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EPIC Files FTC Complaint Over Facebook's New Privacy Policy

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the epic-complaint-totally dept.

Privacy 103

An anonymous reader writes "The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) today filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, asking the agency to investigate the recent changes made by Facebook to the privacy settings of Facebook users. The complaint discusses the sharing of user information with third-party developers and the new, widely-opposed 'Everyone' setting, which allows certain user information, such as name, profile picture, and friends lists, to be publicly available. EPIC also urges the FTC to compel Facebook to restore privacy safeguards. The complaint was signed by nine privacy and consumer organizations."

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103 comments

Oh teh Noes! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479726)

My privacies are slipping away! Paedophiles and murderers will now know where I live! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SOMEBODY STOP THEM

Re:Oh teh Noes! (2, Interesting)

dlanod (979538) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479916)

I honestly don't get why third parties would be getting involved in it. Sure, the privacy settings might not be to everyone's wishes but third parties complaining to the government to get them to interfere is just layering stupidity on top of stupidity.

Re:Oh teh Noes! (3, Interesting)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480708)

Because, let's be honest, people are too stupid for their own good.

Most people couldn't foresee this move (of course many /.ers did) so we have to sue and regulate on their behalf. Maybe they shouldn't even be allowed to vote, voting should require an IQ test, and a proficiency test in politics and public matters, throw in commerce too.

Or maybe not, I'm exaggerating, but really, what is the logic in not letting people smoke whatever they want but allowing them to sell their life in facebook? On many states prostitution and gambling are banned, adulthood for drinking and sex is based on an arbitrary number with no analysis supporting it and we don't even let people build their homes however they want, we don't even let people eat wherever they want regardless of the hygiene of the places they go.

But not on facebook, on facebook we are to believe every user is intelligent, informed and fully aware of the consequences of their actions.

Re:Oh teh Noes! (2, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480902)

The difference between the strawmen that you've thrown up and Facebook is that unlike homes and eateries, people can do without Facebook. As a society we have to develop health codes so that we can continue to live together and not all die of disease. The same thing goes with building codes. We can't have our neighbors building unstable structures that will collapse... or running gas pipes that will leak and explode... or water pipes that will burst and flood the neighborhood.

On the other hand, you can turn off your computer right now and never see Facebook again and your neighbors won't care. Your city won't be any worse off without Facebook.

Facebook and the various third parties involved with it and similar sites are simply marketers who have moved onto the next thing. Junk mail doesn't work. Telemarketing doesn't work. Yet all sorts of people are freely sharing information on the internet and that is where the marketing is being focused. "There is no such thing as a free lunch." still holds true on the internet. What right does anyone have to believe that a company like Facebook won't monetize their investment? Facebook didn't materialize out of nowhere simply so that people could have a convenient way to stay in touch with their friends and play free games. Those games aren't free. The servers that run the service and the internet connections that make the service accessible cost money. That money will be recouped somehow.

Re:Oh teh Noes! (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481738)

Too much of a wimp to say it eh ?

Unlike prostitution and gambling, people can do without Facebook.

Homes and eateries are just places you go when you run out of money enjoying the former activities.

Re:Oh teh Noes! (3, Insightful)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481760)

I'll grant the point about construction codes because of the gas pipes although as a IT person it sounds like securing a network WAN by controlling every node what kind of boggled architecture is that?

But I don't buy it about restaurants, nothing should prevent clients to get into the kitchen and asses for themselves the quality of the food, further more that says nothing about prohibitions on gambling, prostitution, marijuana, crack, heroine, cocaine, etc. And not only are many things prohibited to under-aged people, the states prevents me from supplying them with alcohol or the like, effectively telling me how I can raise my children.

I'm not saying this things are good, what I'm saying is that we do accept having the government tell us what we can't do for our own good, so there is nothing funtamentaly wrong about a non profit suing facebook and having the government enforce better privacy controls.

facebook is not a startup in some kid's garage. it's a huge billionaire corporation, it collects more information than the NSA for the FSM's sake! Let the government regulate the hell out of it.

Re:Oh teh Noes! (2, Interesting)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482844)

nothing should prevent clients to get into the kitchen and asses for themselves the quality of the food

Keep your dirty, coughing, sneezing, unwashed masses out of the kitchens, you biohazard.

Re:Oh teh Noes! (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483606)

clients to get into the kitchen and asses for themselves the quality of the food

I'm no doctor; I have no idea what the "recommended temperature" is for e.g. a hamburger (equivalent to well done I think?). I have no idea how to tell whether a given piece of food is safe to eat (there are some obvious signs for "no, it's not remotely safe", but nothing to indicate "yes, it is safe").

Re:Oh teh Noes! (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483938)

So it's much better than the government tells you? And doesn't just tell you forces you to follow their opinions on the risk/reward by not allowing a restaurant to serve things they deem unsafe.

As opposed to say being able to get a report from any of many competing restaurant rating providers who just tell you their opinion on the risk/reward, leaving you free to do what you want.

Re:Oh teh Noes! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486368)

...we don't even let people eat wherever they want regardless of the hygiene of the places they go.

That's not quite accurate. You CAN eat anywhere you want. You're fighting for a restaraunt owner's "right" to sell me poison food. I have no way of knowing how clean or filthy an establishment's kitchen is. If you're going to have the right to sell me a hamburger with e-coli on it, then I want the right to burn your restaraunt down when I can get off the toilet long enough.

Re:Oh teh Noes! (2, Insightful)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481758)

I disagree. With as much personal identification as Facebook has, they should be taking a cautionary, responsible approach with how that information is collected, shared, used, and deleted.

If they can't, then, yes, they need oversight.

Re:Oh teh Noes! (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483954)

Facebook doesn't have any information that the users haven't entered of their own free will.

Yes changing privacy behind the user's back is a bad move and one would hope would be against the terms of service - if it isn't then sure it's not nice but that's what the user agreed to. If it is against the TOS then the users can chase up facebook about it themselves.

Re:Oh teh Noes! (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30484184)

Ha. You think the ToS grants ANY benefits to users?

The point isn't that it's information people gave willingly, it's that there's a lot and, altogether, paints a much clearer picture of their lives. I know, I know. This is where stalkers, exs, black helicopters, marketers, fundamentalist christian bosses, and boogie-men are trotted out but there evidence of such abuses.

Now, I don't mean to make it all nanny state. If someone wants to post this stuff, that's their call. If a social networking company rolls their dice and everything goes their way and everyone flocks to them, that puts everyone's information under THEIR control. Their control, their responsibility. Default settings should be strict privacy and there should be clear, coherent, and concise statements about what they do with all the data they have. If people leave in droves after being explain of these things, then the company probably isn't acting in their interests.

Re:Oh teh Noes! (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#30488634)

I doubt the TOS includes anything favourable to the user, but then it's the user's fault for uploading any data they didn't want facebook to do anything they felt like doing with (like making it public).

Default settings should be whatever the hell facebook wants them to be. Again users don't have to use the stupid site.

Facebook has never been private (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479728)

They just maintain an illusion of privacy, that's all.

Re:Facebook has never been private (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479774)

Pretty much. Any idiot that thinks that anything on the internet is "safe" from penetration is an idiot that shouldn't have their information on the 'tubes.

Re:Facebook has never been private (1, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480324)

Any idiot that thinks that anything on the internet is "safe" from penetration is an idiot that shouldn't have their information on the 'tubes.

Any idiot that thinks that anything on the internet is "safe" from penetration is an idiot that hasn't heard of rule 34.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Facebook has never been private (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30480920)

I actually had to look that up. Thanks for ruining my dinner. :P

Re:Facebook has never been private (1, Interesting)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482612)

True enough but I think there is also a lot of needless hype going on. They tweaked a few previously protected settings so that they went from private to public, for this they should get a slap upside the head, but it's not like you can't hide it all again. You can still lock down your profile just as much as you ever could.

Re:Facebook has never been private (2, Insightful)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483612)

No, some information is IIRC forced public (like your name and picture).

Prediction (4, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479792)

Prediction: In response to these new privacy concerns, Facebook will change their privacy policy, tightening up security over the information people are concerned about. At the same time, they will loosen security over other information, starting a new wave of complaints.

Let's be real - this is, what, the fourth or fifth time this sort of thing has happened and every time it does, Facebook changes their policy by tightening "here" while loosening "there". This will be no different.

Re:Prediction (2, Insightful)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479938)

True, but arnt all social networking sites about exposing your privacy online anyway?

Re:Prediction (2, Insightful)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481290)

Wish I had some mod points for this one. The whole premise of a "social network" is that 3rd party friends can connect... Eventually everyone is connected to everyone, especially Kevin Bacon.

Re:Prediction (2, Insightful)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481520)

This is essentially why I closed my facebook account. Yes, facebook is an efficient way to keep up with friends but facebook has an inexorable interest in creating "network" connections.

Re:Prediction (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480642)

Not really. If you do post something as everything it has a popup telling you very clearly that it will be visible to the entire internet. The people complaining about it here are just idiots poking their nose where it isnt needed/wanted.

their page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479826)

Feel free to confirm their fears by visiting their facebook page

aw man! (4, Funny)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479834)

i was going to release my site, ssnbook.com, where users could enter and exchange thier social security numbers. Now i'm worried someone to will file a complaint with the FTC against me :(

Re:aw man! (4, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480062)

I was trying to do the same sort of thing with assbook.com where users can exchange photos of their asses. I'm guessing the FTC won't give a shit.

Re:aw man! (1)

d474 (695126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480386)

I was trying to do the same sort of thing with assbook.com where users can exchange photos of their asses.

This website is brought toyou by "Booty Sweat!" energy drink!

Re:aw man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30480880)

I just hope the FTC doesn't give a rat's ass.

Decisions, decisions. (1)

Manos_Of_Fate (1092793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479844)

Let's see, we can either sue somebody, or use the helpful selection screen to change our privacy settings back to the way they were.
Lawsuit it is!

Friends list (3, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479874)

Please tell me how I can make it so that my name, profile picture, and friends list would not be publicly available (short of quitting facebook).

kthnxbye

Re:Friends list (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30480978)

You are a dumbass. If your name is not publicly available then no on can search for you so you might as well not have an account, unless you are only requesting other people. Derrr. As for your friends list, there isn't a way, and there never was, even before these changes.

Re:Friends list (0, Flamebait)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481788)

So why exactly did you sign up in the first place ? Having an AC account on Facebook seems kind of pointless ... and by that I mean even more pointless than the whole premise of knowing when your cousin last took a dump (some people post their entire daily routine online), or when your auntie last fed her virtual fish or cooking in her virtual cafe.

Re:Friends list (3, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30489300)

As I've posted many times, I think it's a bit absurd to expect info you put on FB to be private in anything more than a "lock to keep your siblings out of your diary" sense. However, I do get sick of them making changes that loosen the privacy settings of existing users who probably had things set the way they wanted them for a reason.

And more on point, I'm tired of people making demonstrably false arguments, even if they are trying to support arguably reasonable conclusions, which brings me to parent's post.

Facebook is useless unless you publish your picture and friends list to everyone? Not seeing that one. I never published my friends list or picture; I could still be found. Even if I hid my name, I could still use FB to communicate with people I chose to communicate with.

If you think the only use for Facebook is to make it easy for people to find you, then you're not really using the majority of FB's functionality.

Re:Friends list (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483386)

Seeing how you don't seem to mind having an openly accessible friends list on Slashdot and whatever you put into your profile picture is completely up to you, I'll stick to the other points. Hide your name by entering a fake name on registration. The name you tell facebook is your handle. Expecting a site to hide your handle is about as dumb as heading to /b/ for serious discussions. Even better, /b/ will hide your name, too, so that might be more along the lines of what you're looking for.
Moving on, what you're looking for is the Search section in your Privacy settings. Switch the facebook search results setting to "Only friends", uncheck Public search results and you're good to go. Next, head to your profile, click the pencil next to the Friends box and uncheck the check box. Lastly, head to the Profile information section of your Privacy settings and hide, well, most anything.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (3, Insightful)

zorg50 (581726) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479908)

Let's see, we can either sue somebody, or use the helpful selection screen to change our privacy settings back to the way they were.

Facebook has removed the ability for users to opt out of publicly sharing certain information, including their profile photo, networks, and sex. I have every privacy setting set to "Friends Only" or "Friends of Friends," but those things are still publicly viewable in my profile.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1, Informative)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480686)

If you go to the Search page in the settings you can allow or disallow creation of a public index and remove yourself from the internal index. Once again, its easier to complain about it then actually figure out how to use it.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481816)

Once again, its easier to complain about it then actually figure out how to use it.

Hmm. Given that when they take you to the new settings, they're on least stringent settings, is it intentional how obscure it is to remove stuff from the internal index?

I didn't even know about it and the first thing I do with any program or account is to check out the settings. How does one get there?

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482602)

I don't know what the default is right after creating an account, but mine have been set since I made my account. Just go to Settings->Privacy->Search and you can remove yourself the index. You can even preview what your page looks like to everyone and for individual people.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

Fulminata (999320) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486760)

Yes, but some would like to be indexed without showing all that other information. For example, I would like for those who know be to be able to find me on Facebook by searching for my name, but I would rather they didn't get any of my information until I choose to add them as a friend. Why is that so difficult for some people (including those at Facebook apparently) to understand?

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

aronschatz (570456) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483854)

I know this is off topic, but why would you want to opt out of sex?

Ohh, this IS Slashdot...

(Laugh, it's a joke)

Re:Decisions, decisions. (4, Informative)

El Gigante de Justic (994299) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479924)

The point is that you CAN'T change your privacy settings back to how they were.
For example, you can no longer have your Profile Pic show up for friends only, and you can't hide your friends list from non-friends anymore either, along with a few other items on the profile page.

Adding new privacy settings is good - eliminating existing privacy features is not.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (2, Informative)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480318)

I have mine set off -- but I am wondering if maybe the new Facebook user interface hasn't hit me yet?

On the Profile page, go to the "Friends" box on the left-hand side and click on the pencil. "Show friend list to everyone" is a checkbox.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483472)

Don't trust that one. A few days ago, on the day Mark Zuckerberg published a bunch of pictures, I could check out his whole friends list through http://facebook.com/friends/?id=zuck [facebook.com] even though the list was hidden from his profile. Right now, the same query forwards to the profile page, but that might be some kind of temporary fluke or an admin perk.
What would you want to hide your friends list for, though? Being able to quickly search through A's (whom you are friends with on facebook) friends for B's (whom A introduced you to a few hours before) first name is one of my favourite aspects of facebook.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483664)

Well maybe you're a college student and you don't want e.g. your mom seeing e.g. your (boy|girl)friend.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483790)

Privacy settings -> Profile information -> Family and relationship -> "custom" -> Hide this from: Mom.

There's some 200 to 500 people in an average friend's list. Even if you made the mistake of mentioning the SO's first name in front of whomever you're keeping h(im|er) a secret from; chances are there's more than one J(ohn|ane) amongst them. Your friends list doesn't give away who your SO is; "in a relationship with [...]" does.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (0, Troll)

aztektum (170569) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480464)

You can go in and set almost anything to what groups of people you want. All my photo albums are set to friends & networks. If I log out and goto my www.facebook.com/mynamehere address, my photo doesn't show up. Nothing shows up.

Sounds like people don't know how to actually use the new privacy settings.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

yali (209015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480690)

GP wrote: "you can no longer have your Profile Pic show up for friends only". The GP was correct. From the new privacy policy [facebook.com] :

Certain categories of information such as your name, profile photo, list of friends and pages you are a fan of, gender, geographic region, and networks you belong to are considered publicly available to everyone, including Facebook-enhanced applications, and therefore do not have privacy settings.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (0)

javelinco (652113) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480898)

Wow, I wonder why you left the rest of that paragraph out?

You can, however, limit the ability of others to find this information through search using your search privacy settings.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

codegen (103601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481322)

However, if you post on a friends wall,and a friend of them sees the link on the wall, they can still see your profile

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482720)

Not only that, even if I have no relationship at all with any of your group - but one of them happens to allow wall access to everyone (and many do) then I can pick through it to view various bits of profiles that I would otherwise not be able to see. Even if they are set to "Friends Only" for everything.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

yali (209015) | more than 4 years ago | (#30490710)

Ummm, because I posted the part that was germane? The GP said they didn't want others to see their profile pic. The part I quoted said you cannot restrict things that way. The part you quoted was about limiting availability in search, which is not what they were talking about.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30482496)

Parent comment is objectively wrong. It is not, however, a troll.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483272)

Is there a difference? Plenty of trolls deliberately post things which are wrong, but try to make people believe they are real. Anyway, slashdot doesn't have a -1 Stupid mod.

As for the contents of the post: I thought if you log out of Facebook, it doesn't show you anything. It doesn't matter what the user put for privacy settings. Am I wrong?

Many trolls love to live in the area where something may be technically true, but gives a false impression.

Re:Decisions, decisions. (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482674)

You CAN hide your friends list from non-friends. It's trivially simple. Go to your profile page, click on the pencil where your friends list is, then uncheck the box that says "Show friends list to everyone"

Ok, so it's ever so slightly obscure, but you can still do it. Profile picture, well, you can always delete it entirely, or upload something you don't care about - since your privacy settings were for friends and friends of friends, it makes no difference since they can still get access to all your pictures if you allow it.

This is my problem with the privacy kooks (-1, Troll)

NaCh0 (6124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479890)

If you don't like it, don't use it.

Your stupid faux outrage over you posting your own pics on an internet site designed to share pics.

Just STFU. "Civil libertarians" are fucktards.

What is the deal? (1, Informative)

space_jake (687452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479978)

What are these people trying to hide the fact that they're friends with Hitler or something?

Re:What is the deal? (2, Informative)

zorg50 (581726) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480142)

Not all of us want our photos, etc. to be publicly available without our permission, especially when there had been an expectation of privacy of that data in the past.

Re:What is the deal? (1, Redundant)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480504)

They don't put them on the internet.

No one is FORCING you to do this.

Re:What is the deal? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485094)

They don't put your money in bank accounts.

No one is FORCING you to do that.

But you'd still be pretty peeved if your bank suddenly made your transaction details public to anyone who wanted to nose through your past purchases, non?

Re:What is the deal? (1)

meowhous (1592411) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480182)

People are trying to avoid being stalked by ex-SOs or ex-employees, etc. (Ha ha! Diedrich will never find me here!)

Re:What is the deal? (3, Insightful)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480230)

There have been numerous reports of people being fired for relatively innocuous facebook pictures which didn't really have much to do with their work. One particular case had a Quebec woman lose her disability insurance for depression, because she had a facebook picture of her going to the beach. These may be an exception, but it demonstrates how an employer or the government can get into your private life in a way that wasn't previously possible.

I have a facebook profile but I rarely post and when I do I make sure it is information that could never harm me in any way.

Practice what you do not preach ? (1)

bibekpaudel (1113383) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480058)

Lets be honest. How many more advertisement, apps, data mining opportunities would Facebook earn by making its privacy options really ensure privacy? Facebook would be out of business that way. But what is ridiculous is the owner of the company writing an open letter (with apology) stating that he will work to ensure greater privacy, while disabling even the existing measures that controlled several information (esp activity) of users. This is outright dishonesty and needs to be challenged. I prefer the honesty of some other companies that don't falsely claim to be respective of user's freedom and privacy rather than those whose rhetoric is high on values and action reminds of thugs. If they have to sell products with the aid of values, they'd better choose more 'practical' values. Practice what you do not preach ?

Why the FTC? (2, Insightful)

quangdog (1002624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480172)

I fully admit I'm pretty uninformed on this stuff - but why the FTC? What can they do about it? What control or influence do they have over what a private business does with their member's website?

Re:Why the FTC? (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482400)

It's not a private website. It's a privately owned public website.

A private public website with partially public private and semi-private information. Any confusion now?

Re:Why the FTC? (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482834)

but why the FTC? What can they do about it? What control or influence do they have over what a private business does with their member's website?

What do you mean, "what control or influence do they have"? They're an arm of the federal government, which has lots of guns. They even have a Constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce, so it's nice and legal for them to point their guns around.

This is exactly what the Federal Trade Commission exists for: consumer protection.

I think this is an improvement (3, Insightful)

magloca (1404473) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480264)

Ever since I, somewhat reluctantly, started using Facebook, I have followed the simple policy of making everything I post as public as possible, while simply not posting anything I don't want any random web surfer to see. If this change will make more people snap out of their false sense of Facebook privacy, all the better, I say.

Re:I think this is an improvement (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480450)

Ever since I, somewhat reluctantly, started using Facebook, I have followed the simple policy of making everything I post as public as possible, while simply not posting anything I don't want any random web surfer to see. If this change will make more people snap out of their false sense of Facebook privacy, all the better, I say

Same idea here. After all, if people got sacked or lose insurance BEFORE the privacy policy changes, these new changes reinforce the fact that Facebook isn't, well, private.

Facebook may offer a walled garden, but it's on the internet, and everyone's able to scale the wall to have a peep. There are way too many instances where "private" FB info has been published publicly. And putting up your deepest darkest secrets on a public site hoping that the company who controls (and now owns) that information will protect it, is, well, silly.

Everyone is scared of Google tracking them for marketing purposes. Facebook is sitting on a goldmine of that same information that everyone is posting freely, in the hopes that Facebook will do the honourable thing and not use it for monetary gain. And hoping that Facebook won't be hacked.

Re:I think this is an improvement (1)

SiteAdmin (1073816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480812)

Don't worry - government will regulate the shit out of it and then everyone will be happily protected from actually running their own lives.

Re:I think this is an improvement (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483696)

And hoping that Facebook won't be hacked.

I think you just identified the most expedient way to dispel FB's aura of trust/"not google"ness.

Re:I think this is an improvement (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481894)

... I have followed the simple policy of making everything I post as public as possible ...

Not good enough. Consider the same policy as when talking with cops since everything you say/write/photograph will be timestamped and stored at a location you cannot get to.

Stuff you say in public, you can whisper. You can have reasonable expectation that someone isn't right behind you, listening and recording the whole time.

And then, there's everyone else. Even if your policy works better than what doom&gloom I just typed, are your friends following similar policies?

Re:I think this is an improvement (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486090)

Failbook is a public website, there is no expectation of privacy in a public place and expecting it on a public website is retarded at best. Someone could be following you around recording what you say, and as long as you're saying it aloud, they're within their legal rights unless it crosses into the realm of harassment. You're held responsible for what you say in a public place already, so you're attempting to draw a distinction which does not exist.

As for what your friends have to say, they can say it whether you're on facebook or not. I HAVE unfriended people over ignorant shit they were posting on my wall which just did not need to be there; I suggest others do, too. If they are butt-hurt about it, we probably don't need to be friends in meatspace.

I have a fairly strict policy of only friending people who I actually want to talk to, and who I think want to talk to me; if they can't keep their pie-hole shut when necessary, I'd rather that they not only didn't talk about me, but didn't think about me, and I will help that process along by distancing myself from them. It's called "not rewarding bad behavior" and all you cocks who blame failbook instead of your loser "friends" who have no discretion are enabling them to be a bunch of bitches. It's your own damned fault. Get some real friends. Don't just label your acquaintances as friends because you're lonely.

Re:I think this is an improvement (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486242)

I know. I'm saying Facebook is worse than simply speaking publicly. The potential audience is far larger and recorded by a 3rd party.

Re:I think this is an improvement (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486752)

I know. I'm saying Facebook is worse than simply speaking publicly. The potential audience is far larger and recorded by a 3rd party.

Ubiquitous surveillance is coming, like it or not; it's simply getting cheaper and easier all the time to snoop on people. I assume that going outside means I could be recorded. I'm not so paranoid that I assume going aside means I am recorded, mind you. But I assume that if I'm not in a private place, I have no privacy. Most people in the world, however, don't seem to have a handle on this, judging solely by how people will pick their nose on the freeway and then give you a dirty look when they notice you noticing them.

Epic??? (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480372)

Headshot!

M-m-m-m-Monster Kill!

Oh, not that Epic. I feel so embarrassed. Does anyone else know how to get blood out of your Facebook profile?

Target on their forehead. (1)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480476)

The only dumb move, and I mean really dumb move, is that facebook didn't default all privacy settings to "no one" upon adding their new feature. Users need to opt in to things like this, not be forced to opt out. They opened a huge can of worms. Literally.

Am I the only one who thinks the new facebook is buggy as hell?

AJAX + unresponsive backend = awkward moment

Re:Target on their forehead. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482838)

Am I the only one who thinks the new facebook is buggy as hell?

No, but why does this surprise you? The old one was buggy as hell too.

Leg to stand on? (2, Insightful)

pedrop357 (681672) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480572)

If users don't like certain privacy policies, they can restore their privacy by leaving the privately owned site whose policy(ies) they disagree with.

Can someone sue because facebook allows photos to be right-clicked and saved? What if they started with some flash based photo system that didn't allow "easy" saving and later transitioned to one that did? Would that warrant a complaint to the FTC?

Formal review of changes would benefit everyone (3, Interesting)

valderost (668593) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480696)

On the whole, we're still in the middle of a huge transition in the ways we communicate with each other, and the degrees to which we trust third parties with information that rightfully belongs to us. Facebook is no more accountable to its users than any other service; and no matter how much we might bitch and moan about changes in their privacy policies, the fact is that they are going to use our information in as many ways as they can to make money. Sharing information directly with third parties is the most obvious, but there are plenty of indirect means.

Now that we can't hide ourselves, we're bound to attract more friends. Every one of those relationships is a potential revenue stream, either directly or indirectly. Folks at MIT recently demonstrated that they can determine to a high probability who on Facebook is gay without knowing anything about them except their friends. I'm sure the same technique applies to religion, various types of hobbies, and a number of other things we don't always give as much thought to, like criminals, terrorists and the like. These affiliations and attributes have to be a gold mine for someone, and the policy changes are a new mother lode.

I'm glad that EPIC, FTC, etc., are interested in our privacy, as they can exert pressure to change things in ways that we as users cannot. What I'd really like to see out of all this might be some kind of formal privacy impact review before changes to social networking policies are made. Any change that degrades privacy would need to be identified by third parties, justified or mitigated by the social network, then reviewed again until it's clear that users will be better off after the change than they were before. I think that expecting users to flee a service following troublesome changes is unrealistic. The users are caught between a rock and a hard place, and Facebook will continue twisting their arms as long as the users are paying more attention to their friends and apps than they are to their privacy.

It will be sad, yet very interesting at the same time, to see what happens when lost privacy demonstrably results in crimes of various sorts. Facebook may find that its greed has a higher human price than it might ever have realized.

Re:Formal review of changes would benefit everyone (1)

Digypro (560571) | more than 4 years ago | (#30483020)

I think that expecting users to flee a service following troublesome changes is unrealistic.

I disagree, think of Friendster, or even Myspace...the social networking crowd can be fickle, if facebook screws up that leaves a market opening for a competitor (ie. Google, Microsoft etc)

Re:Formal review of changes would benefit everyone (1)

valderost (668593) | more than 4 years ago | (#30486518)

There are always going to be churn and minor movements of users among services, but I think people who have a lot invested in a network, e.g. home pages, relevant postings, active participation in groups, many photos, lots of friends they actually do interact with, etc., probably aren't going to pick up and leave en masse unless there's some grossly distasteful change in the policies or terms of service. If you're providing the service, you don't make those grossly distasteful changes at once, you progress toward them in increments that each fall below users' overall threshold of discomfort.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30480954)

Well, as Facebook (and other"social networking sites) are thinly disguised data mining sites, why would anyone that uses such sites ever have had any expectation of privacy? The dats is sold to anyone who wants to pay for it as soon as it is entered on the site.

The problem with acronyms (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481910)

If the FTC doesn't respond to their complaint, will this be reported in the press as an "EPIC Fail"?

Jurisdiction? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482486)

I don't understand why the FTC even has jurisdiction here. Remember folks, Facebook is FREE. That's right. You don't pay to sign up. True, they make money from advertising, but that doesn't constitute any kind of contractual relationship between Facebook and its users, implied or otherwise. (This is quite distinct from sale of a product or service, in which case the acceptance of money carries all sorts of implied warranties.) If you don't like their privacy policies, then don't use Facebook!

Re:Jurisdiction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30483886)

Our job as IT leaders (see that, I'm kissing up to you, slashdotters) should be warning people about these issues, and complaining the loudest.

Non-IT folks (I can't say meatspace, I just can't) should not have to understand these issues, we are, and they look to you and I to educate them.

Saying "if you don't like it don't do it" ignores the reality that most people, meaning the other 7 billion people on the planet, don't understand what does on in the cloud.

BTW, same goes for every slashdotter's secret girlfriend, Google.

Key issue is a public Friends list (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30485108)

I've pored through the new Facebook privacy settings. My main objection is that I can't leave my name/face indexable on Google and to Everyone, without leaving my list of friends also visible to Google/Everyone. I don't mind if Facebook Inc or my Friends or even Friends-of-Friends can see my whole social graph, but why the hell should that be totally totally public and indexable for all time for any viewer? That just doesn't make any sense to me.

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