Social media: privacy and implied permission

Occasionaly I receive notification that someone has started following me on Twitter or has befriended me on some other social media service; but on visiting their profile I find that their updates are protected and I need to request permission to see them.

While I accept that people may want to keep their updates private I don’t understand the rationale behind it. Why would you want to join a microblogging service like Twitter, yet not make what you’re publishing public? If you’re using it to broadcast something not quite legal, why draw attention to yourself by creating a profile at all? If you’re simply paranoid about privacy, then perhaps you should reconsider your involvement in social media and stick to something more private, like e-mail.

The point I want to make relates to not being able to see updates from someone that has followed or befriended me. My feelings are that the act of you following or befriending me should implicitly, and automatically, grant me the rights to follow or befriend you without me needing to ask you for additional permission to do so.

3 responses to “Social media: privacy and implied permission

  1. Completely agree.

    Unlike your reasoned, adult approach though, I have to admit to just a tiny, white-hot flare of WTF?? when confronted with the above situation.


    • Oh, I get that too; but remember it isn’t the person’s fault, it’s the services’ faults. They should either not allow private streams at all, or at least automatically assign the followee rights to the followers stream to allow reciprocation.

  2. Yup, some people prefer to use Twitter amongst a closed group of friends for keeping in touch and would prefer their stream to be private.

    You’re right though – the problem lies in the service. Twitter should do something similar to what Facebook does. When someone who’s profile is normally private (only friends can see them) if they send you a friend request or a (sic) poke then you can see their profile (limited though) details for a short period of time.

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