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Facebook's "Evil Interfaces"

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the click-here-for-sunshine-and-puppies dept.

Privacy 244

An anonymous reader writes "Tim Jones over at the EFF's Deep Links Blog just posted an interesting article on the widespread use of deceptive interface techniques on the Web. He began by polling his Twitter and Facebook audience for an appropriate term for this condition and received responses like 'Bait-and-Click' and 'Zuckerpunched.' Ultimately, he chose 'Evil Interfaces' from Greg Conti's HOPE talk on malicious interface design and follow-up interview with media-savvy puppet Weena. Tim then goes on to dissect Facebook (with pictures). So, what evil interfaces have you encountered on (or off) the Web?"

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Ok, honestly (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058270)

Honestly, FB should just give us decent privacy controls because the majority of their users won't bother. So its a win-win. FB gets to use whatever they want and the small number of us who want better privacy controls are pleased.

Re:Ok, honestly (1)

zonker (1158) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058312)

How about Facebook give us the ability to take our data with us so when everyone realizes what they are doing we can move somewhere else?

Re:Ok, honestly (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058326)

Its not your data any more. You published it online and lost any control you might have had over it. Sorry.

Re:Ok, honestly (4, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058450)

Not really. The main privacy problems aren't what they do but rather that they do it without notifying users and thus not obtaining their consent.

Imagine if I signed a contract that stated I would pay $500 in rent every month. Seven months later I get a letter saying that I owed back rent despite paying my $500 every month. Would it really hold up in court that the landlords had a 'right' to change the contract without notifying their tenants? But that is exactly what Facebook is doing. It is nothing more than online bait-and-switch only worse because generally with bait and switch you know that a change is taking place before you fork over the cash.

Re:Ok, honestly (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058542)

Its not really the same. Information can be shared freely (which is part of the problem) but money is finite.

Its more like you paying your rent in MP3s. But FB is taking your MP3s and allowing others to copy and share them freely.

Re:Ok, honestly (5, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058910)

Ah, but privacy is also finite. Once lost, it can never be regained.

It's not at all like MP3s because facts can't be copyrighted. It's more like giving a friend information in confidence, only to find out he sold it to a tabloid.

Re:Ok, honestly (2, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059056)

Information can be shared freely (which is part of the problem) but money is finite.

The fractional reserve banking system says you're wrong. Today's money IS information, and is therefore infinite (or more accurately: nonexistent).

What, did you think your employer shipped truckloads of silver bars to back those biweekly electronic deposits to your account ?

Re:Ok, honestly (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059194)

No, because money was never limited by the supply of materials to produce it, but by the state (or in the US, the Federal Reserve). We decide that money is finite because otherwise it would be useless.

Re:Ok, honestly (1)

ffflala (793437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059048)

The problems with your example are (1) you only fork over cash to your landlord while you pay nothing to Facebook, and (2) you agree to a term for a lease whereas neither FB nor you are obligated to continue providing nor using the service.

FB is able to create value from you personal information. They have been incrementally changing their service in order to maximize the value of this information -- and it's something you give them every time you use their service. You are free to stop using their service at any time.

Re:Ok, honestly (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058376)

You could always ... not use Facebook. What they don't have, they can't use.

Re:Ok, honestly (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058442)

That doesn't stop 'friends' putting information about you on their profile or tagging photos with your name.

Re:Ok, honestly (2, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058682)

Conduct all your debauchery in the privacy of your own home and you'll be OK.

Re:Ok, honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058990)

Yes, but your name is much less identifying than your facebook profile, with its unique ID and everything

Not to mention the fact that people rarely bother tagging people who don't have a facebook profile...

Re:Ok, honestly (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32059110)

That doesn't stop 'friends' putting information about you on their profile or tagging photos with your name.

I don't have any friends so I don't have anything to worry about. People thought I was crazy for being an anti-social loner. Now the joke is on them.

Re:Ok, honestly (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059288)

Tell your friends to stop, or use the "un-tag" feature to remove yourself. If people put stuff up that you don't like, contact them. Un-friend people who have no business posting about you, or keep them as friends so you can watch what they do. It ain't perfect, but it's not as hopeless as you make it. Best option is to only hang out with people who share your values systems, or at least respect yours.

Re:Ok, honestly (5, Informative)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058560)

I actually deleted my facebook profile last week. But that doesn't mean they are actually going to delete my information or prevent anyone from tagging/talking about me.

Re:Ok, honestly (2, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058620)

I actually deleted my facebook profile last week. But that doesn't mean they are actually going to delete my information [...]

More true than you might think.

I played around on Facebook for a few weeks just to see what it was all about but as soon as I heard about their new policies concerning member info, I closed my account. After I finished the process, however, a page popped up letting me know that all I had to do was to use my password to log back on again and everything would be back the way it was.

Apparently, "closing" a Facebook account doesn't do much.

Re:Ok, honestly (5, Informative)

momerath2003 (606823) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058726)

Try the contact: delete account page [facebook.com] . I did this a year ago and my account is as permanently gone as it can be. Although, I read that

Re:Ok, honestly (1)

jonfr (888673) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058836)

Use the Facebook delete your account form. You have to sign in to use this.

http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account [facebook.com]

Facebook does not make this easy. Somebody should sue them for making people go trough this long way to delete your account.

Re:Ok, honestly (2, Insightful)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059220)

And even if you do that, you'll never be sure they've actually deleted the data.

Re:Ok, honestly (5, Informative)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058748)

Did you unfriend everyone, delete all messages, pictures, etc?

If no, log back in (your account will likely reactivate automatically) and delete everything out of it, and then DELETE the account.

Note that "deactivation" (the acct will persist indefinitely; reactivate automatically) is different than "deletion"; prime example of an "evil interface".

If delete is truly want you seek, use the delete account link shown below.

http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account [facebook.com]

After "Deleting", do not attempt to log in for at least 2 weeks to test it's gone (I'd suggest waiting even longer, such as a month), because otherwise FB may think you're changing your mind and reactivate the account even despite choosing to delete it.

Ron

Re:Ok, honestly (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058930)

I actually deleted all the information. Waited for a month then entered false information connected to the more obnoxious bloggers and cretins on FB. A police department in upper Sandusky will likely get the spam catering to someone like Dexter. My last few acts have been to change the name on the account and forward the emails to a disposable one. I'll let that sit and stew for a time then change the emails again and wait a tad more then delete the account and then kill the disposable emails.

I have not allowed them too much info but I did allow them an annoying level of it because I had an attack of the stupid.

Re:Ok, honestly (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058954)

I deleted all my pictures and I did use the delete account link (not deactivate) but I didn't unfriend everyone. I was thinking in two weeks when they 'really' delete it that would take care of that part for me.

Re:Ok, honestly (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059170)

If no, log back in (your account will likely reactivate automatically)

Haha, it's like Facebook saying "Oh, I knew you weren't serious. Please, stay, I need you, don't leave, no, don't!"

And to be extra sure, you should log back in, download all your images, make new images of random data but that match the size of the previous ones (matching hashes are a bonus), then upload these in place of the old ones, wait a day (for everything to get flushed to backups), then delete everything. This way even if they restore them, they'll get your rewritten versions.

Re:Ok, honestly (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059124)

I actually have never been to Facebook nor signed up. But that doesn't mean they're going to prevent anyone from talking about me.

Re:Ok, honestly (1)

wlben (1368799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058440)

Privacy is ok but l like to read some of the post that I get but not all. My biggest rif is not being able to easily get rid of a poster that keeps posting weird or bad stuff. I know you can do it but there needs to be a button or something right there by the post.

Re:Ok, honestly (4, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058472)

...You mean like how right by every single post in the news feed there is a button where you can hide posts from certain people, groups, etc?

Re:Ok, honestly (1)

Kiuas (1084567) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058934)

...You mean like how right by every single post in the news feed there is a button where you can hide posts from certain people, groups, etc?

The problem is that the hide button doesn't allow you to hide certain type of news from the feed (at least not anymore). You can hide entire applications, and entire actions of persons from showing up. I would love to be able to hide notices such as "person X commented on person Y's message" or "Person X likes person Y's status", and so on - because I don't care about them and I think they're just adding crap to my news feed - but if I click "hide" it will hide all the messages of the said person.

I don't use facebook much at all - and the shitty interface is one of the biggest reasons for that.

They shouldn't give us anything (-1, Flamebait)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058488)

They provide a free service that you must opt-in to participate. If you don't like their terms of service and privacy policy then you should delete your account and stop using it.

Re:They shouldn't give us anything (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058500)

They provide a free service that you must opt-in to participate.

Right. You know how when the 'new' Facebook had 'better privacy features' that it wanted you to add in everything visible to everyone more or less by default?

If you don't like their terms of service and privacy policy then you should delete your account and stop using it.

Which accomplishes what exactly? You can't use Facebook and Facebook still has your info. You do realize that when you disable your account -everything- is still in the system right?

Re:They shouldn't give us anything (1)

bothwell (1272132) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058806)

"Right. You know how when the 'new' Facebook had 'better privacy features' that it wanted you to add in everything visible to everyone more or less by default?"

This kind of misses the point that you must opt-in to using Facebook in the first place for that to even be relevant.

Re:They shouldn't give us anything (2, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058850)

Exactly. Before disabling your account, make sure you change your name to bobby tables.

Re:Ok, honestly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058496)

Except a lot of your data leaks out via your friends.

For example, if you hide your friend list, and none of your friends do.

Re:Ok, honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058666)

Why not take zuckerberg's money? He clearly misuses it and it's government property, afterall. If he wants to play games with users maybe uncle sam should play games with him.

Re:Ok, honestly (3, Insightful)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058852)

I've been using facebook for a long time now. I know all about zukerberg's questionable past and general sliminess. But tell me this, what lack privacy settings is everybody complaining about? I checked the privacy page just now and it seems I have control over everything I can think of. And the interface is pretty straight forward. Is there something I'm missing? Or are people just having a knee jerk reaction here?

This is a serious question, if there is a important privacy setting missing from facebook I want to know because I use it everyday.

Re:Ok, honestly (5, Informative)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059014)

Yep, in one word, "Apps".

Furthermore, the privacy settings are not as straight forward as they seem. Case in point is Facebook's new instant personalization feature that will show one's interests to others, including the general public - see link for more details.

http://www.pcworld.com/article/195385/facebook_gets_a_little_too_personal.html [pcworld.com]

On a related note, the number of Facebook friends one has is a risk in of itself ... you may have your privacy settings locked down tight, but what about all your friends?

The more "friends", the more risk of one or more of them being "hacked" and your "private" information being leaked out as a result. Then there's the related issue of "friends of friends", which is in and of itself is seemingly innocuous, but can become a privacy threat when one of them uses the same app you and/or friend does. "Rogue" friends are another privacy hole - very easy for one or more to slip in, especially for members who already have large friend lists.

Ron

evil interfaces (5, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058338)

"So, what evil interfaces have you encountered on (or off) the Web"?

Outlook Express.

Re:evil interfaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058410)

GIMP

Re:evil interfaces (1)

dotgain (630123) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058606)

I would go one further and say every GTK app, including my own.

Re:evil interfaces (1)

correnos (1727834) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058808)

Come now, they're not all that bad. Any Qt app owns them, of course, but its better than tk...

Re:evil interfaces (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058462)

Outlook Express.

Outlook Express has been my favorite mail client for quite awhile (though I've been using Outlook 2010 for awhile and the conversation view is growing on me). In fact, I always found the UI rather simple and straightforward - what are the evil parts of the interface you're referring to?

Re:evil interfaces (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058510)

Outlook Express has been my favorite mail client for quite awhile (though I've been using Outlook 2010 for awhile and the conversation view is growing on me). In fact, I always found the UI rather simple and straightforward - what are the evil parts of the interface you're referring to?

Outlook has a very nice interface. But you see, criticizing Microsoft on Slashdot gets you automatically moderated up.

It's interesting when the bias gets so bad that people don't even have to explain themselves.

Re:evil interfaces (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058794)

It's interesting when the bias gets so bad that people don't even have to explain themselves.

Thou shalt worship the holy trinity of Balmer, Jobs and Linus.

Amen.

Re:evil interfaces (2, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058870)

It's very nice, especially if you want to run something on other people's computers....

Re:evil interfaces (1)

wjc_25 (1686272) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058894)

I haven't used it in ages, but my parents still use it, and my experience has been that it's a real hassle to troubleshoot. It's slow, not particularly reliable, and not particularly easy to navigate. Overall it feels like a deliberately crippled version of Outlook, which I suppose it is.

Re:evil interfaces (1)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058982)

Maybe you shouldn't be so quick in categorizing people?

Outlook Express and Outlook are different applications. Former is truely awful email client in pretty much every way (protocol support is a joke, it corrupts its own database, security track record is abysmal, the whole application seems to be implemented by amateurs) -- Microsoft replaced OE with Windows Mail for a reason. Outlook on the other hand is a fairly usable email/PIM client as long as you use it _exactly_ as God and Microsoft intended.

Re:evil interfaces (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058538)

what are the evil parts of the interface you're referring to?

The "kill puppies" button. Or is that only on my copy of Outlook?

Re:evil interfaces (2, Funny)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058650)

The "kill puppies" button. Or is that only on my copy of Outlook?

Nah, mine has that too. It's right next to the "Famine" button, between the "Pestilence" and "War" buttons.

Re:evil interfaces (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058816)

In the event of true famine, they would make a good, albeit socially appalling food source. So I can see how pestillence leads to famine, which leads to killing puppies, but how does killing puppies cause a war?

Re:evil interfaces (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058988)

Well, as puppy resources dwindle, nations will go to war to protect their puppy supplies and...

Wait, wait--it's a joke, son! ;-)

Re:evil interfaces (1)

BoppreH (1520463) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058586)

If I had to take a guess, I would say it's because of the infamous "mailto:" default behavior.

O no you didn't... (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058644)

Where to start.
Shoddy craftsmanship. Highly illogical. Dumb all over (and maybe a little ugly on the side).
After using PINE http://www.washington.edu/pine/ [washington.edu] for a couple of years I was confronted with OE on someone's computer somewhere. It was like a kick to the balls. Now get of my lawn : ).

http://www.nthelp.com/50/Outlook_error_codes.htm [nthelp.com]

Re:evil interfaces (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058544)

An interview conducted by a puppet with annoying music dubbed over the first several seconds of each interviewee response.

Re:evil interfaces (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058662)

Ah, thanks, that wasn't just me and my blasted hearing...

Re:evil interfaces (2, Informative)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058702)

That’s nothing. KDE4 even beats Windows ME in this regard.

- Placing and resizing plasmids on the dashboard can literally drive you insane. Because after doing so and releasing the mouse button, you *have* to stay on that element, or the plasmid will reset its position to what it was before. Also it is extremely annoying. If you got two elements right next to each other, the drag bar of the wrong plasmid always keeps popping up right between holding the mouse over the right plasmid, and pressing down the mouse button. But since it is hard to see which one you are now dragging (both drag bars are transparent and looking the same), you are always manipulating the wrong one. It takes elaborate mouse acrobatics to get it to do what you want. So much that I’d strangle the designer, right here, right now.
- There is a nice trick to show the insanity of how Dolphin is set up: Create a fresh user, and start Dolphin for the very first time. Now go to the settings dialog, and change every single option to its very opposite. Then close the dialog, and witness, how now every option is how you would have wanted it to be in the first place. This is not only true for me, but in my opinion for everyone. Try it out yourself! (Attention: Do not forget to also toggle the interface from mouse over selection and single-click execution to single-click selection and double-click execution in the systemsettings.)
- The K menu seems to be designed in the most annoying way anyone of them could imagine: The "tabs" on the bottom move on hover, but since you always move a bit sideways when moving upwards to select a list item, you "select" another tab half the time, and can start again. Then when you chose a program and go into the apps “tab” the next time, and want to go “up”, you have to click on the bar on the left. Which would be nice and fine, if it weren’t for the one pixel between that bar and the display border, where your mouse always ends up, instead of on the bar.
- In all KDE4 programs, all the good options are usually disabled by default. So they appear to seriously and extremely lack functionality. Until you dig up the sometimes well-hidden options and enable them all. Then you can finally actually use them for something useful. Doing that with Kate feels like opening MS Notepad, going to the settings for half an hour, and after closing the dialog, having VIM in front of you. It’s insane.
- The file dialog is an insult in itself. But someone else already wrote a funny and lengthy comparison that already was mentioned on Slashdot in at least two articles.

The only thing that beats that in insanity, is IE6 DHTML programming. But I’m sure half the users here will already have lost hair and taken heart pills because of it. I consider Trident a weapon of soul raping. ^^

Re:evil interfaces (1)

electrostatic (1185487) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058924)

...for an appropriate term for this condition

Collateralized Debt Obligation

Re:evil interfaces (4, Informative)

GeckoAddict (1154537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059028)

I see your Outlook Express and raise you a Lotus Notes.

Re:evil interfaces (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32059344)

I would have to say most forum interfaces suck. Why? I suppose it stems from the fact that I 'grew up' with the Internet using Usenet, which had killfiles, proper threading, efficient cross-posting (and much more) - not to mention no moderation. Most of the forums of today (including the beloved Slashdot) are a poor attempt to re-create what was (and arguably is) already a better way of discussing things. Inconsistent interfaces, each with their own 'rules', functionality and moderation - with no standards whatsoever. It's rubbish.

I think it's high time that Usenet makes its return - all it needs is better spam filtering and the inclusion of rich media. It won't be easy, but there it is!

slashdot's change password interface (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058356)

I tried to change my password and now I can't log in anymore.

Re:slashdot's change password interface (0, Flamebait)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058752)

The worst interface is one that doesn’t exist.
Examples:
- Slashdot name change interface (I know the reasons. But I still find it an excuse for laziness in coming up with a proper solution.)
- Really any Apple UI ever.
- Any recent Gnome UI. (Dev. motto: “You don’t need that, because we say so, and because you are stupid anyway.”) [Don’t worry, KDE4 also caught up and is approaching the same territory.] [I don’t know about Windows since I’m not touching that. I start it with K->Games->Windows XP, which should tell you something about what I think it is good for. :]

Re:slashdot's change password interface (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059240)

We should stop giving something a negative score, only because some dickheads could use it to write angry replies. You may not like it, but it’s true.

Oh, and to a certain set of retards: Only because when you talk, you assume that your personal opinion is globally true, that does not mean that healthy people assume that, when they don’t specifically mention it! When I say “The worst interface”m then ob.vi.ous.ly I mean to me. There is no need to mention it, since it’s assumed. Always.

And I consider the lack of freedom that oversimplified interfaces like the Apple USs provide, to be an extreme limitation of what I can do with a computer. To the point where I don’t use a computer, but are forced to play with a appliance. No individual automation involved, even though that is the very point of having a computer, other than an appliance.
And Gnome and KDE strongly imitate that trend, you can’t deny that.

You may prefer that. But then I’t call you a simpleton with a limited mind. And you can call me whatever you want. That’s just as much your right. But do it in a comment. Moderation is for dickheads who don’t have the brains or balls to come up with a proper argument!

Re:slashdot's change password interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32059330)

The entirety of /. is an evil interface. I never even bother logging in any more, something else might break.

Forget Privacy Controls... (1)

ProdigyPuNk (614140) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058362)

Instead of privacy controls, how about not entering information you want to keep to yourself or a select few from ever getting on the site in the first place ? It's already been proven that what is private now will not necessarily be kept private, and there's always leaks and whatnot. Is it really that hard to just NOT put certain stuff on these sites to begin with ?

My bank's front page (1)

obarel (670863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058368)

When the URL is http://gdddmfm.eiiwihh817266.ooe7.com

As soon as you see the word "richer" (4, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058370)

As soon as you see the word "richer", as in "richer user experience", hold on to your wallet. The only thing rich about a "richer user experience" is how rich it is going to make the person forcing it on you.

sPh

Re:As soon as you see the word "richer" (1)

thms (1339227) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058780)

Indeed, that is what Web 2.0 is all about:

You generate all the content, they make all the money!

Less deceptive now (3, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058382)

FB has become less deceptive in some of their newer things. Not that it's a good thing (the method they have done so). Want to list a certain thing about yourself? Sure. If you have it linked to the page/group/whatever about it. Thus exposing your interests and yourself to the world.

...or you can have your profile info page blank.

No option C anymore.

So, nowadays, it has become more of a use of strongarm tactics to ensure that your data is everywhere and available to anyone as opposed to deceptively tricking people into doing so.

I'm not sure which is worse. The current method for me (well, if I cared. Anything I put on FB on my info section is already all over the web or the Star Trek Phase 2 site or IMDB).

One's very annoying (the "we're posting this info linked to you wherever we choose, or you can choose to have an empty profile" method) and the old method is deceptively evil (the "we'll simply confuse you into allowing us to post your info unless you take the time to stop and read what you are doing and opt out" method).

I guess a lot of people were getting smarter - especially with so many warnings online and via other FB friends telling people to click/unclick new "hidden" privacy options on FB every time a new change rolled out. So, FB got smart in creating a new way of using that info with no privacy settings to prevent them from - either post the info so they can do what they want with it - or remove all the info entirely.

Re:Less deceptive now (5, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058448)

How about the deceptive photo uploader?

I went to upload some photos and it told me that the only way to do this way to use the new shiny facebook photo uploader app, and asked me to install it. I said no (no way, in fact) and cancelled out of it, only to be directed to a page that said "you will have to use the simple uploader but it's not as good". Wait, what? Didn't you just tell me that the new app was the only way to upload photos now (yes, yes it did)?

It's things like that - tricking people into installing facebook apps - that make me question their motives.

Re:Less deceptive now (2, Insightful)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058516)

How about the deceptive photo uploader?

I went to upload some photos and it told me that the only way to do this way to use the new shiny facebook photo uploader app, and asked me to install it. I said no (no way, in fact) and cancelled out of it, only to be directed to a page that said "you will have to use the simple uploader but it's not as good". Wait, what? Didn't you just tell me that the new app was the only way to upload photos now (yes, yes it did)?

It's things like that - tricking people into installing facebook apps - that make me question their motives.

LoL... that is why I said "LESS deceptive" instead of "Not deceptive anymore" ;-)

Re:Less deceptive now (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058734)

the java uploader still works just remove &htmlup=1 from address bar or in firefox change your useragent back to 2.0 in about:config general.useragent.extra.firefox

Re:Less deceptive now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32059076)

How about the deceptive photo uploader?

I went to upload some photos and it told me that the only way to do this way to use the new shiny facebook photo uploader app, and asked me to install it. I said no (no way, in fact) and cancelled out of it, only to be directed to a page that said "you will have to use the simple uploader but it's not as good". Wait, what? Didn't you just tell me that the new app was the only way to upload photos now (yes, yes it did)?

It's things like that - tricking people into installing facebook apps - that make me question their motives.

I am not sure what you got. I'm on Linux, and when I go to Facebook to upload photos, it defaults to a Java applet. This applet requires additional permissions, but they give you a link at the bottom for the simple uploader if you do not trust the Java applet. First, there was no app that I needed to install (unless you call running a Java applet in the browser an "app to install"). Second, it defaulted to the Java applet, but there was no mention of that being the only way to upload photo.

Re:Less deceptive now (2, Interesting)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059184)

It was definitely an app "suggestion" that had two buttons on the dialog box: "install" or "cancel".

I have just gone back to see what it does now, and it is taking me right to the java applet, so what has happened to the advanced shiny app they were pushing, I do not know.

Aha! This page has the actual dialog box:
http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=206178097130 [facebook.com]

Now, that box strongly implies that the new plug in (no, let me rephrase: it states categorically) is required to be able to upload photos.

If you click "cancel" it takes you to another page that says "are you sure? this plugin is the best way to upload photos!" and you click cancel again, and then it drops you to a page with the link to the simple uploader.

I did not imagine it, trust me.

Re:Less deceptive now (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058772)

Interestingly, the main article linked clearly shows a check box that allows you to turn off making your list of friends available. I go to that same page they are showing and the check box is no longer there. Also, they have a very deceptive page for setting your "visibility" of various things (home town, likes, interests, etc.). It has the normal drop-down for "everyone, friends only, friends of friends, and custom". However when you set them to say "friends only" and re-visit the page a few minutes later they are all mysteriously switched back to "everyone". So they make it LOOK like you can control these things - but you can't. They also try to link you to pre-existing "pages". I recently had to go through facebook and either delete or replace all data about me with false info because from week to week you have no idea what they are going to divulge next. Several months ago it was fairly easy to do something like "real family" can see x, "work friends" can see x - y, and "facebook friends" can see (x - y) - z. This is no longer the case and has been changing from month to month very rapidly. If the data is that important to advertisers and marketers - fine. All they get is crap data now.

Re:Less deceptive now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32059174)

*snort* Recently they added this "Page suggestions" thing, alright? For instance it suggests that I should list Programming as an interest. Whatever, I unchecked all the suggested boxes and clicked Save Changes. You might expect that to simply not list any Pages as your interest, but here is what it does:

  • First it presents you with a confirmation dialog with the options "Resume editing" and "Remove", and the warning that a number of sections in your profile will be empty. These sections include Work and Education, Current City and Hometown, which hardly have anything to do with whether I like Programming, but whatever - since I didn't want to share anything in these sections anyways.
  • Then - and this is annoying, but again, whatever - it shows a box in your profile informing that some of your info is missing and that you really should go fill it up. Meanwhile, they have matched your info to some Page suggestions... they really, really want you to fill in this info about yourself.
  • Finally, and this is where the interface is actually evil - go and check your privacy preferences for those fields that they said would be empty (Hometown and the like). They are now visible to Everybody.

Try making those fields visible only to yourself. Now go and make these changes and verify that this is what is actually happening. Is this the behaviour you were expecting from the interface when you said you didn't like any of those suggested pages - to turn info that you have manually set as Private into something that is available for Everyone?

TL;DR: Facebook will share your info even if you explicitly tell it not to. My advice is to simply not fill in any fields that you don't want the world to know about (seriously, forget about sharing something with friends only), or just outright leave Facebook.

Two Related Research Papers (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058404)

For those interested, there are two related research papers available by Conti and Sobiesk. The first Malicious Interface Design: Exploiting the User [acm.org] was just published this week at the 2010 WWW Conference. The other is from IEEE Security and Privacy Magazine, Malicious Interfaces and Personalization's Uninviting Future [rumint.org] . (PDF)

like, idk! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058432)

I have to reply to this article with a comment? Really? I can't just "like" it?

Worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058478)

To show your appreciation of the richer user experience, you have to get down on your hands and knees and suck this articles cock.

You can't just "like" it.

Privacy on the internet. (1)

AtomicOrange (1667101) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058444)

This comes up every time. If you don't want information out there. Don't put it on the internet. Even with all of my privacy controls on Facebook on max settings (Always getting screwed with and removed by FB). I don't put ANYTHING on Facebook that I wouldn't accept being released to the general indexes. Don't put information out there that you wouldn't want the world populace to potentially know!

Ticketmaster (3, Informative)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058464)

So I was buying a ticket through Ticketmaster, which is a harrowing process. I don't normally do this, so I did not know how harrowing. I will not even discuss the deceptive practice of displaying a total price for tickets, then add in a $6 charge at the very end.

Here is what I found reprehensible is that when I choose to not store my credit card information on their site, a pop up window with the their privacy policy pops up. Clearly, if it so important to them that I keep my credit card information on their site, then it stands to reason that they intend to misuse it in some way. Ticketmaster already lied to me about the amount they were going to charge to credit card, who knows what else they lie about. Perhaps I was being enrolled in a club that would charge me $50 a month to have priority access to future purchase opportunities. I don't know. I don't know why they would confuse the user and kill a sale just to get to keep my credit information.

Re:Ticketmaster (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058926)

Heh. The thing you have to realize, is that Ticketmaster has never been "not evil." They've never even gotten any "not evil" on them accidentally. Bitching about ticketmaster is like the frog bitching about the scorpion in the classic fable.

Offline Evil Interface - Gas Pumps (4, Insightful)

rockwood (141675) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058508)

Most gas stations have the gas grades from lowest to highest, left to right respectively. However some gas stations reverse the order from right to left, thus possibly hitting the more expensive high grade. Damn evil oil companies :)

Re:Offline Evil Interface - Gas Pumps (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058674)

I thought it was the other way around.

Re:Offline Evil Interface - Gas Pumps (1)

RajivSLK (398494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058936)

Seriously? Every pump I've been to has the grade shown in 2 inch high letters directly on the button with the price shown directly above. When you press the button it lights up and the price is displayed at the top. How could you possibly cock this up?

More worrisome is the recent revelation that many gas pumps to under dispense fuel by 2 - 3%. The government here (BC) did a random test and found a lot of cheating...

Zuckerpunched (3, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058588)

Should have gone with that name.

Yup - maybe an approach? (2, Funny)

cheros (223479) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059182)

It's actually a volume question. If we all would start using that term, and then get some well known people to follow suite, *WE* would define the term. I must admit I like the whole idea of using "zuck" for any deceptive activity that impacts your privacy - I would support that no problem. "Evil interfaces" is, sorry, total crap.

First of all will it confuse people with Google's "Do no evil unless we make money on it", secondly it's not very creative and about as juveline as the content of that video they made. No, "zuck" is IMHO MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCH better.

Expert Sex Change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058658)

You know when you google for something and end up at an Expert Sex Change link? Then they make it look like you can't see the answer, but if you scroll all the way to the bottom, you actually can? That's pure evil. Even Satan curses them out when he ends on their website.

Re:Expert Sex Change (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058762)

It always amuses me when I start a new contract role somewhere and none of the supposed "IT Professionals" working there know about the "secret" of Expert Sex Change.

Evil Interfaces? ummmm (1)

DebianDog (472284) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058716)

Anyone use Lotus Notes at work? Maybe it is just me....

Re:Evil Interfaces? ummmm (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059150)

What about SAP? Dear god...

And while we are dissing business applications, I find the default Sharepoint site layout to be confusing, infuriating and generally shitty to use. Really, even MS could have done better there.

Re:Evil Interfaces? ummmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32059246)

Well, Consider yourself lucky you could be forced to use Outlook

"Evil Interfaces"? (1)

CompassIIDX (1522813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058824)

I was positive this article was going to be about Bethesda games.

Only UI in history to have got worse with time (1)

kegon (766647) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058884)

Facebook's UI is absolutely dire: this on the web. I assume that the mobile applications are written by people who try to make them usable.

Over time every application that I use has got better. Facebook is the only UI I have seen get more difficult to use, uglier, more complicated. It's not like they are adding seriously different functionality to previous versions like, for example, The GIMP. The concept remains exactly the same: allow users to selectively share and interact with personal information.

How is it, every time they add more privacy options, more of my personal information that was restricted access gets exposed to more people ? If I still have an account this time next year I will probably only have my name and one photograph on there...

Fake virus scans on OS X (2, Funny)

qwertyatwork (668720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32058892)

I love it when I get a pop up from a virus scanner, or fake youtube page that looks like XP on my Mac. The XP theme on OS X is so out of place.

Worst thing abouf FB is getting tagged.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32058946)

It's like - WTF ! I use the privacy controls just to restrict visibility to friends , and have redacted a lot of my personal information. But getting tagged with a unflattering picture (which is quite easy for me!), is a downer. I'll have to sort that out. I think the key is not to be FB friends with anyone under 25.

Why do ads need to come first while loading a page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32059052)

Dilbert web page seems to use evil method of loading an ad, waiting 20 seconds and then showing the actual content. So when you update, you're waiting long time and only thing you can do is read the damn ad... These evil practises need to stop immediately.

Real Media, EULAs (1)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059094)

Anybody remember Real Media? I hear that they've mostly cleaned up their act, but once upon a time they pulled every trick they could think of. If you started an order on their web site, they would take you to a page with what you want to order, checkmarked, and then a whole bunch of worthless stuff beneath the page fold, also checkmarked. If you didn't uncheck all of the stuff beneath the fold, they would charge you for all of that stuff too. I'm not sure if the full price was even listed before you filled in your credit card info.

EULAs are often displayed in tiny, not resizable boxes, and sometimes you can't even select and copy the text and paste it in a text editor.

Re:Real Media, EULAs (1)

sirrunsalot (1575073) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059252)

Someone actually bought something from Real Media? I thought the company was just something they made up to scare nerds.

They hid the free version pretty well, and I always had to go try and find it since I deleted it when its purpose was served. Kinda like Silverlight. Sometimes I need to install it and have to ask myself how badly I want to watch that video. So far, the answer is "Not badly enough."

The Pirate Bay (5, Interesting)

fyoder (857358) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059104)

thepiratebay.org has something of a classic. Search, find, click, go to the download page, but wait, don't click on the big green "Download" button, that's for a toolbar or something which no doubt they get paid a little something for every time someone clicks. What you want is the smaller "DOWNLOAD THIS TORRENT" link underneath the inviting big green "Download" button.

No big deal since I like TPB, and what does one expect of pirates? "Yarrr, suckered ye good Jimmy me lad, now give us rum."

Worst... interface... ever.... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059114)

"So, what evil interfaces have you encountered on (or off) the Web"?

Human

You think that's confusing? (1)

sirrunsalot (1575073) | more than 4 years ago | (#32059192)

Try the Pirate dialect for setting up privacy options:

"Make ye parchment of ye mateys visible to arrrrvreyone?"

Let's see... um... "Arrrrr!" or "Walk the plank!"...

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