Facebook’s “Identity” Crisis

Social Media

Over the summer I gradually was reducing my use of Facebook and spending more time on Twitter. Many of the articles I was reading were pieces found through the tweet feed. That certainly accounts for more of my time writing out things in 140 characters or less.

A short time ago, I changed my name on Facebook more or less for fun but also security reasons. My privacy settings were all set to a point where I thought my personal page was something that could not be found. As it turns out I was wrong. So I shut down my author page and started limiting my presence even more. Somewhere during that security settings discovery I changed my name again.

Less than a few hours after changing my name, I received an email from Facebook saying they had suspended my account. Somehow I was in violation of the terms of use. In order for this to be cleared up, I was to send a copy of my personal identification to them in order to be able to access my account. To me this felt like some privacy violation and that they were holding my information and data hostage. Since I knew the email was legit, I sent them a copy of my identification with my address, license number and license bar code vetted out. A few minutes after sending it, they allowed me to access my account again. I needed to get access to my content again. So I handed them their bare minimum possible to get in to my account again.

Check out the Wikipedia Article about the Criticism of Facebook .  The first section summarizes the wrongful account suspensions and coercion of private identification out of users.

I wrote to support to complain about this and how I felt it was a privacy violation. I explained why I changed my name. From their form-letter like responses , it seemed like a fight that I would not be able to win. On top of that, THEY changed my name for me to reflect “more accurately who I was”. I shut down my writer page (which was in a hold mode anyway), have stopped promoting and posting on my personal page, and now only peek in once a week, if that. I’m just not entirely comfortable using it any more because of these violations of privacy.

During the Rally To Restore Sanity and/or fear, put on in October 2010 by comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Colbert presented Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg with the”Medal of Fear “because he values his privacy much more than he values yours”…..

Facebook, let alone any social media platform, has no business holding the data of its’ users hostage. Especially when they are not actually violating the terms of use. Facebook’s grip on social media is still strong. It remains the strongest, most popular and profitable social media platform.

Regrettably, their position in the market appears to have turned them into a social media bully. Questions are being raised about potential privacy breaches and data mining tactics that could cause significant ripple effects worldwide. It is my hope that more people will echo mine and others’ concerns about their abuse of legitimate users’ data and privacy settings. Businesses who advertise on Facebook need to consider this information and ask themselves a couple of questions.

Do we value the privacy of our customers? What if it was my information and privacy settings being compromised?

So if you are one of the many who use Facebook, give this article some consideration and share it with anyone you know. You could even share it on Facebook….



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