line?

(photo credit: fredcavazza via photopin cc)

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