Facebook Privacy Policy: Longer Than U.S. Constitution

According to The New York Times, Facebook’s privacy policy, now five times longer than its original 1,004 words, has surpassed the length of the U.S. Constitution. With more than 400 million users, who reportedly spend 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook, one has to wonder how many people are sharing more than they realize.

The social networking phenomenon has grown exponentially in the past five years. Some might want to keep in touch with family members that have moved across the country. Others may want to look at wedding pictures of high school acquaintances and see how their own lives compare. Perhaps people are trying to reconnect with a sense of belonging. Maybe, we all hunger for community. Being from a small town, I can say that there are pros and cons related to communities in general. Gossip is inevitable when everyone knows everyone. But those spreading rumors are the same people who mow their neighbor’s lawn while he is in the hospital or show up with a casserole (or if you’re from the midwest a “hotdish”) after a family member has been lost.

Privacy, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the quailty or state of being apart from company or observation.” or “freedom from unauthorized intrusion.” Rather than trying to decide if Facebook is friend or foe, think about how you personally feel about privacy. We all need some connection to others, but how much is too much? Also, when is “intrusion unauthorized”? If all the information is included in the privacy policy, then do we enter personal information at our own risk? Or should the settings be made more simple and straight forward, so the user can decide, with more ease, the amount of personal information he or she chooses to share?

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One Response to Facebook Privacy Policy: Longer Than U.S. Constitution

  1. Tess says:

    I believe that facebook is being extremly shady. Above you post:” If all the information is included in the privacy policy, then do we enter personal information at our own risk?” The issue is not the privacy policy, it is that it is NOT being disclosured properly. They are NOT telling people how they are using the personal information that is entered into their site. Would I feel better about the situation if they simply stated, “here’s the deal. If you put your information on here, we are being given permission to use that information because it is on our site.” I also feel strongly about the number of underage kids who make up the 400 million users. If you are sharing information about people, I strongly feel there should be a clause protecting the underage kids.