Google+ Faces First Privacy Problem

Lora Bentley

As Mobiledia reports, within 24 hours of the Google+ beta launch, users uncovered a privacy flaw. A user's friend could inadvertently share the user's photos "across the Internet" even when the user only intended them to be shared with a small "circle" of friends, family or coworkers. Writer Matthew Calamia explains:

Users can prevent the glitch by disabling the reshare option in a drop-down menu, but first-time users may not know this option exists. Google+ doesn't offer an option to disable the feature entirely, and once the photo is in cyber-space, there is no way to get it back.

Essentially, the search giant's first serious attempt to compete with Facebook at Facebook's game is facing the same huge obstacle that Facebook has been battling for years: finding the trick to successfully balancing the need for privacy with the benefits that come with "sharing" everything with everyone on the network. Facebook hasn't managed it yet, though the company is doing more to work with regulators and lawmakers on privacy. If Google can't at least catch up to Facebook where privacy is concerned, and if its privacy settings aren't easier to understand and use, I don't see how Google+ will survive any longer than Buzz did.



On the other hand, though, Facebook doesn't seem to be taking any chances. In a move Business Insider calls "passive-aggressive," the social networking site blocked a Chrome extension called "Facebook Friends Exporter" that is designed to pull a user's Facebook friends directly into his or her Google+ profile. Writer Dylan Love says Facebook is either threatened by the new social network or is making a noble effort to protect its users' information.


Since when has Facebook protected user information? If that's the motive, it'll be the first time Zuckerberg and company have done so without the prompting of privacy regulators.

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