Monday, April 20, 2009

On Facebook, You Have No Friends

You know, it could have been me that published first on this, and maybe got credit for "the kill", but by the time I spent a night pondering the ethics of spilling a guy's Facebook pictures, they were already MSM fodder and British Columbia New Democratic candidate Ray Lam had already stepped down.

Clearly one of Mr. Lam's Facebook friends was a political opponent, or alternatively Mr. Lam had a falling out with one of his real friends, and hey presto "private" pictures became public.

It is quite common, by the way, to sign up as a Facebook friend of some politician/potential candidate and hope they 1) post pictures of themselves in their underwear or 2) become associated with radical types. Facebook encourages shoddy screening processes, because your cred there is a function of the number of friends you have. I, for example, have so few friends that I will accept pretty much anyone. Mind you, I don't intend to run for public office.

Gary Wise has done a fine series of posts on your Facebook privacy rights and other topics re the Facebook social networking phenomenon. David Canton covers similar ground in today's LFP (and, as a free bonus, talks a little about the FreeD case). In short, however, your privacy rights on a social networking site are probably less than you thought.


The Mound of Sound said...

Don't fret for Mr. Lam. Those weren't 'gotcha' photos that somebody used against him. They were deliberately posed. Want to be an elected pillar of the community? Don't pose for pictures copping a feel.

Reality Bites said...

Trying hard to understand how these pictures are different from Bob Rae going skinny dipping with Rick Mercer.

A gay man "copping a feel" off a woman in a posed photograph falls into the category of goofing around, not sexual activity.

Ti-Guy said...

Trying hard to understand how these pictures are different from Bob Rae going skinny dipping with Rick Mercer.Well, Rae is from a generation that actually understood just what "on the record" means. These little twits have yet to learn that.

But learn it they must, because I'm not looking forward to a future where everyone's private lives are expected to be public all the time. Not becauae I have anything much to hide, but because most of this stuff is fucking boring.