A few weeks ago, the online world became enraged when Facebook launched its Instant Personalization” feature. Users were automatically opted into the program without being notified and the only way to opt out was to:
- Know that this program had launched, it was done very quietly and
- Navigate through 3-4 mouse clicks on your account profile to find out where to disable the control.
Users were surprised and fears of “big brother” quickly surfaced when they would go to their favorite news or media websites and see “Your Facebook friend liked this story!” Or, “122 of your friends like this page, maybe you should fan it as well?”
Pretty intrusive, yes. Also, if you are in the know, you know that when Facebook shares its data with 3rd parties it shares a lot more data about you than most people think they do. All of your personal, private, data and statistical information is now in the hands of a third-party; a third-party that may or may not protect your data. That may or may not sell it to others.
Yes – we were all opted into this without being asked.
Now here’s the rub. I OPTED OUT of instant personalization on Facebook and I am still getting personalized messages. Even though I opted out, my personal information is STILL being shared with third parties. That is blatant deception on Facebook’s part and certainly cause for a legal dispute.
Look for yourself – both of these screen shots were taken this morning. Click the image for a larger view:
As you can CLEARLY see, my opt out of the personalization program means nothing to Facebook. They are still sharing my data with CNN. I’m not saying you should quit Facebook as many others are advocating. Facebook has its uses, but you need to be wary of what you out there; you never know who will get access to or where your personal data will end up.
As you mentioned, this is something that most people don’t even know about, so good job spreading the word, Ron. Protecting your privacy and personal information on Facebook only starts with disabling the personalization feature. There are also some apps that should be blocked (I actually block all apps). Here are a couple of good links with some more information on the topic.