CIO.com reported last week that Facebook's revamped Groups service has privacy advocates concerned.
(And? When has a Facebook release not aroused concern from privacy advocates? The latter would be a bigger story. But I digress.)
Once again the problem stems from the auto opt-in that's set as the default for Facebook Groups. Users can add their friends to groups without their friends' knowledge, let alone their permission. Take for example the prank TechCrunch's Michael Arrington played on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Because Zuckerberg is Arrington's Facebook friend, Arrington was able to add Zuckerberg to a North American Man/Boy Love Association group without giving Zuckerberg a heads-up first.
According to Arrington, Zuckerberg unsubscribed from the group, which simultaneously rendered Arrington unable to add him to any other groups. Interestingly, though, a Facebook spokesperson recommended more drastic action in the CIO.com story. She wrote:
If you have a friend that is adding you to groups you do not want to belong to, or they are behaving in a way that bothers you, you can tell them to stop doing it, block them or remove them as a friend-and they will no longer ever have the ability to add you to any group.
That's why it's easy to leave groups.
How about making it even easier on users and not grouping them unless they approve of the idea beforehand?