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Facebook Retroactively Makes More User Data Public

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the privacy-is-a-crutch dept.

Privacy 287

mjn writes "In yet another backtrack from their privacy policy, Facebook has decided to retroactively move more information into the public, indexable part of profiles. The new profile parts made public are: a list of things users have become 'fans' of (now renamed to 'likes'), their education and work histories, and what they list under 'interests.' Apparently there is neither any opt-out nor even notice to users, despite the fact that some of this information was entered by users at a time when Facebook's privacy policy explicitly promised that it wouldn't be part of the public profile."

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I'm glad.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966618)

..that I left that sinking ship (Facebook) a long time ago. It wasn't easy (litterally), but worth it.

Re:I'm glad.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966688)

A whole generation of people will soon realise that they have no privacy left.
How long until identity thieves, 419 scammers & spammers create software that can
trawl sites like facebook for useful info?

419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (4, Interesting)

rwade (131726) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966714)

How long until identity thieves, 419 scammers & spammers create software that can
trawl sites like facebook for useful info?

Seriously, what are they going to find that will be so useful? "Hello, sir -- I note that you went to the University of Nebraska and worked for a while at Cargill. Because of this, I am interested in repatriating my family's fortune to your bank account, for which you will get a fee." Get real...

The realistic threat of facebook vis a vis privacy is that of your youthful indiscretions being on wide display for coworkers and bosses to see.

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (5, Insightful)

sjs132 (631745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966746)

I doubt 419 scammers also... Employers maybe... Goverment, yes? The fact that I'm on a number of fanlists that would probably have me labled a radical conservative is not something I want available on my facebook page. (Even if people know by my posts and who know me, etc..) So I went into the profile options and figured I'd "customize" it. Well I changed it to "only me" option and logged out,etc. they still show up. So now the goverment can deploy a robot to crawl facebook and build a map of your "like" links and probably come up with a good profile of you opinion/politics.

Is there a paranoid group I can like too?

Where is the outrage?

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966780)

The fact that I'm on a number of fanlists that would probably have me labled a radical conservative is not something I want available on my facebook page.

Please, show some respect. The polite term is "Republitard".

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966958)

You know, you deserve that for having been an idiot.

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (2, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966984)

Divorce Lawyers....absolutely.

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966998)

Ditto here. But.....

"We must all hang together, or we will surely hang separately." - Benjamin Franklin. They proudly scrawled their names across that document. Sometimes it's more important to stand-up for what is right, than to be anonymous.

BTW I prefer the word "liberal". I want people to have the right to carry guns for self-defense, to marry whomever they please, worship whatever deity they desire, eliminate income tax for everyone below $100,000 (as was the case in the 1920s), and amend the constitution to give Member States the power to nullify the central government's acts (via a 25 majority vote). There is nothing "conservative" about these ideas, so it makes little sense to keep using that label on me.

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31967008)

Anyone who thinks the government doesn't have access to everything connected to you anywhere, anytime they want, without a warrant, must have voted in this last election and been happy with the choice between a douchebag and a shit sandwich.

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966792)

are you seriously fucking kidding? You are retarded.

you can absolutely track down people's email addresses, phone numbers, friends, what sites they bank with, social security numbers, etc, just by starting with the facebook information. It's like giving your basic bio to a private detective. Think other people can't gather that much info? Think again.

It makes social attacks so easy it's ridiculous. Say you have a friend named Martin. How much more likely are you to open emails saying they're from Martin and a FYI that his email address changed, which could (in a followup email) lead you to opening a trojan/virus?

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966828)

How much more likely are you to open emails saying they're from Martin and a FYI that his email address changed, which could (in a followup email) lead you to opening a trojan/virus?

Why would Martin be sending me a .exe file? Oh I get it -- in this scenario, I am stupid. Got it, thanks...

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (2, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966924)

Why would Martin be sending me a .exe file?

Martin Prince [wikipedia.org] is a trusted, if not regularly abused, alpha-geek who just might be trying to send you something important. That's why.

Oh I get it -- in this scenario, I am stupid. Got it, thanks...

I don't think he was implying that it was limited to this scenario ... but that's just my take on ACtard's post. But just because you aren't stupid enough to open an 'exe' attachment from anyone doesn't mean most people who test negative for /. are smart enough to not open it.

I think many of us of /. take offense when a comment implies that we as individuals are apt to do something stupid when the comment usually is directed at the public in general, who usually are stupid enough to do something stupid when it comes to computer security.

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966964)

Martin Prince [wikipedia.org] is a trusted, if not regularly abused, alpha-geek who just might be trying to send you something important. That's why.

For an operating system I don't use (you did say .exe format)? Guess he's not that alpha after all...

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (1)

spacepigninja (1689230) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966878)

Say you have a friend named Martin. How much more likely are you to open emails saying they're from Martin and a FYI that his email address changed, which could (in a followup email) lead you to opening a trojan/virus?

I get these all the time from muppet friend who have had their password stolen, but it is definitely easy to tell... I got this from a friend

Hey How are you doing? ,I ordered one white 3gs apple iphone from one good website www.aofenl.com , much cheaper but brand new ,agenuine , You can check it if you would like . Cheers

That was with full access to facebook information and from her actual address. WOW thats good social engineering.

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966936)

I got this from a friend

Hey How are you doing? ,I ordered one white 3gs apple iphone from one good website www.aofenl.com , much cheaper but brand new ,agenuine , You can check it if you would like . Cheers

You left out the best part. Did you get a great deal on that iPhone from aofenl.com?

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (3, Interesting)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967042)

I get these all the time from muppet friend who have had their password stolen, but it is definitely easy to tell...

And who tells you that it will not get better? An advanced spamming software might determine common interest between and the person from whom the mail claims to come (now easy, with all the data public on facebook), match them against a database of plausible content, maybe even automatically analyze (in a rudimentary way) the writing style on his facebook profile, and then use that information to compose a mail which doesn't look suspicious.

For example, if both you and your friend like a certain artist, then they could e.g. send a mail claiming to be from him which says "Hey, did you see the new site about $ARTIST? It's at http://malwareinfectedsite.com/ and it's better than $ARTIST's own page!"

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966804)

It's a lot more than employers and coworkers. Insurance companies could see if you hang out with people who are into dangerous sports, drink too much or are otherwise exposed to increased risks. Banks could draw conclusions about your credit worthiness by looking at the credit history of your friends. Merchants could see what your friends like or bought and at what price. Then they can avoid lowballing an offer to you (i.e. get you to pay the most you're willing to pay). The social graph is powerful economic information.

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966840)

The realistic threat of facebook vis a vis privacy is that of your youthful indiscretions being on wide display for coworkers and bosses to see.

See also: Craigslist Killer. They keep making more and more information public. Profile pics earlier, and now likes of local restaurants/bars/clubs. Mix with the forced usage of real names, and you've got a perfect $&@^-storm.

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966954)

Well this is why most of my facebook "data" is blank. I provided my real name, and my high school graduation date to reconnect with old friends, and that's about it. They don't need to know anything else about me.

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967096)

How long until identity thieves, 419 scammers & spammers create software that can
trawl sites like facebook for useful info?

Seriously, what are they going to find that will be so useful?

Mother's maiden name and other answers to common security questions.

Facebook Deepens Ties with Intelligence Agencies (5, Interesting)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967106)

The "real danger" isn't youthful indiscretion. It's profiling in a giant model by Government AND commercial interests in ways that will forever affect your ability to get a job, find insurance or even your ability to freely travel.

How do you build a panopticon, a prison for a society in which real power lies outside of government, in the hands of private commercial and financial interests? Honeypots. Google and Facebook and whatnot. Everyone is so anti-Government, like the stupid Reaganites. That's like being against a small-town cop. He's got the gun, alright - but he works for the man in the big house, at the edge of town. Hired. The enemy isn't Barney Fife - It's Old Man Potter.

How does this relate to Facebook?

You present a real, but minor threat, versus the real evil Facebook represent - along with the darkest nightmare of Google.

Remember, Watson, at IBM supplied tabulation equipment for improving the German Census in the 1930's. Technology was welcomed, and was going to modernize, to improve every German life. Except for a minority or two, of 11 million...

Cypher: "All I see now is blonde, brunette, redhead."

Facebook has been gradually boosting its profile in Washington D.C. [venturebeat.com] over the past year and is on the hunt for a second senior lobbyist to add to its office of four. Disclosures released a few days ago show that, on top of lobbying the usual suspects Internet companies reach out to like the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. senators and representatives, the fast-growing social network has also been busy deepening ties to government intelligence and homeland security agencies. ...
What's interesting about Facebook's lobbying in D.C. is what it spends money on despite its small size. It was the only consumer Internet company out of Google, Amazon, eBay, Microsoft, Yahoo and Apple to reach out to intelligence agencies last year, according to lobbying disclosure forms. It has lobbied the Office of the Director of National Intelligence -- an umbrella office founded in the wake of Sept. 11 that synthesizes intelligence from 17 agencies including the CIA and advises the President -- for the last three quarters on privacy and federal cyber-security policy. It has reached out to the Defense Intelligence Agency too.

Well, Facebook has always been an "op" http://cryptogon.com/?p=13749 [cryptogon.com]

Now, combine those observations with the next two pieces of information:
Virginia Tech Is Building an Artificial America in a Supercomputer [ieee.org]

As many as 163 variables, mostly drawn from the U.S. Census, come into play for each synthetic American. Called EpiSimdemics, the model almost perfectly matches the demographic attributes of groups with at least 1500 people, according to Keith Bisset, a senior research associate who works on the simulation's software. The software generates fake people to populate real communities and assigns each person characteristics such as age, education level, and occupation to mirror local statistics derived from the most recent national census. In accordance with the data, some individuals are clustered into families, while others live alone.

Every synthetic household is assigned a real street address, based on land-use information from Navteq, a digital-mapping company. Using data from a business directory, each employed individual is matched to a specific job within a reasonable commute from the person's home. Similarly, actual schools, supermarkets, and shopping centers identified through Navteq's database are also linked to households based on their proximity to the home. When an artificial American goes grocery shopping, the simulation algorithm assigns probabilities that he or she will visit one store over another, adding an element of unpredictability to a person's daily schedule.

New NSA center unveiled in budget documents [sltrib.com]

The National Security Agency was so confident that its nearly $2 billion plan for a new data center in Utah would be approved by Congress that it began designing the facility last November.

NSA budgeting documents also indicate that the design of the 1-million-square-foot center should be completed by February, with building to begin in June on a project that could mean thousands of construction jobs for a state that, like many others, has been stuck in a building lull.

President Barack Obama last week signed a spending bill that included $181 million for preparatory construction of the Camp Williams facility and tentatively agreed to two future phases of construction that could cost $800 million each.

The secretive agency released a statement Thursday acknowledging the selection of Camp Williams as a site for the new center and describing it as "a specialized facility that houses computer systems and supporting equipment."

Budget documents provide a more detailed picture of the facility and its mission. The supercomputers in the center will be part of the NSA's signal intelligence program, which seeks to "gain a decisive information advantage for the nation and our allies under all circumstances" according to the documents.

Facebook is a Honeypot. And a feed. You WILL be simulated, resistance is futile. Welcome to the Matrix.

Read it here, first: http://www.technofascismblog.com/ [technofascismblog.com]

Re:419 Scammers? No, it's really employers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31967128)

You wouldn't believe how many people use pet's names, date of birth or some other similar info as a password.
Wasn't Paris Hilton's blackberry account hacked because her password her pet of the week? Its true shes
about as smart as a ripped teabag but so are a lot of young people today.

"Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that." - George Carlin (1937 - 2008)

Speaking of age... (2, Funny)

colordev (1764040) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966900)

just choose to be 10 and your personal information will be 'more' protected; according to ... another news

Re:Speaking of age... (1)

novium (1680776) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967086)

But only for new accounts, apparently.

Re:I'm glad.. (4, Funny)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967148)

..that I left that sinking ship (Facebook) a long time ago. It wasn't easy (littorally), but worth it.

FTFY.
:-P

Don't worry (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966622)

Anyone who ever had even a passing interest in personal data security and privacy has left Facebook months ago (or, like me, never considered it a great idea to put your life online for public review). Everyone left will probably think it's a great feature.

Re:Don't worry (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966650)

Actually, there is another category: the uninformed. A lot of people really do not keep up with the latest decisions Facebook is making with regard to personal privacy, or are even aware that Facebook can, at any time, reveal their data. I am referring, of course, to the same sort of people who are not sure what a web browser is or which browser they are using -- which appears to be the overwhelming majority.

Re:Don't worry (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966670)

It looks like Facebook is trying to back into a Buzz style privacy uproar one step at a time. I wonder if a slow erosion of privacy will be swallowed easier than Google's 'Buzz gulp' of all-at-once exposure?

Re:Don't worry (2, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966682)

Undoubtedly, it will be more successful. I think people suffer from mass amnesia -- nobody seems to remember that they used to be careful about giving out their real name on the Internet. Few will notice that the latest erosion of privacy is actually built on dozens of other incidents.

Re:Don't worry (2, Insightful)

mukund (163654) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966986)

If the phone company recorded every single phone call, and allowed the phone owner to play them from a web interface whenever they wanted, the average telephone owner's head would explode :)

Yet everyone is fine with web based email.

Such is the irony.

Re:Don't worry (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966698)

Welcome to the new Facebook, the real time, always up to date, police forensics / NSA database : ) Saves them the trouble of gathering it all anyway. These new changes seem to benefit big brother more than anyone else. I can't really see any worthwhile benefit to the end user or advertisers.

Re:Don't worry (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966726)

Huh? Do you really think any TLA has troubles going to Facebook and prodding them for data, public or not? How'd they benefit from it?

Re:Don't worry (2, Insightful)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966754)

They would benefit from it simply by being able to dig through the connections to see what leads to where and to whom - it's exactly the same as mapping out telephone activity.

Former TLA drone myself.

Re:Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31967174)

Huh? Do you really think any TLA has troubles going to Facebook and prodding them for data, public or not? How'd they benefit from it?

I'm sorry, but what does this have to do with the Texas Locksmiths Association?

Re:Don't worry (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966706)

Black and white much?

There's such a thing as only giving facebook the information you don't mind being public. I don't give much of a crap who knows who my friends are but at the same time I'm not posting credit card details in my status updates.

Re:Don't worry (4, Insightful)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966732)

Yeah, some stuff is OK to be public. The stuff I don't want to be public I put "I DON'T WANT THIS INFO TO BE PUBLIC" in the fields. Oh and don't "like" anything you want to keep private.

Facebook is like a friend that can't keep his mouth shut. Don't tell him EVERYTHING, silly people.

Re:Don't worry (1, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966912)

Facebook is like a friend that can't keep his mouth shut. Don't tell him EVERYTHING

Wrong. Don't tell him ANYTHING. Facebook, MySpace and all the other "social networking" crap is utterly useless, except for those people trolling through the data (advertisers, identity thieves, etc). You would be surprised how just a tiny bit of seemly unimportant information can be added together with hundreds of bits of other seemingly unimportant information to reveal a whole lot more than you want to be revealed.

Re:Don't worry (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966942)

It's not useless. It's a damn good way to keep in touch with friends all over the planet.

Yes, I know personal web pages, email and (god forbid) the phone is still there, but it turns out the status updates in fb keep just the right amount of info flowing to keep people like me interested.

Email and other forms of contact often get stale, you stop writing, you stop calling after a few months of not seeing each other. FB keeps a minimal level of contact going, and it keeps people together.

I'm prepared to have some of my data mined for that convenience. I doubt very much that identity theives could get very far with what's on there.

Re:Don't worry (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967120)

You don't have to. There is an option in the privacy settings to turn off your publicly indexable profile. You can still be on Facebook, share info with people you want to, and just disable the ability of search engines and data miners to pull information out of a publicly available profile.

I just enabled this option today now that FB has decided to put information into public profiles that, while not "secret" by any means, isn't stuff I want to encourage every data miner in the world to index about me.

Re:Don't worry (1)

Toandeaf (1014715) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966776)

Except that there is no way to insure that this data doesn't go to the government. They buy a lot of data on citizens from private companies and knowing friendship networks actually is quite valuable information for Big Brother. Take a look at how Pakistan is fighting the Taliban there, it has a lot to do with knowing family networks. As someone with hippy friends, I don't want to be investigated if they join Sea Shepherd.

Re:Don't worry (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967050)

Except that there is no way to insure that this data doesn't go to the government. They buy a lot of data on citizens from private companies and knowing friendship networks actually is quite valuable information for Big Brother. Take a look at how Pakistan is fighting the Taliban there, it has a lot to do with knowing family networks. As someone with hippy friends, I don't want to be investigated if they join Sea Shepherd.

I take it that the buying of citizens' personal data from privately held corporations is yet another thing they excuse by citing the Commerce Clause? Otherwise I'm having a hard time finding where the Constitution authorizes them to do anything like this.

Re:Don't worry (1)

novium (1680776) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967116)

They can't buy them from third parties (i.e. facebook) but there's nothing to say they can't buy it from fourth parties, which is what they do. Company A that sells user data to Company B which is then utterly free to sell it to the government.

Re:Don't worry (2, Insightful)

darjen (879890) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966816)

I'm amused by the constant uproars people make every time facebook changes something. what the hell do they think the whole point of facebook is? that they are just providing this service for free? this is a classic case of people wanting their cake and eating it too.

meanwhile, government already has complete access to everyone's communication. you don't hear nearly so much about that anymore. I'm a lot more worried about law enforcement abuse than marketing products I might actually want at some point.

Bait-And-Switch: Why Make Excuses For It? (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967108)

I'm amused by the constant uproars people make every time facebook changes something. what the hell do they think the whole point of facebook is? that they are just providing this service for free? this is a classic case of people wanting their cake and eating it too.

meanwhile, government already has complete access to everyone's communication. you don't hear nearly so much about that anymore. I'm a lot more worried about law enforcement abuse than marketing products I might actually want at some point.

In this case, particular bits of data were disclosed to Facebook with the written understanding that they would remain private. That was according to Facebook's own privacy policy. Later, Facebook reneged on this understanding and unilaterally decided to made them retroactively public. They did this without giving anyone a chance to opt-out and there was no period of notice (between announcing this and actually doing it) to give users a chance to remove or edit that data. This is your classic bait-and-switch. They said one thing, got people to accept what they said on good faith, and then they did another thing.

I understand that Facebook wants to make money. Every for-profit corporation wants to make money. However, that doesn't give them the right to use deception and that's what happened here. Reputable companies manage to make profit without making promises they refuse to keep to their users or customers. What Facebook did is like moving the goalposts or changing the rules while the game is being played. Can you understand now why saying "did you think they were providing you a free service" is a strawman and fails to address the actual issue here?

Re:Don't worry (5, Interesting)

Alien1024 (1742918) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966976)

I used to think like that, but the worst thing about facebook privacy is not what you disclose about yourself (which after all is what you choose to disclose and nothing more), but what others publish about you. Here is some news for you: even if you don't have an account, you are probably already on facebook. Unless you live in a cave or avoid social life at all costs, chances are someone already uploaded a picture with you. It's preferable to have an account so you'll usually (though not always...) get to see those photos, comment on them, etc. That's the only reason why I signed up in the first place.

Re:Don't worry (1, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966978)

Anyone who ever had even a passing interest in personal data security and privacy has left Facebook months ago

Stop making retarded generalizations. I have a passing interest in personal data security and privacy, but I don't post stuff to Facebook that it would be harmful to have known by the public, except where it's already a part of the public record. From my former writings and whatnot, largely accessible through google and the internet archive, you can tell what my full name is, my hometown, my high school. Why should I try to make these things private at this late date? I don't announce that I'm leaving my home to go on a trip (or for that matter, that I'm out) unless I have a house sitter, as I did during my recent visit to Panama.

(or, like me, never considered it a great idea to put your life online for public review).

Your life is already online for public review by anyone with letterhead, a fax machine, a business license, and a few bucks a month for access to ostensibly public-but-controlled databases like MERLIN.

Everyone left will probably think it's a great feature.

Every time failbook makes one of these changes, I get about ten people out of my 111 FB friends, the majority of whom are not tech-savvy, telling us all how to lock your account down again. Most everyone does so, because why help? The majority of people who don't, I suspect, are people who only use FB for games and don't have any personal information worth mentioning there anyway.

Re:Don't worry (1)

capebretonsux (758684) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967084)

Some people, like myself, are actually forced into using it because so many friends & coworkers use facebook exclusively for communication. (So fucking sad, I know) I'd love to delete my profile, and move to the 'next facebook', which will hopefully have more discretion than this one. As a result of these changes I've stripped my profile down to the bare minimum. They get my name, my email addy, and my current city. Nothing else. I just resent the fact that facebook keeps opting me into crap automatically, resetting privacy values to 'share everything' every time they make a change, and then completely obfuscate the procedure to make everything private again.

Re:Don't worry (4, Interesting)

RepelHistory (1082491) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967180)

Unfortunately, for a member of Gen Y, it is not a question of an interest in personal privacy. Facebook has become a legitimate part of our social identity. A great deal of communication and social interaction goes on through Facebook. While I agree that the changes to Facebook are horrendous, deleting my profile is simply not an option if I want to continue to have a full social life - for example, many events/parties/gatherings/whatever are coordinated solely through Facebook, and off the top of my head I cannot think of a single friend of mine that does not have a profile. Not having a profile at this stage would be akin to an 18th-century Frenchman deciding not to go to salons because he thought they were lame. It is simply not an option unless I want to become a pariah.

Of course, the trouble is that Facebook knows how important it has become, and now can essentially do whatever it wants knowing that very few people will ever leave due to the reasons I expressed above.

This terms of use agreement is subject to change (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966636)

at any time without notice. It is your responsibility to check the license page periodically for changes.

Re:This terms of use agreement is subject to chang (2, Insightful)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966710)

This terms of use agreement is subject to change at any time without notice. It is your responsibility to check the license page periodically for changes.

Lots of 'agreements' have terms like that. In a lot of jurisdictions they carry no weight at all.

not even close to true (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966648)

this is at best a misunderstanding, and at worst, outright deliberate deceit.

the EFF is getting more and more hysterical about Facebook every day, and it's getting hard to take them seriously any more.

Re:not even close to true (2, Insightful)

Shayde (189538) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966686)

So if it's not even close to true, instead of standing on the mountain going "THIS ISN'T TRUE! YOU ALL ARE IDIOTS!" whu don't you provide some concrete information about WHY it's not true? I too am skeptical of the hysteria about the article, and I always look for collaborating information (more than everyone re-posting status updates "Facebook is at it again!") To quote an old friend of mine. "Don't flame, inform!" So? Where is your info?

Re:not even close to true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966728)

eff is getting pissed at facebook because facebook is doing hysterical shit themselves.

might want to try not to spin it the other way around.

Free to leave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966664)

Yes, this is bad. No, this is not unexpected. Facebook is about sharing information and always has been. This means you should assume that Facebook will always err on the side of social exhibitionism instead of privacy.

Expecting data you put on Facebook to be private in any respect is like telling someone a secret and following up with "but don't tell anybody else". Everybody will promise they won't tell, but it never works.

Opt-in/out message (2, Interesting)

CapeBretonBarbarian (512565) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966678)

I saw an opt-in/opt-out notice last night on Facebook for this change. I'm not sure why others have not. Perhaps they are rolling it out in waves or perhaps it depends on country (I'm in Canada).

Re:Opt-in/out message (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966818)

The opt-in / out notice I saw was for integrating with other sites and having "likes" or something appear on those other sites. To me, it wasn't immediately clear exactly what they meant (I didn't bother to study it, I just opted out). It doesn't sound like exactly this same thing though. For some time I had given Facebook certain pieces of real information and setup groups (lists) to set the security so that, for instance, "immediate family" and "indirect family" could see my cell number and address while "work friends", "facebook friends", etc. could not see any of it. Certainly none was made available to a public profile and, even though I don't allow any applications, it was set such that friends couldn't share it via applications. After this latest round though, I have gone through and wiped all of that info. Sorry Facebook, I didn't give permission to share any of this info (I specifically locked it down to certain people only). I'm sure it will exist in some caches / backups / indexes for awhile, but it should eventually disappear.

Re:Opt-in/out message (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966848)

This is the Internet. Nothing ever truly disappears here.

There is a notice in the fine print if you edit... (5, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966696)

Confirm the Pages that will be on your profile
Uncheck any Page you don't want to link to. Linking to education and work Pages may also create additional Pages, such as for your major or job title. If you don't link to any Pages, these sections on your profile will be empty. By linking your profile to Pages, you will be making these connections public. [emphasis mine]

You are about to remove this information
If you don't link to any Pages, the following sections on your profile will be empty:
  • Work and Education
  • Current City
  • Hometown
  • Likes and Interests

So your options are all or nothing.

Re:There is a notice in the fine print if you edit (1)

epee1221 (873140) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966782)

IIRC, "About Me" is not covered by this. You can put info there to keep it private (for now, at least).

If you're that concerned about "privacy" (5, Insightful)

jacks smirking reven (909048) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966708)

Why be on Facebook at all? They don't run it for warm fuzzy feelings. The bulk of the $$$$ is contained in its user data so they'll tap that well more and more as time goes on, not less.

Re:If you're that concerned about "privacy" (2, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966760)

Why be on Facebook at all? They don't run it for warm fuzzy feelings. The bulk of the $$$$ is contained in its user data so they'll tap that well more and more as time goes on, not less.

I'm not necessarily worried about privacy from Facebook or their corporate partners; I'm much more worried about what stalker girls would learn about me in the newly public information (and what's made public next, contact info, address, messages, chat logs?). Girls who stalk geeks are *crazy*

Re:If you're that concerned about "privacy" (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966930)

I'm much more worried about what stalker girls would learn about me

don't worry - as soon as they link to your /. postings, you'll be totally safe from stalker girls, or any other type for that matter.

Re:If you're that concerned about "privacy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966812)

You don't really have to tell them all that much, and what you do tell them doesn't have to be true.

Re:If you're that concerned about "privacy" (4, Funny)

Hott of the World (537284) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966908)

Oh come on, there's a link on Slashdot right now to become a fan on facebook!

Goddammit to hell.

Time to edit your profile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966712)

The data is valuable to them when it's valid so change it to nonsense.

Getting away with it? (1)

Angua (1732766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966716)

From the article, it seems as if this new move is only useful to data miners, not Facebook users. So they're basically screwing with us (I use, albeit sparingly, Facebook).

Facebook's done similar things to user's data before, and we've have had some success in protesting those changes. But I'm getting fed up. I don't want to have to worry about every single time Facebook has some sort of an update, that my personal data is going to be distributed publicly. I've had to change my privacy settings before, where stuff that I previously had private was suddenly public. Now it seems I have no option but to delete part of my profile in order to keep my stuff private.

What I wonder is how long Facebook thinks they'll get away with this until everyone is fed up and leaves?

Easy answer (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966806)

What I wonder is how long Facebook thinks they'll get away with this until everyone is fed up and leaves?

Easy, when will you get fed up and leave? Apparently not yet.

Don't ask how long the public is going to put up with something, if you are putting up with it.

Or to paraphrase Pastor Martin Niemöller:

First they came for me, but I said nothing for I was to busy consuming.

Then they might come for some other people after that but I was long gone by then.

God paraphrasing in a different tense is difficult.

Re:Easy answer (1)

Angua (1732766) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967004)

I guess I'm wondering more about Facebook than about the users. I'm already thinking of leaving. Facebook, I'm pretty sure, wants us to stay. Thus, they don't want to push the users past the tolerance level, but right now, assuming I'm a prime specimen of the average Joe, we're pretty close.

I'm just confused as to the cost-benefits for Facebook here. Getting a track record for annoying users and badly handling their private data doesn't seem like a good business model to me. That is to say, unless they think they'll just get away with it and nobody will notice or care. But people do, and still they go down that road. Again and again.

Sort of how it used to be. (1)

foobat (954034) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966752)

You used to be able to click on a link to anything you had listed in music and be able to see anyone else in your network who had also listed the same band/musican in their profile.

Changing things like "Become a fan" to a "like" is relying on people not noticing and cliking Like because their used to doing that on friend's status updates.

Re:Sort of how it used to be. (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966910)

"Like" is used in several other social-media websites, though. I could see that being more of a move to standardize on a term.

My question is have they removed the ability to change group names? It's pretty inevitable that someone will form a group "Kelly Clarkson is hot!", gets a few thousand users, and then changes it to "anal sex with men." Then, on each member's profile page...."RemoteControl69 likes anal sex with men."

Alternatives? (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966764)

Is there something like Facebook but which doesn't suck so much? It shouldn't be impossible to have something which users like, and which the owners can make a profit from. Actually, I don't even care about the profit part. Seems like something Google would be interested in. I guess they have Orkut, but that never really went anywhere. Perhaps Wave?

Re:Alternatives? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966846)

myspace

no really, just because many myspace pages look like shit, doesn't mean yours has to.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966922)

I have had an Orkut page for quite some time (since way before Google got them), but never used it.

Out of curiosity, I went back to take a look. I kind of like what they've done. The page is really pretty lightweight, particularly in comparison with Facebook.

I wonder why Google's not promoting the service. It could be a worthy competitor to Facebook. After all, pretty much everybody I know, tech or not, has a gmail account that could easily be associated with Orkut.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966960)

Not really. In my opinion, most of facebook's power comes not from the platform, but the fact that so many people use it. Regardless of how good the platform is, if only 50,000 people use it, you're not going to get as much out of it because your friends are all on facebook because their friends are all on facebook.

Re:Alternatives? (2, Insightful)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967002)

... you're not going to get as much out of it because your friends are all on facebook because their friends are all on facebook.

You used to be able to say the same thing about MySpace. Now nobody uses it, because everybody's moved over to Facebook (or kept their MySpace page, but don't use it).

There's no reason something can't come along and supplant Facebook.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

jadrian (1150317) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967142)

What happened was not everybody *moving* from MySpace though. While MySpace had a big user base, that was during a time where most people still didn't use any sort of social networking services. So it was still possible for facebook to grow a lot without having to steal users.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967064)

The Google empire seems to cover quite a lot of what Facebook offers. You can have your personal website on Google, link to those of your friends, you can see on Gmail if any of your contacts are online and start up an IM conversation with them, etc.

Re:Alternatives? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967118)

Google Buzz seems to be aimed at Facebook status updates. Wave is more of a collaboration platform. But to get a critical mass to move across, you'd have to move all the pointless timewasting data collect^H^H^H^H^H games there too, so it would fairly quickly end up as bad as facebook.

Why (5, Informative)

mukund (163654) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966766)

You still use Facebook? Call me a troll, but think. Are you being intelligent if you still use Facebook after all this?

After my last Slashdot comment [slashdot.org] , I deleted my profile. One of the sub-comments explains how to delete it instead of just disabling it.

Re:Why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966892)

You had this epiphany all of a month ago, and that gives you the right to question other people's intelligence for still being on facebook? That's the most self-centered worldview I've heard in a while.

Re:Why (1)

mukund (163654) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966944)

I guess what I wrote didn't come off right. I am not questioning your intelligence. You do that yourself. I meant to write "Think. [Ask yourself,] are you being intelligent if you still use Facebook after all this?"

Re:Why (1)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967010)

I've been stuck on truly DELETING my profile for quite a while now. I don't know the password, and the email address used was a college one that I haven't been able to access for a few years now. I tried sending them a message about the situation, Facebook never even bothered to auto-reply. It really sucks because there's a picture of an ex-girlfriend and me as my profile pic, so when my new girlfriend looked on Facebook there was that picture... If anyone has any advice, lay it on me!

Re:Why (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31967058)

If I delete my account, I miss out on invitations to do stuff. For many of my friends, Facebook is now the ONLY way they communicate. As much as I dislike these latest policy changes, I think you can still use Facebook 'safely'. For instance, there's no information about me on my profile at all - not even gender. I haven't allowed any apps. I haven't uploaded any photos. I don't 'like' any pages. I delete all Facebook's cookies as soon as I log out. I've unchecked all the boxes and opted out of everything that can be opted out of. My profile picture is a landscape. Yeah, other people upload pictures of me from time to time, but that would happen anyway - at least by being on Facebook I can vet them and ask for anything too incriminating to be taken down. I have no illusions about what they're up, but I still think it's a useful way to stay in touch with people you don't see as much as you'd like.

Re:Why (1)

jadrian (1150317) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967088)

Yes, because I do not have anything too confidential in it.

I use privacy controls, but even if they screw me over and do not follow my settings, while I wouldn't like it I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. So yes, I think they should be hammered over their actions, but they do provide the best social networking services out there, and I find it hard to imagine myself deleting my account or moving to another service any time soon.

Re:Why (4, Insightful)

1000101 (584896) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967146)

I use Facebook simply to keep in touch with friends, receive invites, etc. So my profile has some information about me:
  • 1. I 'like' a couple of bands that I like to keep up with
  • 2. I 'like' college football
  • 3. I 'like' some tech companies that I do business with
  • 4. I have a Computer Science degree
  • 5. I live in Atlanta, GA

What's the big deal? This is all information I would share with a random stranger sitting at a bar in an airport. I do use the strictest 'privacy' settings, but that is just to put a little more control over companies using my information for their monetary gain - not because I'm terrified of people finding out about it (why would I put it online if I were?). I don't join groups or post comments regarding politics or anything else one might consider sensitive, but if used correctly, Facebook can be harmless.

Slahdot on Facebook (2, Funny)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966770)

I have to be amused that the first two lines of the page for me currently read:

Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook
Your Rights Online: Facebook Retroactively Makes More User Data Public

I suppose that since Slashdot is on the internet, and nothing on the internet is private, I shouldn't mind anyone knowing, right?
Girls, where are you going? Oh, come back, it's not that bad, really! I just do it for the karma!

mod 3own (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966790)

to place a paper the gay niigers Deeper into the you can. When the

Candy from strangers (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966810)

I was always taught not to accept candy from strangers that wanted to give me a free car ride. It looks like the ruse still works. I don't use facebook either.

treat me mean, baby (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966856)

but I'll keep on lovin' you just the same..

What did you expect ? (3, Informative)

Nightjed (1102995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966860)

People need to understand once something hits the internet its out there, no privacy promise by a huge corporation (that probably owns the data once it hits its servers and gave it self the right to change policy whenever they want in the wall of text) is going to protect it.

The Cloud sound nice and all but the hype often forgets (intentionally ?) to make the dumb user aware of the consequences and dangers of putting something in a hard drive they cannot control

Re:What did you expect ? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966904)

People need to understand once something hits the internet its out there, no privacy promise by a huge corporation (that probably owns the data once it hits its servers and gave it self the right to change policy whenever they want in the wall of text) is going to protect it.

The problem is that usually the spread of info on the net outside of the usual corporate channels is done by human actors (viral videos, internet rumors), not by corporate actors. In this case, Facebook is randomly destroying their users' privacy for seemingly no reason. The corporate partners already had access, but now FB is giving everyone in the world access.

Re:What did you expect ? (1)

Nightjed (1102995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967048)

so ? if they think it would be in their best interest they would make public all those naughty pictures retards post as "private" too

FB is not and has never been a safe box, they are not paying the storage and bandwidth out of the kindness of their hearts you know, nor should you expect them too, they will do whatever they think its the best move to make money/benefit themselves in some way just like any corporation

*shrug* I don't care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966876)

I don't use my real name. My profile information is junk data. Thus I don't care about any connections that can be inferred based on posts I make, posts my friends make to me, and I don't become a fan of anything. On top of this, whatever privacy settings there are on facebook, I've turned them all on to "Just Friends" settings.

This is not a perfect setup, since there are photos. But if a photo is taken of me doing something that is immature/illegal or while intoxicated, it won't be tagged with my name, and I can rely on the friends of mine who generally take a lot of photos not to post those kinds of photos up on Facebook in the first place.

there are of course, many avenues to take when wanting to link my facebook profile to my real name/address, it's not 100% safe. But then again, neither is this comment. The internet isn't really a place for off-the-grid type of folks. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of the whole erosion of privacy thing and it just seems to keep getting worse and worse. But I proactively try to take steps to mitigate it, and so should you.

If you're not hiding anything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966896)

If you're not hiding anything... you have nothing to fear. Isn't that what we keep hearing from the government?

Confirmed : Stupid People use Stupid Site (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31966974)

This story confirms one thing, only stupid people will use stupid site like Facebook, and share all details abouth themselves. These stupid people are generally jr or sr high school students, conservative brainwashing colleges(community colleges), and high school dropouts. Any criminal activities or lost job opportunities that happen or may happen to any of the shit-in-face er facebook sheep almost deserve it as they are actually asking for it.

GO AHEAD FUCKING FLAME AWAY FACEBOOK SHEEP!!!!!

Here is a typical flame from said facebooker.

BAA BAAA BAAAAAA!!

Facebook Sucks...time, intelligence, health (1, Insightful)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 4 years ago | (#31966994)

Just one more reason I will never create a Facebook page. It's a no-benefit time suck with no apparent purpose except to facilitate attention whores and their ilk.

Yes, it makes it easy to keep in touch with your friends. You know what else does that? A phone. A letter. Walking to their house and knocking on the door.

Further eliminating direct interpersonal communications in favor of digital communication is absolutely not beneficial for this society, country, or planet. If their wanton lack of regard for privacy and their users' data isn't enough to drive you away, I hope the chair ass and jelly rolls it induces will be.

Go throw a damn baseball with a real friend instead.

Re:Facebook Sucks...time, intelligence, health (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31967138)

Being long-term unemployed, barely making ends meet, and living far from any friends, Facebook has been the entirety of my social interaction for some time now. My love-hate lifeline with the world. I do write letters, and I called back when I still had a phone, but for now, Facebook is what keeps me from being suicidal. Flawed, but useful.

An old adage about the Internet... (1)

flajann (658201) | more than 4 years ago | (#31967046)

Long before the Internet became a household word, the accepted bit of "sage wisdom" was this:

Never say on the Internet what you wouldn't want shouted from mountaintops.

And never before has this been true. There is almost nothing on my Facebook profile I wouldn't mind being shouted from mountaintops. And for those few things I might care about are things I wouldn't want my Ex knowing about. But she hardly lacks the sophistication to discover these things. :-)

Re:An old adage about the Internet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31967156)

"And never before has this been [so?] true."

"...she hardly lacks the sophistication.." - so she HAS the sophistication???

Careful what you type, we might understand you ... NOT

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