So just in case you haven’t been on facebook in the past week or so, facebook has announced that it has reached over 350 million users. In an open letter written to all of Facebook’s users, Mark Zuckerberg said that with the increasing number of users, facebook has decided to update its privacy settings. These privacy settings have been changed because as the website has continued to grow and evolve, so must the safety of all its patrons.
When facebook was first created, people were able to join regional networks to meet people. The only problem with these regional networks is that they are not so regional anymore. According to the letter, approximately 50% of all users are in one region or another. The problem with this stems from the fact that some of these regions have over one million people in them . Facebook has decided to get rid of these settings entirely and create a much simpler method to safety. Over the next few weeks people will be asked to review their settings and make sure that they coincide with the user’s desire.
I think that this is a good idea on facebook’s part for several reasons. One of the most obvious is safety. 350 million people are using this social media platform… roughly around the same amount of people who live in the United States. The privacy system which was based on regions can leave users sharing information with strangers that they did not wish to be public. Another reason that I think that this is a good idea is that it is a lot easier for people to understand. I can recall several conversations that I have had with friends about how to make sure strangers cannot see your pictures, and I have heard a lot of different answers, I’m not even sure if any of theirs was correct. The new facebook settings will only have 3 possible choices. You can: share your information with strictly your friends, friends of their friends, or everyone. This is a great idea for facebook because this is as clear-cut as it can possibly get. Social media is continuing to evolve, while keeping safety in mind, what could be better?
According to a press conference held in New York yesterday, a total of 3500 known sex offenders have been removed from the social media websites myspace and facebook. The social networks were able to identify and remove the accounts in question with the Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-Stop), which was passed in 2008 and requires that all known sex offenders in New York State register their e-mail addresses and all other online aliases.
Many of the known sex offenders who were removed had violated the conditions of their parole by being a part of these websites.
I think this is a tremendous step in the fight against predators. Although it would be ridiculous to say that they even got close to removing the majority of them, it is a step in the right direction. Since the beginning of the World Wide Web, there have been those who have misused it. Cyber predators prey on the innocent and literally destroy lives. The removal of these predators is an absolutely vital first step in the fight to make children safe while using social media. I am extremely happy that people are beginning to really take some initiative and help keep kids safe on the internet.