Is Facebook heading for self-destruction?

It seems there is a fair amount of arrogance at Facebook. I came across two warnings today that I repposted on my own Facebook page.

Firstly, one message going the rounds and which I found to be accurate was the following:

While on Facebook, look at your URL address; if you see http: instead of https: then you don’t have a secure session and you can be hacked. Go to Account|Account Settings|Account Security and click Change. Check at least the first setting, FB defaults to the non-secure setting. Copy and repost to help all your fellow facebookers.

Yup! Amazingly, the Facebook default is the NON SECURE SETTING. If you have not done so already, go change your settings straight away.

Then a few hours later another friend posted the following message:

YOUR PHONE NUMBERS ARE NOW ON FACEBOOK!! Cell #’s too! Go to top right of your screen, click Account then Edit Friends. Go to left side of your screen, click Phonebook. Everyone’s phone numbers are now published. Please repost to let your friends know this is happening so they can remove their numbers

Facebook Phonebook displays contacts you have imported from your phone, as well as your Facebook friends.

Again when I checked it out, I found out that this was also accurate. The information provided by Facebook is the following:

If you would like to remove your mobile contacts from Facebook, you need to disable the feature on your mobile phone and visit this page.

I take this as a massive invasion of privacy. Sure, they are only available to your friends, but many people add friends of friends and so on and again leave themselves vulnerable. If Facebook is in the game of information harvesting, whatever happened to data privacy or has it enough money to hire smart lawyers to find work-arounds?

What worries me is that these are the default settings. People should know what they are opting in for. If you opt in to receive Facebook notifications on your mobile, does this mean that you are giving Facebook permission to share your phone number around? Yes, it seems it does.

Why would Facebook do this? Maybe six million business fan pages might give you some hint. If you become a fan of some product or another, are your personal details shared? I have not checked that one out yet but I would not be surprised. It is a potent marketing strategy to the corporate world but beggars the individual user.

Bottom line is that Facebook does not understand the concept of customer care. If it does not plug these holes quickly, some other group will soon provide competition. IBM, Ashton Tate, Microsoft, Wang and others once appeared invincible but arrogance breeds downfall. Will Facebook learn the lesson?

In this vein I would thoroughly recommend Merrill R. Chapman’s book In search of stupidity in which he documents more than 20 years of high-tech marketing disasters. Reading this news about F***book today realised that some people never do learn.

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One Response to “Is Facebook heading for self-destruction?”

  • terhunian says:

    Understand that the real purpose of FB is getting people to blithely volunteer all manner of information, which is then sold and resold to data miners all over the world,be they commercial, academic, governmental, or just some random stalker…Your boss might decide to fire you or not hire you in the first place based on what you say on social media (some workplaces have actually instituted policies requiring employees to allow them access to their FB accounts!)…Insurance companies have people combing through their policy-holders pages in search of any little thing they can use to deny you coverage…But since this site is for writers, ABOVE ALL understand that FB claims that simply by posting material on their network you agree they have the right to reprint or resell your work as they see fit, since using their service means they have a copyright on anything you post…

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