Uplift Blog

Online Privacy Is Making Headlines


Connecting to friends and family is an important part of everyone’s life. And doing so through social networks is easier than ever. But connecting with people close to you never included the idea that your messages and information might be made available and for sale to anyone and everyone.

This is where many of today’s social networks aren’t aligned with what people really need. Social networks, especially the ones like Facebook that are publicly owned by shareholders, are under a tremendous amount of pressure to earn money and boost their stock price — and, of course, the “product” they have to sell is your information.

People who use social networks do so to enhance their ability to connect to friends and family — not to connect to products and services (they can do that anywhere). For-profit social networks like Facebook and Instagram are driven by how they can get more information to sell to advertisers, third-party developers and so on. Your information.

How Instagram and Facebook Fumbled

The latest flap began in December with a change to the Instagram privacy policy. The popular photo-sharing/social networking service’s policy said that it owned the personal photos its users posted, and said they could sell those photos to third parties or use them in advertising without notifying or compensating users. According to some sources, 25 percent of Instagram users quit the service within a week — a number that was denied by Instagram and others.

Instagram says the policy was misunderstood and misinterpreted. However, I believe it does reveal their true long-term intent: to gather your information and turn it into a revenue stream. For example: Facebook has often disregarded their users’ privacy and been fined by the Federal Trade Commission.

CaringBridge Takes Your Privacy Very Seriously

Personally, I enjoy Facebook, and Instagram is great, too. Learning from their history of handling confidential information, we know how to treat people who trust CaringBridge: to protect their personal materials and respect their privacy needs.

That’s why CaringBridge makes the needs of people our top priority. Because for those who use our services every day and are staying connected with family and friends during a health experience, knowing that their information is not being used for other purposes means a lot to them. With that in mind:

  • We will never sell your information to an advertiser or other third party — a common practice on other sites.
  • No ads appear on CaringBridge Sites — they just don’t belong there.
  • You can select from three privacy levels on our sites:
  1. You can choose to allow anyone access to your site.
  2. You can require registration for people to enter.
  3. You can limit access only to people on an “invite” list you create.

We focus on creating a safe, protected experience for anyone using CaringBridge. You own everything you put onto one of our sites.

In fact, people’s needs drive every decision we make when we add new CaringBridge services or improve existing ones. Sure, this limits all the different ways we could make money, but we’re not here for shareholders (we have none). We’re here for you.

We invite you to examine the CaringBridge Privacy Policy now.

Read more about Instagram’s privacy issues.

We’d like to hear how you feel about online privacy. Please share your thoughts with us.

About the Author:

Sona Mehring is the founder and chief ambassador of CaringBridge, the nonprofit organization created in 1997 so people experiencing a health journey can rally their community during a time of need. People invite close family and friends to read about their journey through their own personal CaringBridge website. In return, family and friends can show their love and support by posting encouraging messages. Follow Sona on Twitter – @gogosona.


Comments are closed for this post.

3 Replies

  • By Cheryl

    I’m very glad I read this and can pass this information along to my sister and her husband who was just diagnosed with lung cancer that has spread to his pelvic bone and his brain. I was given the name of our website by our education director at church. Several of our members have used it. I am encouraging my brother-in-law to do this. It will make it easy for those who can’t be there all the time or are not near enough to stay supportive of him during this new and scary time. I am impressed by the service you provide and the privacy it affords families. I am so tired of families in crisis having their lives invaded by the media moments after the disaster happens. Your site is a breath of fresh air.

  • By Erv and Carol Gutknecht

    Hi Brady
    Erv and I are praying for you and yours. We hope everything is getting better for you each day more improvement.
    Always remember their are a lot of people thinking and praying for you. Love your whole families, Erv and Carol

    • By Sally D.

      Hi Erv and Carol,

      Your message looks like it may have been intended for Brady’s Guestbook. To add your message to the Guestbook:

      1. View the site.
      -Depending on the privacy level the family has chosen, you may be asked to log in or enter the site password.
      2. Click ‘Guestbook’ from the site’s main menu.
      3. Click ‘Sign My Guestbook.’
      -If not already logged in, you will be asked to log in here.
      4. Enter your message in the text editing box, and click ‘post.’

      Your message will be instantly added to the Guestbook for the website author and other visitors to read. If you have trouble entering your message, please contact us again.

      Sally- CaringBridge Customer Care