Commentary

Facebook and Google - A Scary Combo

I have posted on this blog before that I love Google. It is the best search engine out there, and let’s face it – it saves us all a lot of time. But last week the friendly team at Facebook notified all of us social-networkers that they are teaming up to make our personal information that much more accessible to everyone.

Now I understand that there is an inherent paradox in being on a social networking site and NOT wanting to be searched, but “Googling” someone and “Facebooking” someone are entire different actions. Members of Facebook are often comforted by the veil of privacy this particular network affords. We can guard our information from anyone we want to while still maintaining the privileges of belonging to the site. I’ve had friends from elementary school, past teachers and current colleagues Facebook me and THAT is the reason why I belong. If someone can’t search me on Facebook, maybe they shouldn’t be searching for me at all. Needless to say, I disabled the “Googling” feature as soon as possible.

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But there is a bigger issue here. Not too long ago Facebook extended its networking invitation to high school students many of whom are still legally minors. Yes, they too can set their privacy protection levels to high, but many might not; this puts a lot of information/pictures/contact information into the hands of whoever happens to be interested in 15 year old girls who like watching Laguna Beach.

There are valid reasons for why it isn’t appropriate for minors to belong to these sites. We’ve all heard the argument that parents should be around to encourage “smart choices” but many parents probably don’t know what their kids do online. I was under 18 not too long ago and – yes – I made it through with nothing more serious than mild carpel tunnel. I’m just saying that it won’t be too long until Facebook might have to answer legally to ticked off parents.

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