December 17, 2013
For the online assignment we were required to download all of the information both google and facebook have about us. My google account is relatively new, and what little information google had on it about me I did not find that startling. It was facebook who proved to be an expert on me as a person.
At first I thought this would be boring and I would simply see what I already see on facebook, the stuff all over my wall and chats. However I was extremely surprised at what facebook had to offer. After downloading my facebook information, which took over a day, I began sifting through what they had. It shocked me to find out they had logs of every message I had sent to somebody since I had created my account. Not only did it have the context of the messages, it also had the time and date. The information continued to surprise me as I found out that facebook also had information on whether or not I had accessed it through a mobile device or a computer. It also had information on all my posts, pokes, pictures, comments, and friends. I was startled to find out how easy it was to download all of this information, and that all someone needed to do was get my password and they would be able to do this. I think this is rather concerning as I don’t see why anyone would ever need this much information about a person, let alone their personal details about their facebook and conversations with other. It also got me thinking about the web in general. Some of the information that showed up I had deleted a long time ago, things such as comments, pictures, and personal chats. However, facebook was able to retrieve all of this information with rather ease, and put it into the lift of information in its correct spot. This scared me because even though the information had been deleted, in some cases for years, facebook still had it. This made me wonder if deleting information on the Internet really “deletes” it.
This information also brought up the issue of privacy for me. If facebook is able to retrieve all of this information that means that they must have it stored somewhere. This is a scary thought since if someone at facebook wanted to, they could release people’s personal information, look at it for themselves, or sell it to advertisers or other people/companies willing to pay for it. Also, the fact that it gave me a log conversations showing what other people said to me, it means that other people would be able to retrieve a conversation that I had with them and see what I had to say. This is concerning because it is very possible that one person might not want the conversation revealed. I believe that there is no use for the information, and when a user deletes it, it should be deleted permanently, rather than archived. In the future I will definitely watch what I put out there carefully, as I have seen that it can come back even years later.