Facebook changes security settings and options

Zoe Roush

      The social networking site, Facebook has recently gone through some drastic privacy changes. As of December 9, Facebook made an attempt to simplify their privacy settings in order to give the users more control of their page. Users can now block information from certain people, allowing specific information or pictures to be blocked from certain people. These new settings are set up to give users more options with their private data. 

      Facebook was first designed as a way to connect users to friends and family, one of the many inventions that make this world seem smaller. Since this website was formed in February 2004, it has taken over the world. Many CPHS students have a Facebook, whether they use it regularly or not. It’s an easy way for students to communicate with each other. Even some teachers have Facebooks to post homework assignments on. Settings on Facebook can be set to user preferences, to allow for customized privacy and interface. However, most students don’t realize how open their page really is. When Facebook changed the privacy settings, there was a brief window when all Facebook accounts became public.  Unless settings were specifically changed back, accounts were open to anyone and everyone.

     “I don’t like the idea of people looking at my stuff if I don’t know them,” Travis Smith, junior, said.

     Most students would agree that it’s scary that their page could be open to anyone and everyone. It can be a real safety issue because most students didn’t even know that Facebook had changed their settings, and because of this, a lot of Facebook pages are still open to the public.

“It’s bad cause there’s not a way to know [about these changes] so those who don’t know about it are [affected]” Zach Dahl, junior, said.

     There was an announcement about these changes, but it was either ignored or unnoticed by many. Facebook did the best they could to notify the public, but the task of privacy was up to the user. If the user ignored the message about the new settings, then their settings were reset and their page was reopened to everyone. It’s a change that has made the World Wide Web even less private than it already is and strangers can now view once-private pages without users even knowing

      This change is not all bad according to some students though. Those who utilized the new features have been generally pleased with the options. The new settings have allowed students to be more open with their Facebook without worrying about prying eyes.

     Now on Facebook, students can change their settings to allow only certain people to see what is posted. This change allows them to be friends with family and teachers, but hide certain things they don’t want seen. This can be applied to embarrassing pictures or status updates that could seriously affect relationships for some students. The new privacy settings also allow students to keep their social lives and school lives separate. If these settings aren’t updated by the user however, it could potentially lead to consequences. Their information would be posted for everyone to see, not just their friends which is potentially dangerous.   However, there are ways to stay safe on this website. Many students agree that accepting people you don’t know can be dangerous.

     “When people add you, make sure you know them, don’t accept just anyone,” Andy Springen, senior, said.

     It’s a mistake that many students make, and is possibly the most dangerous. Stranger danger is something learned in elementary school and it should be followed on the internet. Remember that people are not always who they say they are. Posting phone numbers, addresses and even birthdays can put unwary users in a very vulnerable position. If used correctly, Facebook is a positive device for staying connected with family and friends. The new privacy settings have allowed students to show their lives without the chance of getting in trouble. However, this change also makes people feel invincible, causing trouble later on. Everyone has to use common sense when posting things on Facebook, regardless of new and improved privacy settings.