Facebook has gone Big Brother.More than one year ago, before you could add photo albums to Facebook and tag images of your friends, before you could change your status to let the entire Internet world know when you were “in class” or “eating a sandwich,” professors were calling the online phenomenon “Stalker.com.”
Students dismissed such warnings and remained loyal to the global communication network, and now Facebook has gone too far.
More than 24 hours ago, Facebook adopted a new format. Now, a Facebook member’s homepage is completely covered with “news” about everyone that particular user is connected to through the network.
Instead of just supplying a method for potential compulsive stalking, Facebook now actively encourages it. Even the most well-intended Facebookers are inundated the moment they login with accurate-to-the-minute updates of their “friends'” activities. Because many Facebookers accept friendship requests from people they hardly know, individuals they met once in passing can discover what parties they will be attending Friday night or how recently their last relationships ended.
Students should not be able to know that their high school acquaintances broke up with their girlfriends an hour ago. That information is personal and should not be broadcast all over the Internet like celebrity gossip.
While Facebook may have originated as an innocent way to keep up with friends, it has now, for 18 to 25-year-olds at least, taken over the World Wide Web.
There are already 45 Facebook groups expressing dislike for the dramatic changes in Facebook’s format. But the worst part is, despite sorry excuses for protests, people still willingly supply Facebook with bounds of personal information about our friends and ourselves.
While many have been creeped out by Facebook’s past progress, people maintain their accounts for fear that if they delete them, they will be cut off from the entire social circuit.
But be careful. Facebook is watching you.
Opinion editor Jordan Cohen for the editorial board