You knew that Facebook had your name, age, gender and birthday, but did you know that the big brother of the Internet readily swaps your personal information with advertising companies and other users?
While this may seem irrelevant to those who use Facebook only as a way to keep in touch with friends, it spelled disaster for two members of the LGBT community at the University of Texas-Austin. Bobbi Duncan and Taylor McCormick were outed when they were both added to their university’s LGBT choir group on Facebook — information that was subsequently seen by the two students’ family members.
Facebook once seemed harmless, but since the company went public, user information is essentially at the fingertips of anybody who is in search of it.
Mark Zuckerberg’s perfect world works a bit like this: A user likes a page, Facebook registers when that user has liked that page then corresponding advertisements are strategically placed on that user’s page. If this business model works perfectly, more companies will look toward Facebook as a primary source of marketing.
A few advertisements here and there won’t impact your life, but two college students who were involuntarily outed after joining a Facebook group have bigger problems.
Zuckerberg is watching.