The 14 year old girl from Harpenden was horrified when 21,000 people RSVP’d to say that they were coming to her birthday party. She’d posted the details, along with her address on Facebook, intending to invite a few of her friends to celebrate her 15th birthday. You can imagine how she felt (and how her parents felt) when she found out that rather more than 15 people planned on attending. The event has now been cancelled and Herts police are keeping a watch on the area in case any determined sorts should decide to pitch up there although the event notification was reposted, together with her address (not by the girl in question) which causes even more worry about the implications.
Just when you thought you had it all sorted…
I keep my personal Facebook settings pretty well locked down but I’m now getting into the habit of checking everything on a regular basis as I just don’t trust Facebook not to have changed things without clearly telling me what they’ve done. As in the above case, if you post an event notification the visibility settings aren’t in your personal privacy settings but are attached to the event itself. I know that you may well want to post an event and have it more widely available than just your friends but it shouldn’t be so easy to get it so wrong.
When Facebook Places was launched recently the first thing I did was to make sure it was switched off. Geolocating is a great tool but I don’t want it on by default. I don’t reckon that I’m paranoid but I’m not overly keen on telling everyone exactly where I live and when I’m there. If I want to post a location that should be an option for a particular status update. So what did disturb me was that Places defaulted to allow your friends to post your location. You could go to the trouble of switching off your location updates to have that undone by a friend. Absolute nonsense. Surely the only person who should decide that your location should be published is you.
Facebook may well be bigger than many countries now, with over 100 million users but if they don’t start to help users manage their personal data more effectively and safely then people will start to look at other options.
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- Girl calls off party after 21,000 reply to Facebook invite (independent.co.uk)
- Girl, 14, fears 21,000 party guests after Facebook invite blunder (telegraph.co.uk)
Also worth reading:
- Facebook Privacy Settings: Who Cares? - http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3086/2589