However... I've been a privacy analyst for nearly four years and Facebook shows no immediate symptoms of becoming the next MySpace... so it seemed prudent to acquire a second account, devoid of any useful personal data, purely to keep tabs on the site's policies and practices.
Honestly, no sarcasm here. I really did hold out hope that this was a legitimate, automated protection mechanism and I was being guided to a process that would be for my benefit.
Instead, I saw this:
And if you look at Step 2, Facebook would like a phone number. More specifically, they'd like me to give them my mobile number. Why? Well if you've been reading the news recently, it's because they'd like to provide that information to third parties.
Step 3: If all else fails, Facebook is willing to settle for the well-worn security questions... hopefully ones that don't rely on common information that others know, or could easily guess, as happened to Ms. Palin not long ago.
Nothing about this warning feels genuine. Honestly, it feels predatory. Facebook, if you're concerned about my account:
- Ask me to create better security questions.
- Prompt me to create a more complex alphanumeric password (preferably with upper and lowercase letters), and perhaps even to change it periodically.
- Guide me to the page that shows me how my profile page is viewable by the public, or logged-in users who are not my friends. Then, offer me a link at the bottom so I can edit it to my satisfaction.
But whatever you do, don't engage in fear-mongering as a way to extract additional contact and tracking information out of me, then try to assure me it's for my own protection.