by Bill Forman
Earlier this week, Forbes columnist Kashmir Hill wrote about legal battles surrounding the posts of Facebook users who take advantage of the service's recently tightened privacy settings.
Turns out a New York judge insisted Facebook is required to turn over subpoenaed posts, which can then be used as evidence in court.
A California judge, meanwhile, argued the opposite: While postings to a Facebook wall that's set to "Everyone" are admissible in court, those that are marked private are not.
Of course, most folks aren't likely to have their electronic communications dragged into court, but there are still less drastic reasons to be wary of what personal information you have rolling around the internet.
Wired UK editor David Rowan came up with a few of the better ones last week in article called Six Reasons I'm Not on Facebook.
Here's the one I found most interesting:
5) People screw up, and give away more than they realise
To understand how much personal information Facebook users are inadvertently sharing, visit youropenbook.org and search for phrases such as “cheated on my wife” or “my new mobile number is” or “feeling horny“. I’ll bet that most of the people whose intimate details you’ll get to read are unaware that their updates are being shared quite so openly. Have they genuinely given Zuckerberg their informed consent?
In the spirt of journalist inquiry, I paid a visit to youropenbook.org, and here's a few of the latest results. On the site itself, they're accompanied by profile names and pictures.
Just to warn you, while these could be of particular interest to divorce lawyers and even law officials, the following diatribes might be unsettling for the rest of us:
"I just want to let everyone know i am married!!!! i cheated on my wife and ii am sorry!!!!! For the women I cheated with I am ashamed that I ever had anything to do with you!!!!!!! Now that I look back u r the uglyest thing I have ever lied eyes on and disgusting it makes me sick to think I lowered myself and disgraced my wife!! To my beatiful wife please forgive me & take me back"
"My wife used to sit on my lap and I would sing this to her. We spent so many long loving moment together you would think she would know my heart. I have never hurt my wife out of anger, never placed my hands on her with any intent to inflict harm. I would give my dieing breath to protect her and my children. My wife says I hurt and wants everyone to belive I am a monster. Maybe I am but tell me this how does a man the bench presses 4..."
"THEE LOCK CHAIN IT IS SECURED BY WHAT ONLY A BOLT CUTTER CAN TAKE OUT I REALLY AM VERY WORRIED ABOUT ALL OF THEM NONE ARE HERE SO NONE ARE TRULY SORRY NO MEN GET OUT OF JAIL EVER THEE WOMEN WHO WENT TO JAIL ALL CHOSE THERE LIVES BUT THEY AINT SUITABLE FOR ME IF THEY OUT STILL SLEEPING WITH OTHWER GUYS ONE OF MY BLESSINGS IS THIS GOD SAID I COULD KILL FREELY IT ALSO MEANT THEE WIFE IF SHE CHEATED ON ME GOD SAYS SO"
Me, I think I'll just stick with Twitter.