I recently looked at a upgraded Ancestry.com app on my iPad and was surprised to see that the app asked for a link to Facebook.com. I decided to go for it and soon had my Ancestry.com family tree populated with people from my Facebook account. What I first noticed were the photos. Some of them were not exactly what I would want to include in my own family history. But then I began to notice that the relationships imputed by Ancestry.com were very strange. Very few of the relationship were at all accurate. I began to wonder what on earth this was supposed to accomplish?
Anyway, I then began to think about all the comments I have had over the past few years about PRIVACY and the hand-wringing over living people appearing in family trees. Believe me, in about 30 seconds Ancestry.com used Facebook to automatically add more than thirty living people to my online family tree. The only thing missing was Social Security Numbers. I am still in the mode of trying to figure out if there is anything I need to do about this situation?
I found living people that I know would be more than uncomfortable if they realized that this one tool has just put their entire family (with some random omissions) online for the world to see. One thought that does occur to me is that all the time people have spent doing descendancy studies for surname books could be immensely aided by this tool but privacy is really out the window.
If you think about this for a minute. Most of those people voluntarily put themselves on Facebook.com and then Ancestry.com has all of the current U.S. Public Records Index to fill in any missing information about the living people. What is interesting is the number of details that can or could be added from Facebook.com. I also thought it was interesting if the people who are so anxious to share their daily lives on Facebook.com understand the consequences of their posts?
Think about it.