Monday, 14 December 2009

85% of us have no control over our own privacy (on facebook)

By Jon Paget

If you’ve logged on to facebook recently you might have been asked to review your privacy settings. In the past, status updates and other information (contact, personal, work etc) could be shared with your friends, your network or everyone on facebook.

Now facebook is prompting users to change their settings to ‘everyone’ which means that (for the information you’ve selected to share) data is visible across the Internet (eg: found in Google). Facebook claims that its latest update empowers users and puts them back in control of their privacy. However…

85% of users have facebook default settings

Seemingly unbelievable but true. The majority of us have the default privacy settings, giving facebook power over how and where it displays our information. So, if it was daunting before, the prospect of so many people (apparently unaware or disinclined to care) now sharing their information across the web is scary.

The impact for business

Many bloggers and digital rights groups have been up in arms over facebook’s latest move. But, how will it affect business?

Well Google are soon to release Google Caffeine, an updated version of their search engine, which is set to place a much higher importance on social media (early suggestions are that it’s a much greater importance).

One of Google’s aims for improving search is (and will continue to be) to incorporate real time results (updating content within its search results as and when it’s published) whilst improving the accuracy of each search request. Incorporating facebook information such as status updates is the first step but it’s not difficult to foresee twitter (already in discussions) and all the other platforms from following suit.

What’s the impact for business? 2009 has seen some very strong success stories for brands and businesses using social media but it still remains a misunderstood tool by many. As Google updates its search engine and social media continues to grow businesses will have to consider the power of online communities/social media.

And if you don’t, your competitors will…

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