How We Should Use Facebook

According to CNN, political campaigns are using Facebook games as excuses to collect individual’s profile information. When you sign up to play the game, you’re agreeing to give the campaign access to your name and email, among other things. The Wall Street Journal reported that some Facebook applications transmit profile information to third parties (not necessarily those used by political campaigns).

Developments like these are concerning, because using Facebook abusively makes everyone distrustful, which undermines the network’s benefits. Without trust, the relationships we build on Facebook will be worthless.

Read more on the basics of protecting your information and how we plan to use Facebook.

Having a Facebook account exposes your name to the world. Search engines pick up your profile. But without logging in to Facebook and being in your network, individuals typically will not be able to see any other information. Most people tolerate this level of publicity (the anti-privacy).

Adding friends, joining groups, and posting things to your profile increase the chances other people could see your information. Facebook gives you control over who sees what. Again, most people tolerate their friends and members of groups seeing what they post online–that’s why we join Facebook anyway.

The next layer of publicity is adding applications to your profile. CNN and the Wall Street Journal chronicled how the owners of applications can harvest your information. Importantly, you are in control of the applications you install on your Facebook profile. A good rule of thumb is to only install applications you need if they have favorable reviews from their current users. Installing anything, as the installation terms state, opens up some of your data to the application.

Facebook has done a relatively good job of keeping you, the user, in control of your information. They have also been reminded organizations and groups about the point of Facebook: engagement. Building relationships requires a basis of trust and healthy interaction over time.

That’s why Heritage Action is on Facebook. We appreciate the chance to interact with you, posting news and analysis you’ll find interesting, and giving you opportunities to take action for conservative principles. As we explore new ways of using Facebook, we are cautioned by the tales of bad applications. In the future, we will add online tools for you to take action, but our primary goal is engaging with you on our shared conservative principles.

Let us know what you think. Your input now will help us develop our plans as we grow.

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