10 Reasons Why Privacy Issues Won't Drive People Away from Facebook

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-06-01 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

News Analysis: Facebook is dealing with complaints about its subscriber information privacy policies on a daily basis. But as the site attempts to improve privacy and security, it's quickly becoming clear that no matter what it does, its more than 400 million active users won't be leaving.

With May coming to a close, one company is wondering what will happen when the day ends. Thousands of Facebook users are expected to quit the social network over concerns that the site isn't offering enough in the way of privacy and security. An entire site has been dedicated to the cause, which aims at getting "fair choices and best intentions"-two things that they say Facebook doesn't offer.

Their concerns over Facebook and their desire to leave the social network might be understandable to some. The site has faced unrelenting criticism from privacy advocates lately over the privacy and security of user information.

Even Facebook has admitted that it has made mistakes, and the company has offered new, simpler privacy settings to ensure that its more than 400 million active users are happy with their ability to keep sensitive information away from nosy visitors.

And although those privacy settings have been panned by some, all the talk of boycotting Facebook makes little sense. As bad as the privacy issues might be for the social network, no one is leaving. And it's quite likely that the site will stay atop the Web until something bigger and better comes along.

Yes, privacy issues are worrisome and they should be enough to leave a social network. But here is why they aren't enough when it comes to Facebook.

1. What other options are there?

It's easy to look at Facebook and say there are other social networks on the Web that users can migrate to. But let's be honest, the chances of that happening are awfully slim. MySpace might be a wildly popular social network, but it's quickly losing its place as a "go-to" social network. And although Bebo is a major player in some countries, it doesn't have a footing in the United States. Simply put, Facebook is still the best option on the market. And users know it.

2. People don't care

Privacy and security issues might cause all kinds of trouble on the Internet, but for the vast majority of users, they just don't care. In fact, the mainstream seems to ignore the potential effects that privacy and security problems can cause simply because they haven't been affected by them yet. Those who realize those dangers see just how worrisome that mentality is. But until millions of users start worrying about their privacy on the Web, Facebook won't need to worry about a thing.

3. Facebook is trying

Facebook might not be doing enough to satisfy privacy advocates, but at least the company is trying to better the site and come up with a solution that makes user profiles more secure. That's certainly better than the vast majority of social network alternatives that generally fail to deliver any useful privacy and security settings. If nothing else, Facebook is at least working toward improving its site. That should be commended.

4. The users go wherever their friends are

Some folks might be concerned that their privacy settings aren't adequately protecting their information on Facebook, but they also realize that if they really want to stay on a social network, they need to be where their friends are. And with so many users, chances are that their friends are on Facebook. That alone ensures that Facebook will continue to be successful going forward.



 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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