Lesson Learned the Hard Way: Do NOT Upload your Contacts to Facebook!
Actually, now that I'm reading that, it seems like something quite obvious. Why, in the world, you might ask, would anyone upload their e-mail contacts to any social network?! Well, let me tell you my story.
You see, Facebook has a feature that is part of the sign-up process, and available at any time in the right side-bar of the home page, called "Find your Friends." This feature is a shortcut, which allows Facebook to search your e-mail contacts list to see if any of your e-mail contacts are on Facebook. At one time (when I first started with Facebook a few years ago), there was a note on the feature that Facebook did not store your contacts. Well, Facebook's policy has changed, and it is not only storing the contacts, but using them.
Using them for what, you might ask? Well, we don't know the full extent of what they plan to do with the contacts, but here's one example.
Facebook has another nifty little feature called "Suggest Friends." In the past, this was a feature you could use to help your mutual friends find each other. You had complete control over the friend suggestions you made. Not anymore. Facebook is now automatically scanning the e-mail contacts you uploaded and scanning your friends, list and (at it's discretion and without your knowledg), is sending friend suggestions that appear to be from you to your e-mail contacts and Facebook friends.
Do you have friends in your e-mail contacts and on Facebook from several different parts of your past and current life? Do you want all of these people to become friends and talk to each other? For that matter, do you want all of these people to receive messages from you without your permission?
This is what has happened to me. I'm starting to get confirmations and questions from curious friends, now, about friend suggestions that I have supposedly sent. Friends from high school and college are getting friend requests from me that were sent without my knowlege to current friends. The only connection between these people is that they're in my e-mail address book. Some are more embarrassing than others, and I'll probably never know about the ones that people had the kindness to just "ignore."
If you do not this to happen to you, here's what you need to. First, don't let Facebook scan your e-mail address list. If it's too late for that - Log in to Facebook, then go HERE, and request Facebook to "remove" your contacts from it's system.
Also see: Facebook is now automatically generating friend suggestions from you.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.