Facebook & Twitter Taking Hits From The Media!

Twitter users were finding their follower counts rolled back to zero Monday as the site worked to fix a bug. A Twitter spokesperson said “We’ve identified and resolved a bug that permitted a user to ‘force’ other users to follow them,” on its status blog. “We’re now working to rollback all abuse of the bug that took place. Follower/following numbers are currently at 0; we’re aware and this too should shortly be resolved.”

The glitch, which Twitter said had been addressed by early afternoon Eastern time, was letting people add other users to their list of followers without their consent. The follower counts appeared to have been restored about 2 p.m. ET.

Facebook has also been in the center of the media spotlight. Its new Open Graph system has drawn the ire of critics, and it had to rush to fix an embarrassing software glitch.

After a rough couple of weeks for Facebook that included threats of lawmaker scrutiny, complaints from consumer groups and embarrassing bugs in its software, members of the social networking site may be wondering whether it’s time to bail on Facebook altogether.

Should members stick with the world’s largest social network as it reaches critical mass and rethinks — once again — its position on how to treat users’ data? Or should they withhold that valuable personal information and quit the network until Facebook shows a little more respect for customer privacy?

A flaw that allowed users to see private chat conversations of friends showed up last Wednesday, and some tech media discovered that visiting certain websites while logged onto Facebook resulted in applications showing up in a user’s profile without their knowledge.

Company officials patched the chat bug on the same day it showed up and Facebook spokesperson Barry Schnitt stated publically that the bug depositing apps on user profiles had also been fixed.

“There was a bug that was showing applications on a user’s Applications Settings page that the user hadn’t authorized,” Schnitt said. “No information was shared with those applications, and the applications did not appear to anyone but the user.”

So what does this mean to you? Are you concerned about your private information on these networks? Many privacy advocates are but remember, Facebook can only give away information that you gave it in the first place, and according to a recent Consumer Reports study, we’re revealing far too much on social networks in general, and the consequences could be a lot worse than dealing with advertisements.

Nearly half of all social network users list their full birthdates online – prime information for data thieves, and 7 percent actually give their home address. A fifth don’t give a moment’s thought to the security of third-party Facebook applications, and almost a third of all users post pictures as well as the names of their kids, information child predators just can’t get enough of.

But what’s wrong with a little ID theft when you get to know every detail about an imaginary farm being run by some kid you knew in middle school, right?  By the way – Farmville has over 80 Million users – thankfully Facebook gives us a means to block updates from Farmville users.

Another area concerning Facebook users isn’t what some shady scam artist is doing with their data, but what Facebook itself is doing with it — spreading it around the Web to its advertising and business partners, unless the user digs through an interface to specifically tell it not to.

So what’s a person to do… Some industry observers are suggesting that we all rise up and quit Facebook until they get their act together – others are saying that Facebook is simply experiencing “growing pains” as have many other now successful technology companies.

In any case, it comes down to the fact that YOU have to do something. You can continue using these various Social Networks and turn a blind eye to the obvious privacy issues or better still, be just a little more conservative with the amount of personal data posted online for all-the-world to see. After all, you control the information posted to your account – so just.. control it.

If you Google “Facebook Security Problems” you’ll get 179,000,000 hits. Do the same for “Facebook Security Issues 2010” and there’s 246,000,000 results. Think there might be a couple of problems?

There are many reasons to give Facebook a chance to fix itself and not jump ship as well as an equal number of reasons to tell Facebook you’ve had enough and move on. Here’s a couple of links discussing 2 these topics – Google it.. you’ll find tons more

Top 10 Reasons You Should Quit Facebook

10 Reasons To Not Quit Facebook

I, for one, intend to hang on, control what I post and share, waiting to see where this whole Social Media thing ends up. What are you going to do? Let me know yout thoughts – post a comment.

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