New Facebook app will let you (and everybody else) know if you have an STD!

There are a few things I don't necessarily want to know about my Facebook friends: what TV show they're watching right now, how hungover they are at this very moment and whether or not they have an STD status (unless, ya know, we're more than friends). But a new Facebook application is coming that will let you in on the sexual health of your "friends".

A group of researchers is working on an app that would use the social media network Facebook in order to help prevent the spread of STDs such as HIV and syphilis. While their goal is noble and, ideally, the app would let you alert only a small private circle of friends/partners when you've caught an infection (or visa versa), what are the chances that this information will be 100% kept private?


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I'm not saying that this method wouldn't be effective. I would certainly want a former partner to tell me if he had caught something so that I could get tested if I need to be. Some states make it mandatory to notify partners if you've tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease or infection, and I think it's important for people to be informed about their bodies. But do I want that information to made public on a social media site? Um, not really.

The creators of the app will undoubtedly try to do what they can to block those that you didn't mean to alert from seeing the new status, but how effective can these privacy controls really be? With the information out there, someone that you don't want to see is bound to find it. Maybe it'll be your old college professor. Maybe it'll be your current boss. Or maybe (gulp) it'll be your mom, who was just trying to find that photo of you from Christmas last year.

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Innocently or not, I just don't know how this new app will benefit the greater good. Yes, stopping the spread of STDs will undoubtedly benefit many people but how many will be stigmatized when the information leaks? How many will not get a date because someone googled their Facebook page and found out that they once had an STI? Maybe I'm old fashioned, but some private things need to stay private—or at least can be revealed through the privacy of a phone call or email instead of on the Internet, where anyone can find it.

Would you tell your Facebook friends if you had an STD?

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