"LETTER" FROM FACEBOOK
By Peter Chianca
Dear Facebook member:
It’s true that it’s in our best interests, for growth and advertising purposes, to make as much of your personal information as possible freely available over the Web. But we make a promise never to share what’s on your profile unless you have expressly authorized us to do so by not un-checking an arcane series of hard-to-find boxes, some of which don’t exist.
So just to make sure you understand your privacy rights as a Facebook user, we’ve put together the following easy-to-follow guidelines:
1) Default settings. Just to make things easier, our default settings make your personal information, photos and videos accessible to everyone on the Web, including your mother, your second-grade teacher and the guy who, at this very moment, is photoshopping the heads of strange children onto the bodies of centaurs.
2) Photos. We understand why you might have concerns over who can see photos of you that you’ve posted, or that are posted by your friends, or by an old boyfriend or girlfriend. But the rumors that embarrassing pictures of you are automatically visible to your boss and your pastor are entirely untrue. Assuming you’ve checked and/or unchecked the right boxes, they can only be seen by friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends and all the other people who play Farmville.
3) Instant Personalization Pilot Program. This is the program that allows other websites, like Yelp and Pandora, to access your profile information. However, you can opt out of this program – at this very moment we have a team of engineers trying to determine how one might go about doing that.
"But Facebook, why would you ever presume that we’d want you to share our information with other websites without our permission?" you might ask. To which we’d respond: "Shut up and play some more Mafia Wars."
4) If you’re embarrassed about people seeing your "Like" list, maybe you should stop liking things like Barry Manilow and "Jersey Shore." You know who you are. And so do we.
Finally, we want to remind you that, if you’re that concerned about people seeing the information you somehow thought would remain private just because that’s what we told you when you signed up, you always have the option of deleting your account.
Good luck figuring out how to do it.
Copyright 2010 Peter Chianca. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.