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Saving ‘Face’ after a privacy mishap

“The other day when I logged on I saw someone was talking about me on it and someone … this kid I barely knew, but he friended me on Facebook and was having a conversation with a friend of mine … asking him how he knew me and they were going back and forth talking… Read more »

“The other day when I logged on I saw someone was talking about me on it and someone … this kid I barely knew, but he friended me on Facebook and was having a conversation with a friend of mine … asking him how he knew me and they were going back and forth talking about me…

Sound like the beginnings of a spat over he said/she said gossip?

Nope – just another day of logging onto Facebook
and checking out your News or Mini-Feed.

Actually that was Alexis Cohan’s experience. The 18-year-old joined the online community a few months ago, as soon as she got her Temple e-mail.

“Yeah, I love it,” she said.

But that was until Facebook, a social networking Web site for high school and college students, went from being cool to, well, “creepy” – when it added its new News Feed and Mini-Feed features.

The new features allow users to view updates of what’s happening with their friends and also personal
news items.

In response to media inquiries about its facelift,
Facebook e-mailed “The Temple News” this statement: “The recent outpouring of feedback confirms the passion people feel for Facebook and its importance in their lives. …The response we have heard from many of our 9 million users has not been ignored.

“Facebook gives people control over their information. Consistent with that, we have engibneered new functionality that gives users additional controls in News Feed and Mini-Feed,” the statement continued.

On Sept. 8, Mark Zuckerberg, the site’s creator told users in an open letter: “We really messed this one up,” and thanked everyone who wrote in and created groups in protest of the site’s new features.

Despite that, Cohan, a film and media arts major, said she thinks the new setup is creepy.

“It just kind of freaks you out and I just think it’s unnecessary,” she said. She’s even joined the 9,000-member group ‘I hate the new Facebook
(Stalker) Layout.’
Anton Jarkowsky, 20, joined Facebook about a year ago “because most of the people that I knew from some of my local high schools were on it.”
He was reluctant to use the Web site, but said it has helped him keep in touch with his friends.

“I don’t know, you could say that it keeps you in touch with friends but really the way it keeps you in touch is kind of pointless. … It’s kind of a waste of time, but in some odd way, it’s addictive.”

But recently when he logged on, it got all “complicated, that I don’t even feel like dealing with it,” he said.

Yet, he said he’s not so put off by the site’s new features like many of his peers.

To Jarkowsky, the decision is simple. He compares it to his choices for lunch.

“There’s lunch trucks all over Temple; if you don’t like what one lunch truck serves, go to a different one,” he said.

“You complain about the product, but you’re subscribing to it, and it’s for free, so who are you to complain?” he asked. “If you don’t like it then leave.”

Will he be taking his own advice?

Yes. But not because he feels the site has become intrusive.
“Anything, I think, on that live-feed is something I think people could take a look at anyway. I’m not going to leave because I find it’s intrusive on my privacy,” Jarkowsky said.

Privacy rules have not changed since the site’s facelift.
“If I felt that, I wouldn’t have signed up to begin with,” he added.

Shayna Engle, a junior from Pottstown, Pa., isn’t a Facebook user, but empathizes with users who are unnerved
by the site’s new features. She said she’s glad that the site owners addressed users’ concerns immediately.

Still, she said she doesn’t think it’s a big issue, because it’s not about Facebook adding new features to its site.

The true issue is really about people “putting themselves up there in the first place.”

“If it’s a problem, then just don’t do it,” she said.

But for few on Main Campus, it’s not that easy. The benefits seem to outweigh this minor drawback. Vinit Vora, an entrepreneurship major from Mumbai, India, said he sees Facebook as an easier, low-cost form of communication.
Facebook, as a concept, he said, is so good that it has made many, like him, addicted.

When asked whether addiction was too strong of a word, Vora replied “no.” He logs on a few times a day and has about 65 friends on the network.

Though he may be “addicted” to Facebook, Vora said he was not happy with its new features.

“It’s not good – the entire concept of all the networks … now you get to know that A wrote on C’s wall, what C wrote on D’s wall and everyone comes to know.”

But Vora, like many others will not leave the Facebook, remaining among the site’s nine million users.

“I’ll stay on Facebook and expand my network of friends,” he said.

And he’ll be far from alone.

Charmie R. Snetter can be reached at charmie.snetter@temple.edu.

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