Facebook is behaving a lot like a growing IT company trying to gain control of its content and the way its users utilize it. Remember when Microsoft forced folks to buy their operating system with Internet Explorer imbedded in it when Browsers were a big deal? There was a lawsuit over that. Then Microsoft was said to be collecting user information and sending it back to Redmond. Apple is criticized by open source folks because they confine you to the Apple Store and inside their own “i-world”.
Now there is the giant called Facebook. It started out as an alternative to My Space which quickly surpassed that social media stream and now that it has over 500 million users they paving the same road. Alarmists are saying that Facebook is now publishing folks’ phone numbers on their site in users’ contact information. This is where it gets hairy.
Facebook claims it is doing nothing new or different but that people are making more use of the Facebook features by adding phone numbers of their friends voluntarily when they synch information. Facebook claims these synched numbers only show up on your personal phone book but the fact is they are collected and they do reside on Facebook servers. My first thoughts were that if you put your number on Facebook you were looking for trouble but now it seems it can find its way by actions not your own – interesting.
About 30% of kids that use Facebook have smart phones. Every time they synch up, they are sending Uncle Frank and Aunt Bessie’s phone numbers to the west coast servers of the social media giant. This is scary enough for adults but even more so for kids who don’t realize the implications of simply having a smart phone and a social media account. Is this just the world we live in now or are we going to far with these nefarious activities?
– by J. Wade Harrell, author of Shadows of Siernod