The folks at Facebook are notoriously proud
of the granular levels of privacy their system allows, such that you can pick and choose what you share with different people. Apparently, all of that is meaningless to a judge in Ontario, who has decided that if you use Facebook at all, your profile can be used against you in a civil court case
, even if you set it to private. The judge's reasoning is quite troubling:
a court can infer from the social networking purpose of Facebook, and the applications it offers to users such as the posting of photographs, that users intend to take advantage of Facebook's applications to make personal information available to others. From the general evidence about Facebook filed on this motion it is clear that Facebook is not used as a means by which account holders carry on monologues with themselves; it is a device by which users share with others information about who they are, what they like, what they do, and where they go, in varying degrees of detail. Facebook profiles are not designed to function as diaries; they enable users to construct personal networks or communities of "friends" with whom they can share information about themselves, and on which "friends" can post information about the user.
That's sort of true. It is for sharing content with others... but the very point is that you get to choose
who those others will be. So, even if it's not exactly like a diary, it could be considered a diary that is just shared with a select group of individuals. Just because I share something secret with one other person, does not mean I automatically have consented to have that information shared with everyone. I wonder if this means that all of the judge's correspondences with others should be opened to the public. After all, the judge is obviously not conducting a monologue with himself, but uses things like email or letters or phone calls to share information with others.