NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Here's what I want you to do: Gather your income tax statements over the past three years as well as a passport, drivers license and a few wedding and vacation photos.
Put all of these in a manila envelope. Don't forget to seal it, staple it, glue it, whatever will help you feel more secure about their safety.
Then drive to your local motor vehicle or post office and announce to the public you are now fastening some personal belongings onto the wall, but please be respectful and not violate your privacy.
If that sounds ridiculous to you, this is exactly how I feel about those that complain about their privacy while on social media giant
Whenever I hear these moans, my immediate reaction is, "I don't care." However, it's a good thing for these people that Facebook clearly does care and appears to make its mission to permanently alleviate these threats.
So far the company is doing better than an adequate job. However, I think it is naive to expect complete 100% privacy while online - at least not in the true sense of the word.
This leads me to wonder if users often mistake their perceived "lack of privacy" on Facebook with their own stupidity? I say this because, as in the example above, there are things that we would never dare do in public.
Yet, it is considered socially acceptable on the largest social media site in the world -- one that now touts having
and counting. I think it is safe to say that not all of them are PhD candidates, so let's just get that out of the way.
provided by the company regarding its privacy concerns and the measures it has put in place to address them, I have come to realize that Facebook understands what it is dealing with and the sensitive nature of the service that it provides.
Furthermore, I have not seen evidence to support the company has (at any point) taken its reach lightly. This does not often prohibit dishonest people from doing dishonest things. But it also goes without saying that they can't prevent stupid people from doing stupid things either.
Granted, the site is known for its casual aspects,. However, there are a considerable number of employers and colleges that utilize the site to screen applicants and potential scholarship recipients.
In fact, a study showed that Facebook was used by 30% of employers for that reason, topping even
Imagine that level of access to potentially 900 million people in seven continents. So as much as I want to empathize with some of these people with their sudden privacy concerns, I just can't.
Furthermore, the magnitude of a network of 900 million people can be a bit overwhelming even for Facebook to police effectively -- a reality the company understands. For this reason, it continues to rely on a policy where users are encouraged to "police themselves" in a manner of reporting "timelines" suspicious of being fake or pretending to be someone that they are not.
However, I don't see such self-policing of users ever having the level of impact that it should. People should just accept responsibility for their own actions and be smart.
I think back to before Facebook. There were "Girls Gone Wild" videos featuring drunk college students who are now junior executives who pray daily that their stupidity doesn't resurface and affect a promotion if not their careers. (That night may have been memorable but employers don't care to see pictures of their junior executive chugging shots of tequila and are going to think twice about assigning that corner office.)
If I seem harsh, it's by design. As much as I have written about Facebook, it seems the message is not getting through on what the site actually is -- either as a product or investment.
A recent study showed that one in five divorces have now been linked to Facebook. I mean, c'mon people -- now Facebook is breaking up 20% of our families? Essentially if you are on Facebook and are married, you also need a good attorney if you wish to keep your assets or (at least) visitation rights. It doesn't seem worth it to me.
Or users can educate themselves on the site's security settings. For as much criticism as the company has taken regarding its policies, the security settings have come a long way since the site started. I suggest users figure out how to customize their lists of friends and assign appropriate access levels to each list and designate what they can and cannot see.
However, it first requires taking the time to understand the meaning of these settings as well as privacy options. If nothing else, users should not be so cavalier about stuff they post and allow people who are not their friends access to view their postings.
Your marriage or your job may depend on it. Or, for that matter, your life.
At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.