Facebook has been all that and then some, but privacy issues can still kill this techno giant. Those geeks (like me) who are early adopters have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. We remember My Space. Is anyone using My Space any more? It didn’t feel right. We had problems posting stuff from your blog to My Space. Facebook didn’t have those problems. Facebook was easy to use from the start. We told our friends and they loved it. Then, without warning, Facebook sold our information to advertisers. Really? They sold our information without telling us. Now, ahead of the big, huge, mega-IPO, Facebook is changing their privacy policy, again.

I don’t know. Facebook may be fine. Then again, I remember Sears being a huge store in every city in the US when I was growing up. Now they are on life-support. Even the mighty Facebook can fall. Hell, look at Microsoft. They were the biggest and the baddest company anywhere on the planet. Not any more. Google is faster and smarter and kicking their butts at every turn. If Facebook upsets tons of customers, there are plenty of social media web sites looking to get some play. Privacy is serious business. Facebook needs to get this right. (Oh, btw, an $18 Billion IPO for Facebook is crazy. Remember the tech bubble when AOL’s value was pushed so high that they were able to buy Time-Warner. This IPO is that crazy.)

From PC Mag:

1. Some data is always visible: your name, profile picture, Timeline cover photo, network, gender, and username are always visible to all Facebook users. However only “Public” profiles (the default option) are listed in search engines; click into Privacy Settings/Applications and Websites/Edit Your Settings to tweak this.

2. Careful what you write: Your messages are never deleted, not even when you delete your account. This is because they are stored separately from your account, since other people see your messages. They will continue seeing messages that include you even after you’ve deleted your account—standard stuff for any messaging platform, but something to be aware of.

3. Facebook notes your “Likes” and brands mentioned in posts: Facebook trawls your posts for brands, which may lump you into a target category that is sold to advertisers of that category. Facebook gave the following example: if you ‘like’ Pages that are car-related and mention a particular car brand in a post, Facebook might put you in the ‘potential car buyer’ category and let a car brand target to that group, which would include you.

4. Post no evil: Facebook may intervene if your post suggests you are going to harm yourself or harm others. Previously, it only shared information suggesting fraud and other illegal activity, or threats to Facebook itself. (more…)