Remember when you could use plain text on Facebook in order to express yourself? Now, in yet another update to their loosening privacy settings, all of the text on your profile will be linked to a respective page devoted to your interests/current city/activities/etc.
Cool, right? Well, not really. An article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation looks at this problem in greater depth. In their article about the change, Facebook argues that this will usher in a new age of networking, and uses cooking as a main example. Before, friends could just read your profile to see that you liked cooking. Now, your information is posted on the cooking page, along with the tens of thousands of other users who list cooking as an interest. As the EFF article notes, however, while cooking is a relatively harmless example, your listed interests in causes such as abortion, gay rights, legalization of marijuana, or any other hotbed issues are prone to be linked to their respective pages, putting you in a virtual database for anyone who wishes to view this information. If you start receiving unwanted friend requests, it is likely that they have come as a result of the ability to see you through such a database.
There are a few options to combat this: You can delete your account, and reregister as a minor, as Facebook’s policy regarding users under 18 halts these profile links. You could also quit Facebook entirely. Yet it seems that the best move is not to shy away from these changes, but to combat them head on. There are likely going to be several protest groups and pages which intend to lobby against these changes, and here is a link to one of them, via campusprogress.org. With a strong following, it is likely that Facebook would take such groups seriously. As Brandeis students, we should do our part to make sure that our ideals are upheld, especially when Facebook is jeopardizing our our ability and choice to keep those ideals private and personal.