Facebook's takedown of privacy option leads to concerns over stalking
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -
Facebook is in a unique position in American culture. So
many family members and friends are posting pictures and updates about their
lives that you can feel as if you're cut-off from them if you don't create a
profile of your own.
For millions of Facebook users who weren't particularly
interested in sharing their profile information with the world, there was a
compromise available --- create a profile that's only visible to certain
people. But Facebook is taking that option away, saying only
a small percentage of its users were taking advantage of it. But with 1.11
billion users around the world, even a small percentage is a lot of people.
It also doesn't take into account those who've been the victim
of stalking and don't want to be harassed online, not to mention being
tracked-down in the real world.
"I think it is a valid concern," said Dave Hatter, a social media
and software guru at Definity
Partners. "And in fact, I've done a lot of seminars on social media talking
to people about how to use it and so forth. And I've had two different women in
two different seminars tell me they have been stalked as a result of social
media. One in particular was related to Facebook and one wasn't."
Facebook did not respond to FOX19's e-mail asking why it's
making the move.
From Facebook's perspective, the more information about you
that's public, the more details about you it can sell to advertisers and data
mining companies. But Hatter says Facebook needs to be careful.
"I think Facebook definitely has their work cut-out for them
to stay relevant," he said. "And I think by attempting to maximize their
profit, which again is just me trying to guess at why they are making these
kind of changes, I think they are going to ultimately erode their user base
because people are just going to say, ‘Enough is enough of this. I don't like
the way this works.'"
In fact, Hatter agrees with recent
articles saying that Twitter and LinkedIn could eventually surpass Facebook
in popularity. Hatter points-out that a lot of businesspeople are already on
LinkedIn making deals with each other.