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Yesterday Facebook announced (and began rolling out) its new service Places. Which is essentially a check-in service ala FourSquare, only built into Facebook.

Also, they oh so helpfully enabled it for you. (That was meant to be sarcastic – I’ll be posting later on about helpful ways to lock down your Facebook’s security). But for now, lifehacker has a great post about how to disable Facebook Places. (Just don’t forget to look at the Applications and Websites subsection)

As some might have noticed, I’ve gone to great care to not broadcast where I live. I do not actually live in Los Angeles. I live in the Greater Los Angeles Area, but I try not to say exactly where. If I mention shopping on Twitter, it’s usually as I’m leaving or when I’m home. Even then, it’s just the store name, and not the exact location. I don’t mind tweeting about vacations, as I live in a house with 5 other adults. As silly as it sounds, someone is always home. However, having not mentioned exactly where I live, I’m not exactly broadcasting a vulnerable location.

There is a method to my madness. I’m extremely uncomfortable about broadcasting where I am- not just for privacy’s sake, but because I have been stalked and obsessed over. And creepily, they didn’t involve the internet at all.

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Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

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I know, it seems ridiculous for me to say that I back internet anonymity when I blog under my maiden name and tweet with a derivation of it. Part of the reason that I use it for my blog is that it is my maiden name. I don’t have my address under this name, cell phones… or even anything that one could use to trace me prior to when I got married.

I use it for writing and artwork because it’s who I started off writing as. Thankfully now, it’s given me the opportunity to be able to separate my life as Mrs. TheBoy and Mommy from the Fabulous WhitneyD. Which is nice. I can tweet vaguely about my personal life without worrying that strangers might find my husband and know things about our life. (This is also why I don’t blog or tweet about anything that’s too personal)

In addition, I’ve been stalked in the past. The first time was in high school, there was a young man who was interested in me that went to great lengths to tell me of this. After I informed him that I was no interested, he made it very clear that he would be wherever I was, he would be there. And he was. It wasn’t a harmless crush, as the school and his mother said. At Disneyland, there were a few annual passholders that would figure out what my schedule was and would show up. (All but one of them was harmless. The other one, well, my managers went to lengths to keep him away from me and the other women he stalked in the park.)

These were things that all happened before the internet was readily available. My name wasn’t out there, with addresses and whatnot. If any one of those things happened today, it is entirely possible that they would be able to find out where I live, where I visit… not good at all.

So why am I bringing this up? I’ve already said that people should try to lock their Facebook account down as tightly as they can. Because Blizzard- who I paid plenty of money to playing “World of Warcraft” has announced that when it introduces its Cataclysm event, their forums will begin using the full names you registered your accounts with.

This is a problem. While it would eliminate people having multiple accounts with the sole purpose of promoting themselves online, it suddenly exposes real identities to trolls and internet bullies. It exposes the real name of that cute girl in the guild who goes by a pseudonym to keep the creeps at bay. Those geeky celebs who play Warcraft like Felicia Day or Mila Kunis? Don’t expect them to ever post on the forums in the future, or to stick around the game in general.

They seem to think that it’ll force people to behave responsibly if their name is attached to it, but honestly? People are jerks on Facebook under their own names. While yes, it will expose who the jerks really are- at the same time, all it’s going to do is make a lot of people think twice about participating in a discussion because they know that they could be putting themselves at risk of harrassment in the real world. And nobody plays Warcraft for that.

I admit, I miss the days that I wrote fanfiction under my pseudonym and blogged about every aspect of my life on LJ using that name because I knew that nobody would find me. It was freeing, that I could separate those aspects of my life. As much as I enjoy blogging here under my name, part of me misses that freedom. (I do occasionally write fanfiction, but it stays saved on my computer) However, I remember deleting email addresses (I’ve always used multiple ones to keep the creeps at bay) and changing screennames because of unwanted attention from people. And I have been grateful that at the most, they only knew that my name was Whitney and that I’m from CA. Hard to pick out the exact Whitney from that information.

If you happen to play a Blizzard game, have in the past, or plan to- please… please do your part and let them know that this is the wrong decision. It’s one thing to make a unified account that any game links to- it’s another to force everyone to do it under their real name.

Originally published at American Whitney. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

Just a couple days ago, I posted my thoughts on the latest Facebook changes. While I tackled the privacy issues first and foremost, there are other concerns. All my interest information is public- and there’s no way to opt out of that, other than to delete it entirely. Not only that, Facebook adjusted how my personal data is used with advertising as well as how it can interact with other sites. Rather than give the opportunity to set those controls manually, Facebook assume that I’d want to join their new program and let my friends share all my information with websites.

So when I saw that the NY Times had Facebook Executive Elliot Schrage (vice president for public policy) sit down for a Q&A session in which he’d answer questions that they’d selected from reader questions, I wanted to see how he’d respond.

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Originally published at The Wired Mom. You can comment here or there.

thesilversiren: (Default)

Dear Dad,

I’m sorry I introduced you to Facebook. No, I don’t mean it like that! While I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about family members who overshare, post embarrasing photos, you’ve been wonderful. Honestly, it isn’t you at all.

It’s Facebook. When I recommended that you join Facebook, it was because it was the top ranked social network. True, they did have a history of changing interfaces, but those are easy to get used to. True, they did say that anything you uploaded on Facebook would be their property for all time- but a lot of people complained, and they rolled that change back.

I thought they’d learn, but clearly Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t. He’s stated openly that he believes that privacy isn’t the way of the future. Even as they introduced privacy controls to allow users to decide who sees what statuses, they sneakily reset everyone’s privacy controls to default to allowing Everyone to see what you post.

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Originally published at The Wired Mom. You can comment here or there.

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July 2011

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