Why does it come as such a surprise to some individuals that social media networks continue to step outside of undefined privacy boundaries, only to be pulled back somewhat?  While the public may claim a victory, the network has in fact made more ground by releasing and sharing data.  It is an illusion to assume that a retraction of a release of data actually means that the entire policy was retracted.  Such a full retraction only happens infrequently.

Some networks are respectful of their members, while others are not.  One major network has just permitted individuals to automatically “join” other individuals to groups.  If you are one of the people who was “joined without consent,” you have to sign onto the network, find the group, and unjoin.  How is that a customer-centric act?  In other networks, suggestions are made to you about with whom to connect.  You, in turn, show up on someone else’s profile as a suggested contact –something that you never asked to happen.  You are a part of an algorithm.

Algorithms are a major culprit.  They blast you with suggested connections, suggested web sites, suggested groups, suggested purchases, etc.  All of these suggestions are based on your private information; again, not something about which you have a choice. 

Certain networks enable you to quickly delete people, groups, etc.  However, others require you to expend a serious amount of effort, and involve one–by-one procedures.  Anyone with whom you connect may have access to a myriad amount of private information – birthday, schooling, email address, work history, friends, etc.  When an enterprise asks you qualifying questions, such as state of birth, first dog, favorite color, etc., they have collected information that is private and yet sometimes used to target you.

Even the spammers can reach you through social networks’ in-network and out-network connections. Some of these networks make it almost impossible to stop that from happening.  Networks that provide online conversations sometime do not have an option to show that you are not online, or are stealth.

Be aware that individuals might know where you are located, when you are online, what your preferences are, and your opinions.  Online privacy is an illusion, and the sooner that individuals recognize this fact, the sooner they will understand how to manage their data and how to be prepared for the consequences.

What is your buzz about?