Newsflash: Facebook doesn’t care about your privacy

Claudiu Popa

I love how every other article about Facebook has some kind of privacy angle. As if Facebook, a site designed to share your information as broadly as possible, was also responsible for preserving people’s personal details under their control. All for free. 

The latest privacy snafu allowed a confidentiality breach to occur with people’s Facebook chats. Given the often sensitive nature of Facebook communications, it’s no wonder that the public is concerned. However, every incremental breach and privacy functionality change is re-listed in every article produced on the topic.

I was particularly amused by this statement in a very recent Times article: “the breach heightened a feeling among many users that it was becoming hard to trust the service to protect their personal information.”

Considering that over the past year we’ve seen Facebook:

  • Dispense with a Privacy Commissioner request to clean up its act with respect to the privacy of Canadians
  • Deal with a variety of security breaches that impacted user privacy
  • Continually mess around with privacy settings to the point where users have less control over their data than they did before

It’s no wonder that users feel ‘zuckered’. This term seems particularly fitting, since Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s young CEO and the face of the organization, has repeatedly made grandiose statements about privacy protection and caring for the 400 million-or-so users that are all but addicted to the free service.

And therein lies the hint. It’s free. But nothing is free. So next time you accept that virtual ‘flower’ or allow a new app to install itself, remember that Mark needs you to make money and your information is his currency.

Claudiu Popa, CISSP, PMP, CISA, CIPP, CRMP is an information security consultant and CEO of Informatica Corporation ( Claudiu helps enterprises to understand and mitigate security risks, anticipate and respond to threats, and implement proper security governance. He is the author of the Canadian Privacy and Data Security Toolkit for SME, published by the CICA. Write to [email protected] simply contribute your comments to this blog. Follow him on or connect with him on
Claudiu Popa
Claudiu Popa
Claudiu Popa is a security and privacy advisor to Canadian enterprises, associations and agencies. He is an author, speaker and lecturer. Connect with him on Twitter @datarisk, Facebook, G+ or LinkedIn.

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