Facebookers yearn for glory days of social network

Ross Boettcher

During the life of college students, idle time on any day of the week may be used in a number of different ways.

For the ambitious, that time may be spent in the library hitting the books, or possibly at the gym getting the heart rate up.

Conversely, a vast majority of the college-going population is consuming a steady diet of time-wasting fun on the well-known social network Facebook.

But are wall posts, news feeds and quirky applications all Facebook can bring to the table? According to a recent study by information technology and security firm Sophos, some Facebook users are too quick on the trigger finger when it comes to accepting new friends.

Accepting strangers as friends on Facebook can lead to unfavorable situations, including unwanted attention and the misuse of personal information.

Jessica Kramer, junior in community and regional planning, has never been hassled or stalked via Facebook, but she’s aware that it goes on.

“I don’t put all of my personal stuff down because I just don’t trust it,” Kramer said. “But, yeah, I’ve heard of people getting stalked and whatever. I haven’t been, but people that I’ve talked to say that they do.”

Although Facebook does have some of the top privacy initiatives among social networks, users should keep in mind who can access their information.

In a document released to Facebook users on the site, statements are made to ensure the quality of the site’s security initiatives. Facebook has led the industry in giving people tools to control the information they share and with whom they choose to share it.

User privacy has always been a top priority for Facebook, resulting in the hiring of a chief privacy officer in September 2005. Facebook has worked with such organizations as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and WiredSafety. It is also TRUSTe certified, which is the world’s largest privacy seal distributor, according to its Web site.

Facebook users around campus are saying the social network needs to get back to its roots.

“I don’t like the new applications at all,” said David Funni, sophomore in mechanical engineering. “It all just seems really MySpace-y. In the beginning, it was just a place to make friends, talk to people and keep in touch with people that you’re not seeing as much.”

Funni isn’t the only Facebook member wishing the network would go back to the good old days. Brittany Halle, junior in apparel merchandising, design and production, feels some of the additions are all right, but that the original version was better.

“I think some of the applications are interesting, but I don’t like that you have to add or join the application to see what your friends are sending you,” Halle said. “I think Facebook is best used for staying in touch with friends, and connecting with everybody.”

According to statistics released by Facebook, membership has ballooned to more than 31 million users. For now at least, it seems that all of the applications and games of Facebook will remain a staple in social networking.