How Facebook Privacy Should Work

Posted By Debbie on March 21, 2014

Maybe I’m just a power user on the end of a bell curve, but I think Facebook privacy has a long way to go. Here are some of my suggestions for Facebook.

Block Anybody and Block By Email Address

Right now, if Person X blocked you on Facebook, you can’t see them to block them. And you might REALLY want to block them. If they unblock you, you won’t know it. They might read or comment on your public stuff. You will be damn surprised. And by the time you go to do something about that, they’ll have blocked you again. This means we need Facebook to let us block people, even if they have blocked us.

And I’d like to block by email address. I may not know what real or fake name someone is using on Facebook. But I may have an email address that matches an email address Facebook knows. Let me block those people so that whatever name or account they create, Facebook knows I don’t want them seeing me ever. Period.

Heck, blocking by domain would be great. What if someone I deeply distrust has his or her own domain. He could create endless email addresses there. I’d have a hard time knowing them to block them. I’d love to tell Facebook anybody with an email should be blocked.

Blocking By Specific Targeting

Let’s say I have some really bad exes (I do!). Let’s say I want nothing to do with anybody from their world. And I don’t know enough names to keep blocking them all. I would love to be able to tell Facebook that anybody who is friends with Person X (or a certain email address) AND isn’t friends with me is auto-blocked. That way, as he adds new friends, I have them blocked. If he makes a dummy account and friends himself, which I can see at least one of them doing, he’d be blocked.

And if my Block By Email Address were in place, I could also block an ex by knowing the email address of a couple of people in his circle. I could tell Facebook to block anybody friends with his best friend… or Mom… or sister. That’s then likely to include him no matter what name or email he used to sign up.

I’d also like to block by Page or Group. I know a few groups that really attract some crazies. A few FB pages too. I’d love to tell Facebook that if someone is in that group or likes that page and isn’t already my friend, block them all.

Apps Getting My Info MUST Be Double Opt In

Right now, if a friend of mine approves a Facebook app that grabs her friends list and friends’ info, I have no idea that’s happened. I had no say. I may not have approved that. And there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

Before some “Hot YouTube Videos” app is grabbing my name so it can send my friend fake emails from my name (which might look real to her and fool her more than the typical spam), we should BOTH have opted in and approved that app. If we BOTH did, then we got what we deserved. But I would like to see Facebook apps not able to access ANYTHING about me unless I approved them. Sounds so logical, right? Yet, it’s not how it works.

You might say that poops on the whole idea of the graph. I don’t care. This is about privacy, control, and my info, and I didn’t opt in to anything about me being given out.

Let Me Use My Last Initial

I’d like to be Debbie L. That would be harder for people to find me. My not-that-common last name wouldn’t be given out because my friends approved an app for this sick little girl who needs your likes. Facebook won’t let me do that. So while people are named “NoLastName” and other weird things to get around this, I just say Facebook, let us use a last initial.

Block By IP and Other Matching Data

When eBay suspends a member, their policy is that they don’t want you back under any name. They often suspend other accounts they think are yours or connected to you. And if you try to come back and they put 2 and 2 together, that new account will be suspended too.

Facebook should be that smart. If I have blocked Person X but he closes his Facebook account and opens another with some other name and email, Facebook should be as smart as eBay. They should be able to say with reasonable certainty that it seems to be the same guy. We should pre-emptively block this account too for Debbie.

Friends of Friends Are Strangers. Keep Them Out.

Facebook will show some things I post to Friends of Friends. Facebook should realise that my friends’ friends are strangers to me. I don’t know or trust these people. In fact, I have plenty of friends who add ANYBODY that sends them a friend request. That means some of my “semi-private” stuff is now being shown to scammy strangers. Facebook needs to be smarter and keep things from people who aren’t my friends.

Better Removal Of Fake and Scammer Accounts

I’m tired of getting messages and friend requests from accounts that are clearly fake. If I can look at them and know they’re fake, Facebook has to have an automatic way to weed these out. But of course, that would skew their advertising numbers since some of the fake accounts are there to click on ads and like pages, not to spam me. So many scams. Facebook should care and do more, and blog posts I read keep saying they won’t.

These are just a few ideas that I think would really help with privacy.