Will Facebook Personalization Invade Educator Privacy?

When I logged onto my Pandora account last week, I noticed my Facebook friends were appearing under certain artists or songs. How in the world could this be? My only thinking was that Facebook was at it again.

Facebook’s “social graph” has recently expanded to what is called an “open graph”. Users know that Facebook is useful for finding out your friends’ interests and hobbies. But now, it is a place where users are not only connected to other people and places, but to other applications and websites. This could range from anything like favorite clothing stores to music groups or restaurants. It is yet another way for Facebook to let its users keep themselves and others in the loop on what people are doing and what are the hot topics of interest.

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Although this is a great way for users to share interests, it is also giving up some privacy. Your name, picture, gender and friend list will all be made public by connecting with these other sites. If you “Like” or comment using a social plugin, your activity will be published on Facebook and possibly to other visitors to that website. The things you “Like” will be displayed publicly on your profile. For some users, this “instant personalization” does not bother them at all. But, for teachers and those in the education field, maintaining privacy and a balanced social profile is important. Luckily, there is a way to get out of this new feature.

You can opt-out via the Applications and Web sites page. Click “Edit Setting” beside Instant Personalization and uncheck the box on the next page beside “Allow select partners to instantly personalize their features with my public information when I first arrive on their websites.” By doing this, you will prevent your information from appearing on outside sites.

For educators who want to learn more about popular topics, this may be a great feature. Just remember, any information that is made public may end up in the hands of children or fellow employees. By ensuring that your Facebook is properly secured and protected, you can eliminate the troubles of this issue.

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