Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Facebook Looks to Expand: Could Security Problems Get in the Way?

With 4 billion messages sent a day and 500 million users, how could Facebook possibly expand their social network? Well, according to Mark Zuckerberg, the website is about to launch a new addition to the already overwhelming website. After a talk with teenagers, Zuckerberg has made the decision to add an e-mailing system to Facebook. Is Zuckerberg at all concerned with how much these teenagers actually know about the importance of e-mail outside of high school?

While it may seem like a convenient new tool for young people, it is not a realistic means of communication for any adult. In fact, it seems users have forgotten about the numerous privacy problems that have taken place in Facebook history. Despite a repetitive lack of security, members have placed their complete trust in the website nonetheless. However, this new messaging system should call for all Facebook users to reconsider the significance of past security issues.

Typically, e-mail is a method used to converse in a more formal way, and Facebook is the exact opposite of formal. While most people strive to keep their bosses, professors, and some family members from seeing that they are even on Facebook, Zuckerberg is attempting to link their e-mails to the website. Facebook has become known as a place to post less than professional photos, and create witty statuses to vent about an unpleasant day of work. While Zuckerberg calls traditional e-mail “too formal,” a Facebook e-mail is going too far.

The new system will attempt to keep chats, texts, status updates and e-mails all in one place. This plan alone is already impractical. There is nothing difficult or stressful about receiving texts solely from a cell phone. Having them stored in an online account will just cause more trouble when the Facebook privacy settings are not working…again.

Every member will also receive an @facebook.com e-mail address. This is the last thing anybody needs when applying for a job, or trying to arrange a meeting with their professor. It’s hard enough trying to untag and hide inappropriate pictures that are swarming the internet. Many people have even resorted to using middle names instead of their last name to avoid being searched, and now Zuckerberg expects them to link their Facebook page to their e-mail. It’s not a good idea.

Before jumping into this new plan, Facebook members should look closely at how damaging a security mishap could be under these circumstances. There have already been accounts of Facebook users losing their jobs due to their activity on the website. In many cases, a person’s professional personality is completely different from who they outside of work. Any minor repeat of Facebook’s problematic security and privacy troubles could cause this new plan to become detrimental.

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