Small webliography on Facebook and Privacy, with some small thoughts
I wrote a draft previously on this topic here, but as Zuckerberg (Facebook's head honcho) keeps baiting and switching his users, I find there is more to say and consider. This is mostly a small list of items I have been reading recently on the topic that I found interesting and/or relevant. I know this is something that, as a librarian, I need to be concerned about and that I should write about more if for not other reason than to clarify my thoughts and help educated my students. As before, I am not sure what direction to take for more substantial writing. There are a couple of angles or perspectives I want to explore that may be too big for one blog post, but I don't necessarily feel like doing a series. In the meantime, here is the list:
- Stephen Abram picks some links in "Dealing with Facebook and Privacy."
- Lifehacker points to the ReclaimPrivacy tool.
- danah boyd has two interesting posts, which you have to read one after the other. Start with "Facebook and 'radical transparency' (a rant)" then move to "Facebook is a utility; utilities get regulated." Looking over some of the comments may be worth it as well.
- The guys at Download Squad ask and tell us "How bad is Facebook? There's now an app to search your status updates." You can find the app in question at http://youropenbook.org.
- Matt Silverman at Mashable has something that may be relevant to this conversation as well, and a reminder to parents to be responsible for their kids in "Social Media Parenting: Raising the Digital Generation." This can be helpful in having better conversations about online presence and use with your kids.
- Scott Douglas, of the blog Speak Quietly: Ramblings About Libraries, Writing, and Everything in Between, in the meantime, gives us a list in "Virtually Yours: Online Tools Your Library Needs Now and Why." It's a basic list of apps with some justification for libraries. Not terribly new; these are things other librarians have talked about before, even if they did not pack it all in a neat list. Do note there is no mention of things like possible privacy issues. (hat tip to Stephen Abram here)
- ALA's Intellectual Freedom Round Table (IFRT) has tells us that "Online Privacy Can't Be Evaluated on a Human Scale." This one is worth reading, if nothing else than for the scenario about Star Trek and pedophilia (no, it is NOT what you may think. Go read it).
- Resource Shelf has a webliography of their own on the topic, made after the F8 Conference where a lot of the fussing got unleashed. Useful to get a sense of the issue.
- Mary Minow provides links and comments on "Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow, teenagers and others on What Privacy Means to Them."
- Fred Stutzman on "Privacy in Social Software."
- Michael Stephens on "Using Social Media to Connect with Teens." This is basically typical advocacy for libraries to use social media to engage their patrons. There is a mention of educating the teen users, but not in the context of what I am exploring here. While I will grant this post came out earlier than the others above, I still think librarians need their education of patrons to be more substantial than just using social media to share and interact without exploring possible consequences.
- The Effing Librarian did write something on "Library User Privacy in the Age of Social Networking Fanaticism." Just when I was wondering if anyone in Librarian Blogsburg had written on this, I rediscover this piece. Sure he does it in humor and jest, but there are some serious points here too.
- A couple more from danah boyd. One to remind us not to demonize social spaces for youth, including the spaces online, the other on Facebook and when Zuckerberg made his now infamous declaration of privacy being dead.
I have a few more clips saved, and I may add some of them here, but this certainly provides a good start.
And the updates start:
- (Update note: Same day): T. Scott reminds us of the old adage that you don't put something online you do not want to see in the front page of the NYT. Certainly some good, rational thinking here, but I still think along with a few others that FB is pulling a bait and switch. And while for many people, the option to disconnect is there, I would look back at boyd's piece on FB as utility, meaning it may not be as easy to leave. This is specially so for libraries and other institutions who have made their presences in FB and other social services. Yes, we can have the discussion of "well, maybe they should have not done that," but that train left the station long ago, helped along by a lot of librarians advocating libraries do just that. Still, T. Scott's post is a must-read for the discussion.
- (Update note: Same day): And the Krafty Librarian replies to T.Scott above. It may be early to predict, but it is looking like my professional brethren are going with the "it's convenient, so you have to give up your privacy" line of reasoning coupled with the "it's your responsibility in the end." Some of which is true, but then makes it easy to let the big corporate honchos who are abusing our sense of privacy and security off the hook.