(Linked article above by Peter Kafka of the WSJ / All Things Digital)
Am I telling all of you to get off Facebook today? No.
However, I just want you to be aware of what is going on. Slowly but surely the social network will pimp out all of its members. And unlike some consumer-is-always right advocates like Clark Howard, I don’t even thing what Facebook is doing is wrong. I think its disgusting, but its a free service. What can we expect? Nothing. There is no customer service. You pay nothing, you get nothing. YOU and I are the product. The Facebook social network is not the product. As you know, I no longer use Facebook for business purposes. I begrudgingly use it to contact a handful of people in remote parts of the world with whom I have no better method of communication. I do not use my real name.
What can you do?
1. Don’t use your real name on Facebook unless it is a professional page and in that case the name of your organization would probably be at the top anyway.
1a. A business Facebook page is not a substitute for a website but only a compliment to.
2. Don’t make your pictures publicly visible (friends only)
3. Don’t use Facebook as a picture backup service. There are better options for this. Facebook owns your pictures once you upload them.
4. Stop using Instagram to upload your pictures to Facebook. Facebook paid $700 million for this startup company a few months back. Instagram said this week that as of Jan. 13 — THEY OWN YOUR PHOTOS.
5. Don’t publish your birthdate publicly on Facebook. When sharing with “friends” you don’t need to share year of birth either. You wouldn’t believe how many computer students I’ve dealt with who published their full name, location and full date of birth publicly on Facebook. You’ve just set yourself up for identity theft.
6. Look at your privacy settings on Facebook and adjust them regularly. They keep changing the options and they don’t notify you when they do.
7. If you continue using Facebook PLEASE PLEASE and PRETTY PLEASE — Turn on an option under Account Settings >> Security called Login Approvals. Anytime someone tries to sign into your account from a unknown computer, you will get a text message. You will have to enter that code from your text message to log into Facebook. This prevents hackers from using your Facebook account.
Finally, consider a Facebook alternative that actually gives you rights, a network that you pay for, and doesn’t sell you out or advertise. APP.NET is one such option. I am not a member, but would certainly consider this in the future if enough people I knew joined.