Why Google+’s grass is looking greener every day

Facebook gets away with a lot because we are just so used to it screwing up our privacy settings and it’s not the first company to share our info but at least we like using its service (unlike banks, for instance).

But two experiences I had today – yes, In just one day – have me very offside.

1. My mobile’s phonebook appearing online.

I didn’t really pay attention to this until I saw it pointed out that Facebook has accessed my mobile phone – without asking.

A list of all our friends’ and associates’ cell phones is now online. This has been possible before but we have never had an organisation go and pilfer it unrequested.

Facebook revealing my phone's contacts

http://www.facebook.com/friends/edit/?sk=phonebook

The dilemma we should all have with this is that not just our own privacy has been breached but our friends’ and family’s too.

If my Facebook account is ever hacked – and let’s be honest, most of us use our passwords in more than one place and it doesn’t look like this “jhsdy8643kh4k4” – then the hacker now has access to not just my personal details but all my friend’s. There is no White Pages for mobile numbers, so all these phone numbers could immediately be sold to spammers and telemarketers and so on.

It’s dire.

And oh look.. since I started writing this, an Iain Wood in Newcstle, UK, was found to have hacked the bank accounts of his friends and neighbours using their Facebook accounts.

“He would make friends with people on Facebook and have their usernames he would try it on the bank websites, on the basis people use the same passwords. (Read more – Fraudster used Facebook to hack bank accounts – Telegraph http://j.mp/o8Qkr8 )

2. Photo tagging – by corporations
Secondly, I am no fan of Facebook photo-tagging but brand using it to ensnare new fans is a painful new development.

Yesterday I received copious emails that people were commenting on a Ekka photo.

I was baffled. I barely know what Ekka is. (Ekka is a country-comes-to-the-city festival in Brisbane.)

Turns out that Ekka, via its Facebook page, was encouraging people to tag themselves AND THEIR FRIENDS on a photo they put up to enter a competition.

Sorting this out took about as long as throwing out junk mail I get on my letter box. But for that, I can put up a sticker NO JUNK MAIL. For my emails I have a spam filter. For telemarketers the government provided donotcall.gov.au

But I am inside Facebook’s forcefield.

I didn’t give them much. I don’t even use my own name. I post to limited groups. But it doesn’t matter.

As they court brands and advertisers, they can bypass my futile efforts and even use my ‘Friends’ to get to me.

It is awfully close to the last straw for me.

Google+ may be no better in the long run, but right now, Google’s grass is looking much greener.

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