So. Facebook has uncorked privacy again, and taken it to a new level with graph search. I'm not going to lie, I haven't really played with graph at all. I'm not joining up with the masses to revolt against information being made available to the public. I'm not looking to burn Zuckerberg in effigy, nor am I ready to go diving through FB's security settings to try to make my page "Safe". Know why? Go on, ask why...you know you want to.
OK you haven't asked but I'm going to tell you why anyway. You know those pictures you worry about turning up on your page and ruining your life? You know the ones...the one of you trying to waterski while taking a bong hit, getting a tattoo of a naked lady, and having gay sex with a republican senator, all simultaneously for example? Yea...it's really not that hard to figure out people: DON'T POST IT. That's it, see how easy it is? When you offload those gems from your phone or camera onto your PC, give a moment's thought...something to the effect of "Will this bite me in the ass later?". If the answer is yes, don't send it to your friends, don't post it to facebook, just leave it tucked away someplace where you can look at it over and over and have your fits of regret. Better still, look at it and enjoy it, then DELETE IT. If celebrity sex tapes have proven nothing at all (the legit leaked ones I mean, not crap like Pam Anderson/Tommy Lee), that shit can and will get out there...if anyone cares enough to make it happen.
For example...when a 16 year old gets a photo like the below taken of themselves:
The proper answer is to grab the camera and delete the picture. It's not facebook's fault that you opted to be an absolute fuck-tard. And yes, this happens all the bloody time. I have friends with teenage children and they post the remarkable stupidity that they go through every weekend without a care in the world. Until they remember: oh shit, I friended mom last week.
My friends are big a—holes
So what about, you may ask, the stupid shit that you do that friends capture on film? Well there's a few different ways of handling this. You can just set yourself as untaggable but, quite frankly, that's boring. You could just not do stupid shit - something I recommend, but don't always practice myself. Or you could take on just a little bit of personal responsibility. Say to your friends "Hey, do me a favor? You know how later on we're going to smoke crack and go cow tipping? Yea, don't take any pictures of that...and definitely don't put them online anywhere...and if you have to, please don't tag me". See how easy that is?
I'm responsible for my own online existence
Now, what to do if a friend posts you doing stupid shit anyway, tags you, and throws it out there for everyone to see. Well, the beauty part of FB is that it tells you when such a thing happens, and it even gives you the option to remove that pesky tag altogether. So when your friend posts you doing, oh say, this:
You can pull that tag out toot sweet....I mean lets be honest here, NO ONE wants to admit they EVER drank nattie, let alone wore it, amiright? Instead of blaming facebook or your friends, take on some personal responsibility. You opted to drink that gallon of tequila and try to dive off a high dive into a pool of jello...you KNOW that pic is gonna turn up. Look for that notification and clean up your mess.
The Driving Metaphor
Having concerns over facebook privacy is kind of like being concerned about not wearing your seatbelt...while driving holding a beer in one hand, a joint in the other, talking on your cell phone and, oh yea, driving a stick shift. Sure, the seatbelt might be the one that ultimately gets you killed, but the screw up was made way, way WAY before that ever happened.
The bottom line here folks is that if you don't want your shit to be out there, don't be out there. Don't be on facebook, or twitter, or linkedin, or G+, or anything else. Even the most careful people, even the most secure systems, get fucked up sometime. Take it on yourself instead of counting on the system to protect you. Watch what you get tagged in and use notifications as your proactive defense system. Don't ignore it when you get photos added "of you" or check-ins "with you". Ultimately your online persona IS in your hands, and I find it a lot easier and more reliable to take care of my own shit than to count on a system I know nothing about to do it for me.