TotalCIO

May 7 2010   1:57PM GMT

Facebook privacy issues giving CIOs, employees some pause

Rachel Lebeaux Rachel Lebeaux Profile: Rachel Lebeaux

Here we go again with Facebook privacy issues: Consumer advocacy groups are assailing Facebook for a recent security flaw. One has even filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), claiming that a recent security flaw temporarily exposed private messages between friends. It’s also sobering to learn that nearly one of four Facebook users isn’t using the privacy settings at all.

The timing of this new wave of Facebook problems dovetails with our recent coverage of social media addicts and security. As SearchCIO.com Senior News Writer Linda Tucci reported, more employees are using social networking technologies either for work purposes or during work hours.

I don’t see why the FTC would get involved. Nobody is forcing anyone to have a Facebook page, and although frustrating, it doesn’t seem like Facebook is breaking any laws. If enough people stopped using Facebook’s service, or brought their social networking elsewhere and it affected the company’s bottom line, I bet Facebook would be more likely to notice and reconsider its approach.

But these Facebook privacy issues — specifically, the breaking down of privacy barriers between individuals and their employers — are disturbing on both sides. What if employees using Facebook in the workplace discussed sensitive work matters via the social networking platform, and their conversations were exposed?

Moreover, as an employee, if you want your employer listed on your profile, you now will have no choice but to connect to your employer’s page. And as an employer, do you want employees past and present directly linked to your company’s Facebook page? Thoughts to ponder as Facebook’s privacy issues become more and more pronounced.

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