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Monday, 24 May 2010


From Denver 7 News

How private is the information you publicly display on Facebook? What you write may be seen by more than your Facebook friends.

"Openbook" (caution: some adult language) is a new Web site created to get Facebook to tighten its security settings, but showing just how public some of your private Facebook information can be.

With a simple keyword search, you can read the status updates of Facebook users who you have no connection with. Based on those people's privacy settings, you may see information they wouldn't want complete strangers knowing.

7NEWS found Miguel, a Denver-area resident whose status update included, "So long Denver," in a post referencing a vacation. Ninah also referenced Denver International Airport writing, "I'm really on vacation." Ada, wrote "Bye Colorado," in her reference to her vacation.We were able to read the status updates of thousands of Facebook users we weren't friends with.Angela lives on the western slope. 7NEWS found her status update that referenced an upcoming vacation, with extensive detail to when she would be gone and where she would be."It's kind of scary really. I'm sitting here thinking of things that I've written on Facebook and how many people have actually seen that now," said Angela. "You think that that's open to your friends, and you don't think that just anybody can get on there."After Angela was told her status update could be seen by non-friends, she planned to change her status."You've opened my eyes, and I'm sure by doing this piece that you would open other people's eyes to stop and think before they actually enter something," said Angela.Even though Openbook put her personal information out there for anyone to see, Angela said she didn't think there was anything wrong with what the site revealed."I really do think it's going about it the right way," said Angela. "Really makes you stop and think before you post certain things.""Yes, it's ironic, and it will cause people pain, but it's the least evil way we could come up with," said Openbook developer Will Moffat.He said the point of the website is to educate Facebook users on privacy just as much as it is about trying to get Facebook to change the way it sets up privacy. He wants people to understand how to lockdown their pages, and to realize Facebook is more like a blog than private e-mail."Privacy should be there by default, and there should be a simple way to do that," said Moffat, who said Facebook users often have to "opt out" of privacy options, instead of "opt in.""I actually think it's a good message," said Denver-area Facebook user Theodore Furr. "I think it's good and I think maybe it will help people realize that they need to set their privacy settings higher."Furr checked his privacy settings and found out that he's not as secure as he thought. His friendship sharing settings showed that his friends could accidentally share his personal information."I think anybody with good 'Googling' skills could probably do the same thing this is doing," said Furr. "I think it's good because it's making maybe parents or middle-aged people realize the risks that their kids are at.""It's kind of cool, but I can see where it can go wrong," said Facebook user Matthew Van Deventer. "(Although, Facebook users) choose to put that out there for public information."

1 comment:

G said...

I do know with my Facebook page, I've tightened up on everything, simply due to the fact that I spent about three years in the chat rooms and was trolled like you wouldn't believe. Even had people follow me to my blogs.

Now in order for anyone to see anything about me on FB, you actually have to be a friend. Can't even be a friend of a friend to see my stuff.