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.
Personal Privacy Worries Havent Hit Home Yet
5. The alternatives aren’t any better
When it comes to privacy and security, the other social networks on the Web just aren’t any better than Facebook. In fact, a solid argument can be made that just about every other social network fails to provide the security and privacy that Facebook does. That’s something that Facebook should remember. As upset as users might be with Facebook’s settings, they also realize that the alternatives that they could switch to just aren’t any better.
6. It hasn’t hit the mainstream
Facebook’s privacy troubles might be known to several of its users, but it has yet to enter the mainstream. In fact, the average, novice Web user likely knows little about the privacy troubles that could arise by using Facebook and not changing privacy settings. Once again, that should help Facebook. The social network has shown time and again that it’s willing to react to criticism. But it’s also positive that the mainstream won’t react.
7. The future isn’t promising for Facebook killers
Social networks have come and gone time and again. For the most part, their users are fickle and once the next big thing comes along, they jump ship. But Facebook is a different story altogether. Not only is it the most popular Website on the Internet, it doesn’t have a fickle user base. Best of all, there are no social networks on the Web today that have the slightest chance of taking Facebook down. Whether users like it or not, the social network has become a staple on the Internet.
8. Privacy issues are widespread across the Web
Let’s not pretend that Facebook is the only site on the Internet that’s experiencing privacy issues. A quick glance at all of Google’s troubles quickly reveals that the search giant is arguably going through tougher times related to privacy than Facebook. And that’s just one of example of many sites that continue to miss the mark on privacy and security. Facebook isn’t alone on the Web. It can find solace in that.
9. The pros outweigh the cons-so far
Although privacy trouble should be enough to get users mobilized to change things on the Web, they don’t care. A main reason why they don’t care is because they realize that the virtues of the social network far outweigh its troubles. For example, the site is an outstanding spot to communicate with friends. The social network is also a fine networking place for professionals. All in all, Facebook is a better operating system than its privacy troubles portend.
10. The Web is changing
The Internet is quickly changing. Years ago, it was a bastion of privacy and anonymity. Today, all that has changed. Anonymity and privacy have given way to user willingness to offer any information that someone asks for. Once, Web users wouldn’t offer up their real names. Today, they’re telling everyone where they live. And that’s only working in Facebook’s favor as it fights privacy troubles.