More On Facebook “Friends” And Privacy

Last week when I wrote about the risks of Facebook Places I specifically said:

Decisions on who qualifies as a friend may have been made a few years ago when the risks were different and content being exposed was much less harmful. Letting a stranger see your obnoxious status update is different than letting them know where you are.

MG Siegler at TechCrunch just realized this himself and cut the number of friends he had in half. To quote:

Facebook is mutating. The problem is that the original social graph isn’t built for this mutation. And we’re going to see that very clearly with things like this new location element.

I’d argue MG Siegler is brighter and more in tune to this sort of thing than 90%+ of Facebook users. Perhaps 99%. If he just realized this now, it’s going to take a long time for the more casual user to catch on.

As I wrote last week, the term “friend” has been grossly distorted over the past few years. I strongly suspect the most at risk users are the ones who distorted it the most. Defaulting things like Places to “friends” isn’t good enough.

You’ll be seeing more about this in the press over the coming several months. This is going to get messy as people leak information they didn’t intend to.

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