The Rise of the Neo-Luddites and Facebook’s Privacy Issues — Again

 For many people, rather than being a boon to conversation, spending time with social media is a time such that removes them from their actual lives.  While I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a trend, there is a definite social media backlash going on. Lilly Allen, for instance, in signing off of Twitter, said that she was a “neo-Luddite.”   USA Today looks at several people and the reasons that they backed out of constantly updating their status. Of perhaps more interest in this article is the cottage industry growing up around getting rid of the personal information that you have on the web when you want to get off.  Web 2.0 Suicide Machine and Seppukoo are two companies that are in this space – the latter has been disabled by Facebook, which blocked the company’s servers (as well as those of another web detangler, Moddr), and sent cease-and-desist notices.  Facebook insists that users can deactivate their accounts completely.

But Facebook has been having its own problems, ever since it changed its privacy settings so that the default is that everybody can see everything.  Most recently, the company was hit with two class action lawsuits, brought on behalf of users. The complaints state that Facebook has violated the privacy rights of its users, “, misappropriated their personal information, and converted that information for commercial use by means of materially deceptive conduct.” There have been numerous complaints about the complexity of changing the new privacy settings, and a great deal of griping about the fact that some of those settings are invisible to consumers. Says MediaPost, “The consumers in the most recent lawsuits allege that Facebook’s new settings violate California’s business code as well as their ‘right of publicity,’ or right to control the commercial use of their images, according to Facebook’s papers.”

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