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Facebook, Others Giving User Private Data To Advertisers

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the naked-we-stand dept.

Privacy 154

superapecommando sends along a Wall Street Journal report that indicates that Facebook's privacy troubles may be just beginning. "Facebook, MySpace, and several other social networking sites have been sending data to advertising companies that could be used to find consumers' names and other personal details, despite promises they don't share such information without consent. The practice, which most of the companies defended, sends user names or ID numbers tied to personal profiles being viewed when users click on ads. After questions were raised by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook and MySpace moved to make changes. By Thursday morning Facebook had rewritten some of the offending computer code. ... Several large advertising companies ... including Google Inc.'s DoubleClick and Yahoo Inc.'s Right Media, said they were unaware of the data being sent to them from the social networking sites, and said they haven't made use of it. ... The sites may have been breaching their own privacy policies as well as industry standards. ... Those policies have been put forward by advertising and Internet companies in arguments against the need for government regulation."

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154 comments

Oh Shit (5, Funny)

joepress99 (69729) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291806)

Guess the Journal forgot Rupert also owns MySpace.

Re:Oh Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32291938)

Yeah, because mentioning it in their article means that they forgot. Obviously.

Re:Oh Shit (0, Troll)

McGruber (1417641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291996)

Guess the Journal forgot Rupert also owns MySpace.

Oh noes, the WSJ is Zucked!

Re:Oh Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293234)

The article mentions the MySpace ownership.

Unused (5, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291822)

they were unaware of the data being sent to them from the social-networking sites, and said they haven't made use of it

Ahh, they didn't use it. Then it's all right.

Nothing to see here.

I wonder if TPB could use the same defense. "Wait what? You can SEE the downloaded movies? Whoa!"

Re:Unused (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32292064)

the article in now way says that the data not being used absolves Facebook, they're saying that to some degree, if true, it absolves DoubleClick and RightMedia, who can hardly be blamed for being sent data they were unaware of and didn't ask for.

Re:Unused (3, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292192)

While I've "closed" my Facebook (seriously, why there isn't a true close account option?) for privacy reasons, lets look at it on technical terms. It's a problem with the referrer field being sent by browsers, nothing intentional on Facebook's part. If you have referrer sending disabled you aren't affected by this.

It's a bad combination of browsers sending referrer, Facebook using real names for everything and Facebook not providing enough privacy options to hide your profile, and Facebook not using https or iframing the ad box (in that case referrer would just show something like http://www.facebook.com/ads/ [facebook.com] ).

I guess those ad networks don't actually have something that gets the personal info for clicks, but it's a possibility and I bet the referrer is saved, at least in logs and statistics.

Of course, majority of people don't care so business will continue as usual.

Re:Unused (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292144)

Ha! Funnny.

I honestly don't care if advertisers learn that I like collecting old computers and other hobbies. I'm more concerned about the info leaking to people with REAL power over me. Like a prospective employer (hmmm, he is pro-gun - don't wanna hire him), or the US government (this guy sold Final Fantasy 7 for $150 and didn't pay taxes).

Re:Unused (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293302)

How would Facebook/MySpace find out that you're pro-gun unless you tell them?

Re:Unused (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32293330)

Don't you get it? You can't trust *anyone* with too much information. People say they don't care if marketers know all about them, but if it is allowed to get to the point that advertisers have complete profiles on people for marketing purposes (and things like facebook are very near to making that possible) then what stops them from sharing that info with the government, or selling it to employers checking on an employees private life, etc, etc. Do you think the advertisers would turn down the extra money? Do you think they would decline to do it because it's unethical? We're you born yesterday??

Re:Unused (3, Insightful)

FreakyGreenLeaky (1536953) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292374)

Similar to Google's "accidental" sniffing of public wifi -- they didn't use it, so that makes it all right.

Bloody criminals.

Re:Unused (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292506)

I don't think they'd argue that it was okay - the fact that they apologised speaks otherwise. However it's a mitigating factor. You would hardly argue that a company that did use data scraped this way was no worse.

Re:Unused (1)

rhp997 (250494) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292758)

"I didn't inhale"

Cue (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32291838)

Cue the "privacy is dead" asshats, who for some reason are determined to purge the natural human desire for privacy that has existed since the dawn of human evolution.

Re:Cue (3, Interesting)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291954)

Yes I never understood those asshats. It's like a false "monochotomy".
I don't have a facebook account, and I don't have any idiot farmville playing friends, that would violate my privacy. Therefore I have opted out of facebook. Hey, that wasn't hard.

Oh and I'm using the friend 1.0 definition, ie: people I know with mutual trust, as opposed to the friend 2.0 definition of linked social networking profiles who have poked and bitten each other in the last 6 months.

Re:Cue (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32292188)

Some people learn in momentary bursts of insight. They LOVE the Barbary Coast attitude of the Internet because is it's like manhandling a pinball machine. They don't always like the lack of law and order but it seems that they only do something about it when they get a tilt penalty. All in all, this is a pretty White discussion.

Re:Cue (2, Insightful)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292398)

I don't believe privacy exists really anymore, but I wouldn't say that privacy is dead, it's more like it was just given away freely and irrevocably without a second thought as to the long term ramifications. I refused to use facebook for the longest time, but I've personally given up. My friends use it and it's their primary means of communication, above and beyond simpler and "better" things such as email. I just try to keep as much actual honest information about myself off there as possible and keep my head down to limit damage as much as possible. The moment someone comes up with an alternative solution that I can talk even the laziest person into migrating to, let me know. Until then, I'm living with the subpar solution for lack of a better.

Also, "privacy is dead" is the bumper sticker slogan those people go by. I've never heard anyone outside of corporations and governments (hard to tell the difference anymore) saying that it is. They're not determined to purge the world of privacy, but merely to illustrate to people just how privacy-free it's become.

With regard to the "news" itself, color me completely unsurprised.

Re:Cue (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292420)

I've never heard anyone outside of corporations and governments (hard to tell the difference anymore) saying that it is [a good thing].

Fixed that for myself. Brain moves faster than the hands sometimes.

XMPP (3, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292510)

I don't believe privacy exists really anymore

That is the same as "privacy is dead", making you one of the asshats that AC was talking about.

Are your facebook friends so lazy that they wouldn't reply, if you sent them a good old fashioned email? I hope not, but just in case, there is a secret weapon.
Federated XMPP. Your backdoor into facebook's walled garden, without actually having to give in and be their bitch.

Re:Cue (1)

siloko (1133863) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292496)

who for some reason are determined to purge the natural human desire for privacy that has existed since the dawn of human evolution

mmm maybe privacy meant something different back then but I'm sure in all those 'caveman' films the dudes were walking around in the buff . . .

Re:Cue (4, Insightful)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292792)

Don't be stupid. Privacy isn't dead. It just that privacy is - and has always been - up to the individual. The issue we keep running into here is that people expect someone else to protect their privacy. If you want real privacy, it's up to you to secure it and maintain it.

Re:Cue (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292800)

I always thought it was pretty stupid to put all of your personal information online then complain about people being able to see all of your personal information.

Of course privacy is dead, when you give your privacy away.

Re:Cue (1)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293196)

Cue the "privacy is dead" asshats, who for some reason are determined to purge the natural human desire for privacy that has existed since the dawn of human evolution.

You are presuming the "Privacy is dead" crowd have evolved? ;-)

If it's on Facebook.. (3, Interesting)

goldfishbrains (703767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291840)

..it's not private. Came across this yesterday http://youropenbook.org/ [youropenbook.org] , It made me laugh.

Double click (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32291856)

How quaint. The domain every geek has blocked since 1996.

With all this facebook detritus littering the web, are there some facebook domains and subdomains that need to be blocked, because they are being used for tracking?

Re:Double click (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292008)

How quaint. The domain every geek has blocked since 1996.

FYI, TFA says the data was shared, not that doubleclick was contacted by end users' browsers. Block doubleclick all you want, but unless you can block doubleclick from Facebook, the sharing still likely happened.

Re:Double click (3, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292038)

The sharing only happens when you actually click on an ad, because it's an issue with referral URLs.

Re:Double click (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292176)

You clearly didn't read TFA very well.

The real news to me... (3, Funny)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291860)

People still click on ads?

Re:The real news to me... (2, Funny)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291912)

Of course. Otherwise how would they get malware installed?

I have been having fun clicking the 'x' on the Facebook ads to remove them. "Why are you deleting this ad? x Uninteresting"

Yep, they're all uninteresting. :)

[John]

Re:The real news to me... (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292546)

People still click on ads?

People still *see* ads?

Re:The real news to me... (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292700)

I suppose that would've been the better way to put it. Well said.

Honestly (2, Insightful)

bsharp8256 (1372285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291874)

Is anyone surprised by this?

surprise, surprise (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291890)

Is anyone surprised? As soon as companies grow so big that consumers can not easily vote with their wallet anymore, or their offers are non-monetary for the end-user (who is the product, instead of the consumer), there's no reason they would take privacy seriously. I'm pretty sure the bad PR is the only reason they worry about it at all.

In advertisement, all commercial participants conspire against the consumer.

I'm not a friend of government (especially our current one here in Germany, a bunch of monkies could do a better job) - but I don't see which other organisation could regulate these commercial big players anymore. Certainly not the consumers, who despite Internet and all theoretical options of banding together simply have 1000 other things in their lives to worry about, so finding a sufficiently large group of people who care about this particular thing enough to make a difference is as hard as ever.

Re:surprise, surprise (2, Informative)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292030)

I didn't vote with a wallet per say but I did vote with an account delete on Facebook a few days ago. Assuming of course they honor my request.

How to do it if your curious:
http://www.wikihow.com/Permanently-Delete-a-Facebook-Account

Re:surprise, surprise (2, Funny)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292110)

You missed the boat. There was a time when deleting your account would, more or less, delete your account.
Now days it doesn't.

Today you should disband and pollute your data over a matter of months, and delete your account.
Then change your name, sex, nationality, and fake your own death.
Then finally change your name, sex, and nationality again.

Re:surprise, surprise (2, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292334)

There are better alternatives. First alternative work hard at undermining the popularity of the social networking site that hhad all you data, mined all your associations and monitored all your clicks. Do a good enough job and the revenue drops squeezing down hard on the costs of hoarding all that private data, eventually shutting them down, of course all that data then gets sold at the bankruptcy auction forcing you to repeat the exercise until companies decide all that privacy invasion ain't really all that profitable.

Second alternative, seek changes to the law, force stricter privacy requirements, what information companies can keep on private individuals, stricter protections for minors, deletion of information requirements, data correction requirements, data mining restrictions and, random privacy audits with criminal penalties for invasions of privacy.

I personally prefer the regulation and prosecution route, although I can protect my privacy as much as I choose to, I am still concerned about the current younger generation getting caught out with long term psycho analysis, known marketing vulnerabilities, known subconscious triggers and permanent limitations upon future career opportunities.

Re:surprise, surprise (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292746)

> First alternative...
> ...
> Second alternative...
> ...

Zeroeth alternative: don't use it if you don't like it, or at least don't post your secrets.

> ...I am still concerned about the current younger generation getting
> caught out with long term psycho analysis, known marketing
> vulnerabilities, known subconscious triggers and permanent limitations upon future career opportunities.

Then tell them. If they choose to ignore you that's their right. If by "the current younger generation" you mean children, tell their parents.

Re:surprise, surprise (5, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292040)

I think most people don't even think about it or don't think they have anything to hide - until their identity gets stolen or they get fired for a post on their Facebook page.

Unfortunately, throughout the Western World, we have worried so much about government trampling our rights that we completely ignored the private sector.

To head off the "well, just don't do business with them!" posts, I'd like to point out that Facebook stated in their policies that they wouldn't do this and secondly that every service, whether it's cell phones or internet sites, has a little statement buried in their terms that states they can change the terms anytime they want.

I really hope Facebook gets sued over this a loses and a precedent is set over internet website policies - in the consumer's favor.

Re:surprise, surprise (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292836)

> ...a little statement buried in their terms that states they can change the > terms anytime they want.

It's there, isn't it? And if you read the "TOS" you'd know about it. In any case, they cannot change the terms retroactively (not even if the TOS clains that they can). The terms that are in effect at the time you use the service are the ones that apply to that transaction.

Re:surprise, surprise (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292050)

simply have 1000 other things in their lives

ONLY because of facebook! Sell your friends, write "cool story bro" on someone's wall, decline a bunch of people, post pics of yourself passed out drunk in the bath.

Without facebook they would have nothing to do in their lives, and would therefore have time for political activism. And philosophy.

Re:surprise, surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32292058)

In this case, consumers can "vote with their wallet." It's just the sacrifice that this kind of voting entails (essentially boycott) is too much of a (perceived) cost to the consumer.

Facebook and Comcast are not so big that they are preventing me from driving to work, eating dinner, and sleeping under a roof (they should be prevented from becoming so big, though).

ADM and Monsanto on the other hand...

Re:surprise, surprise (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292932)

Facebook I'll agree, but if you're a telecommuter and Comcast is the only player in town?

Re:surprise, surprise (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292090)

There's no conspiracy. RTFA: as difficult as it may be to get your slashbrain around it, the privacy issue is a technical accident.

Re:surprise, surprise (2, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292514)

conspire != conspiracy

In the literal meaning of the word, all the participants - the website you're visiting, the ad agency, the ad network, their customers - all work together against you. There's no reason to be dramatic, but it's a simple fact that they are all trying to coerce/convince/manipulate/whateveryouwanttocallit to split with some of your money into their direction, which then feeds them all.

Re:surprise, surprise (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292704)

A group colluding against someone is a reliable definition of a conspiracy.

Re:surprise, surprise (1)

pooh666 (624584) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292168)

Yes, we need a bloodlyfingduh tag.

Re:surprise, surprise (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292346)

See, the basic business cycle of a social networking website goes like this:
1. Site attracts core group of users with good privacy protection, features, and general usefulness that is superior to their competitors.
2. Everyone who wasn't attracted in step 1 signs up to new site, because they want to be on the same network as their friends.
3. Site locks the users in by having the user's social life revolve around the social networking site, rather than real life.
4. Company that created the site "monetizes" the customers by selling their eyeballs for ads and their information to marketing companies. They also start charging for some of the niftier bells and whistles, and eventually for the stuff that used to be free. If possible, the founders make a huge bundle from stupid investors.
5. Because of the practices in step 4, the good privacy protection, features, and general usefulness of the website drops.
6. Users get fed up, find some other social networking site that provides good privacy protection, features, and usefulness.

This cycle has happened at least twice (LiveJournal, MySpace). Facebook has been at step 4 for a while, and is getting closer to step 5 or 6. And steps 3-4 are why I refuse to sign up for these sites.

I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (5, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291908)

I'm not shocked by the breach of posted privacy policies, but by:

Several large advertising companies... including Google Inc.'s DoubleClick and Yahoo Inc.'s Right Media, said they were unaware of the data being sent to them from the social-networking sites, and said they haven't made use of it

So Facebook and MySpace were just doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, not making any extra money from Google & Yahoo?

Re:I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32291968)

Reading the article its pretty obvious that the ID info was leaked via the Referer HTTP field. I don't think Facebook was doing this on purpose or only for specific advertisers. It seems to show more incompetence than malicious intent, but both are bad.

Re:I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292070)

It seems to show more incompetence than malicious intent,...

Facebook? The hottest thing on the Internet since the 90s and has the choice of the best of the best of the best web developers - made a mistake like that?

Re:I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32292410)

It seems to show more incompetence than malicious intent,...

Facebook? The hottest thing on the Internet since the 90s and has the choice of the best of the best of the best web developers - made a mistake like that?

Are you kidding me? Have you ever even looked at Facebook? From a purely technical point of view, it's a half-assed slapped together with duct tape piece of shit. It's only technical merit is that it's not nearly as horrifyingly amateur as MySpace.

Facebook may be "all the rage", but the best of the best work for Google and Microsoft, not Facebook.

Re:I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292486)

I don't think Facebook was doing this on purpose

Of course not. Why would they give the advertisers that provide them with revenue something that they desperately want?

It's not like they're in the fucking business of sharing people's information after all, right?

Re:I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293274)

Maybe you should try calming down a little. The world isn't out to get you, and big bad Google and Facebook aren't stalking you while you're walking home at night.

People make mistakes. It happens. In the case of organizations that deal in sensitive information, those mistakes can often mean nasty, high-profile bugs like this. But that doesn't change the fact that they're simple mistakes, and not, in fact, a vast conspiracy to share your personal information with all those big, evil corporations.

Re:I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (2, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292074)

If you RTFA, they were doing it by simple technical accident. Unless the advertisers thought to scrape referrer URLs for usernames, they didn't get shit.

Re:I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (2, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292308)

Yeah, I get that. Meanwhile, the user pages have already been spidered, so it's just a case of attaching one to the other.

Re:I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292384)

The possibility of an exploit is not evidence of exploitation, the wrongdoing that you claim.

Re:I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (2, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292544)

Unless the advertisers thought to scrape referrer URLs for usernames, they didn't get shit.

And we all know that advertisers would never do anything as underhanded as mine information from a data stream, because that would be wrong.

Re:I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292688)

They might if it doesn't even occur to them. It's a pretty obscure issue.

Re:I'm shocked! SHOCKED! (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293242)

So Facebook and MySpace were just doing this out of the goodness of their hearts

Or it could just be a bug.

Don't attribute to malice what could easily be explained by sheer incompetence...

Topical.. (5, Funny)

Zerak-Tul (1654309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291920)

Re:Topical.. (1)

phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293328)

that's exactly what I was just thinking. personally, I have no issue with the information I give to a site like that going anywhere the owner's want it to. that's why it's on the internet in the first place

I noticed my old myspace appeared after years... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32291962)

I often search for my name in a futile attempt to remove myself from the internet. I just checked the other day and noticed some person search company, intellius or something has aquired my myspace profile, pics of my friends etc. I have had myspace account closed for at least 3 years if not longer. When I attempted to figure out what was going on by logging into myspace I couldn't even get in... my account was closed. All I know is I'm giving my kids a helping hand when it comes to their first entrance onto the web. Bunch of information vampires out there.

Referrer URL is the issue (5, Informative)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291980)

My reading of the WSJ article is that the sites were (perhaps inevitably) passing a referrer URL along when the user clicked the ad. This URL is, naturally, one of the user's pages, and will explicitly or implicitly identify the user. The advertiser can then identify the user's page on the social networking site and retrieve any public information there. The WSJ makes it clear that the information is not passed on directly, which goes some way to explaining why the advertisers claim never to have used it.

Re:Referrer URL is the issue (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292262)

Meh, trusting the client's Referer is futile at best. Any self-respecting geek already uses spoofed Referer headers.

Re:Referrer URL is the issue (2, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292614)

Meh, trusting the client's Referer is futile at best. Any self-respecting geek already uses spoofed Referer headers.

We're not worried about geeks, because they are already using carefully created false identities which they have bought on the black market from Bulgarian ex-secret police. Plus, nobody wants their fucking data anyway.

We're worried about regular humans who don't have a clue and put their lives on the internet because the biggest corporations in the world have told them that it's perfectly OK and "the thing to do".

Re:Referrer URL is the issue (2, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292774)

I think it's time for us to decide whether the ability for a site to request its referrer is worth the potential privacy issues. Should it not be opt-in? It's not like a cookie, you don't explicitly elect to provide the site with the information in question.

Re:Referrer URL is the issue (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292578)

Furthermore, the headline is inaccurate. Personal data is could potentially be retrieved by advertisers, but it is public data.

...retrieve any public information there. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292906)

Public information? So why is this a problem?

Re: ...retrieve any public information there. (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293158)

The user's ad-clicking habits are identified, and correlated with their public information on that site (and possibly others by correlating other ones). It's an in-principle and not in-practice thing at this stage but it is a cause for concern.

Yeah right (0, Troll)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291988)

Several large advertising companies... including Google Inc.'s DoubleClick and Yahoo Inc.'s Right Media, said they were unaware of the data being sent to them from the social-networking sites, and said they haven't made use of it.

So major online advertising companies, who make their living analyzing data from server logs, who at a moments notice can tell you the click-through rate of any ad they currently have in rotation, who study the eye movements of users while using computers to design more effective ads, who have taken a medium where content is by and large free and found a way to make money off it, didn't notice they were being sent usernames and ID #'s that were tied to the click-throughs on some of their ads.

Oh, REALLY? (2, Insightful)

Millennium (2451) | more than 4 years ago | (#32291994)

If this is true, then Facebook is committing fraud. Shut them down.

Title. AARGH (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32292010)

Is it really that hard to type "and"?

WELL,WHAT ARE YOU OR ANYONE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32292068)

Not a damn thing, that's what !!

Stupid is as stupid does, you stupid, stupid lady.

Hanlon's razor? (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292112)

Some people use it as an out; "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know!"

Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetance? Yes, that applies, unless it crosses "never attribute to incompetence that which can be explained by greedy self-interest". That's the razor that applies here; if your "mistake" benefits you, only a fool will believe it's a mistake.

Mr. Brin, I love your search engine, but please change your lying motto.

Re:Hanlon's razor? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292268)

Except, this didn't benefit anyone. The ad providers would have to figure out that they were being given personally-identifying referrer URLs for clickthroughs, scrape the username part, and visit the user's (public) profile to retreive any personal information. From the sounds of things that conceptual leap didn't actually occur.

Re:Hanlon's razor? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292960)

> The ad providers would have to figure out that they were being given
> personally-identifying referrer URLs...

In other words, they were being given this "personal" information by the user, not by Facebook. The referrer is recorded and handed over to the referred site by the browser, not by the referring site.

> the user's (public) profile to retreive any personal information.

No, to retrieve public information. It's a public profile, remember?

Re:Hanlon's razor? (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292408)

Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

There's advertising on Facebook? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32292218)

I love blockers.

So (yet again) I must ask (2, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292224)

Why would I want to use Facebook at all if I value my privacy? And a follow up which is probably more to the point, with all the shit Facebook has pulled, why are you bitching about it if you're still a user?

Re:So (yet again) I must ask (4, Insightful)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293304)

Why would I want to use Facebook at all if I value my privacy? And a follow up which is probably more to the point, with all the shit Facebook has pulled, why are you bitching about it if you're still a user?

Maybe you do value your privacy with some (strangers, employers) more than with others (friends, family). I think that privacy, like intimacy is not a binary thing. There are people whose hand you wouldn't even shake, folks you would hug in public and people who've seen you naked, right? (I'm being rhetorical here, you don't need to answer that.)

I take your point about facebook, though. They don't act trustworthy and do act too capriciously. Nevertheless, people would like to expose some of themselves, just not all of it and just not to everybody. Facebook happens to be extremely popular: many of your friends are there. Bitching about facebook's crap is actually quite reasonable. You'd like them to change to avoid the hassle of finding another alternative. They probably won't, given their history, but they certainly won't if no one says anything.

Government Regulations (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32292252)

That final quote is clearly implying that this evidence is proof that we need government intervention. We should strenuously oppose this, and we need to be aware of the subtle messages to try to persuade us to change our minds. Don't give into the manipulation!

In fact, this entire episode is strong and conclusive evidence that we do not need government regulations in this area. The private sector exposed the problem and the companies made the appropriate changes. This is how it should be done. If we don't like a product or service, then we should take our business elsewhere. Facebook is not a right. It is not an entitlement. It is a website, people, and you are free to go and use a different website if you choose. Perhaps if more people did, Facebook would clean up their act. We need to regulate the Internet not the government. I would rather keep the government as far from the Internet as possible for my own peace of mind. They have enough power to be corrupted without giving them more.

How can putting a corrupt and greedy government in charge of regulating the Internet possibly be a good thing?

Advertisements pay their bills (1, Informative)

realsilly (186931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292254)

So you join a Free Social Networking site, that is maintained and updated all the time. How do you think this shit is paid for? Advertisements! How best to make Advertisements work then to target them to the audience. Of course they're sharing this data, the Ad Agencies want it and are willing to pay for it. The Privacy concerns are the issues for Facebook, not the Ad Agencies. The only way to go after them is if they bought data that was illegal to sell or share. As much as I'm not a fan of this reality, there is nothing private on the internet.

I've said it before... (0, Flamebait)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292260)

Only an idiot would purposefully publish personal information on the web.

Google (2, Insightful)

jvkjvk (102057) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292266)

Somehow, I don't buy it, and it makes me sad that Google has gone this far down the path of Corporatism.

Now, they lie to us to our faces. I find it impossible to believe that Google did not know what was in the strings being sent to it.

Google is trying to tell us that they are so incompetent that they did not realize what all that information in the strings that were sent to it actually signified.

Right.

Either their hiring practices scrape the bottom of the barrel (which we know is not true), or they knew exactly what information was in all those strings, since that's their job. Collecting and analyzing information (of which those URLs are a subset).

Oh, I know. Since we are in a free market economy you can just not use Google at all! And any site that has adwords, or google analytics, or youtube, or refuse email of anyone that sends you email from a gmail address, or...

If enough people do this, we can show Google the error their ways. /sarcasm

About time (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292296)

About time my alma mater got some recognition on here for something other than an MP3 playing Xmas Tree ;)

Government Regulations (0, Redundant)

Khomar (529552) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292364)

That final quote is clearly implying that this evidence is proof that we need government intervention. We should strenuously oppose this, and we need to be aware of the subtle messages to try to persuade us to change our minds. Don't give into the manipulation!

In fact, this entire episode is strong and conclusive evidence that we do not need government regulations in this area. The private sector exposed the problem and the companies made the appropriate changes. This is how it should be done. If we don't like a product or service, then we should take our business elsewhere. Facebook is not a right. It is not an entitlement. It is a website, people, and you are free to go and use a different website if you choose. Perhaps if more people did, Facebook would clean up their act. We need to regulate the Internet not the government. I would rather keep the government as far from the Internet as possible for my own peace of mind. They have enough power to be corrupted without giving them more.

How can putting a corrupt and greedy government in charge of regulating the Internet possibly be a good thing?

(I know this is a duplicate post.... I did not mean or intend to post this anonymously)

Re:Government Regulations (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293064)

> Perhaps if more people did, Facebook would clean up their act.

And the fact that few people do means that few people care. The fact that few people care means that there is no need for more laws (except, of course, as yet another excuse for bigger, more intrusive, and more centralized government).

you should not be surprised by this (1)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292418)

anytime an entity has control over a large dataset of demographic data, sales droids will not stop trying trying to turn that into revenue.

Join "Adblock Plus" fan page on Facebook (2, Informative)

kyriosdelis (1100427) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292512)

And let's see if advertisers will continue to be interested in your personal info after that... Hopefully sometime in the near future, when this or similar fan pages will grow large enough, advertisers will start excluding people that belong to them.

Re:Join "Adblock Plus" fan page on Facebook (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292914)

They'll still be interested. Demographic information is worth money. If they don't use it on Facebook (or the web) they'll use it in other places.

"Unaware" Bullshit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32292684)

> Google Inc.'s DoubleClick and Yahoo Inc.'s Right Media, said they were unaware of the data being sent to them from the social-networking sites, and said they haven't made use of it.

Yeah, right.

If you look closely at Google/Yahoo advertising tags - they are proactively trying to catch (via Javascript) and log (in GET parameters to their server) current URL to which their ads are served. Unless you fake referer AND use NoScript extension, you're giving them this data. And I have a strong diesbelief that they do not store this data.

Yahoo and Google are logging huge part of your Web browsing history this way.

I guess they've coded it by accident?

It's called a SOCIAL SITE (2, Insightful)

scottwilkins (1224922) | more than 4 years ago | (#32292852)

When are people going to get a clue and figure out the Facebook is a social web site, not a private web site? They think they can hide a black eye in the middle of a large party? If you don't want the World to see it, don't bring it to the party. DUH!

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32292868)

I'm not pleased with this information, but the worst case scenario is these scumbags will either try to sell you something or deny you service because of what you did online. No problem, you can always go to a competitor, thereby screwing the company that offended you.

While this story is certainly not a good situation, less or no government controls is better than more government controls. Because as soon as the government is involved, its role always expands, at which point you start getting into free speech and property rights issues. For exmaple, in Australia, they want to install filters "for the children." Trying to protect children is the right thing to do, but does it require the kind of things their government is talking about?

Privacy would be even less secure with government controls. If they actually get any data, they could use the ad and social networking data and match it with addresses, social security numbers and criminal offenses. They could monitor your browsing habits. Not because they desire to sell you something or tailor their marketing, but to make sure you're being a model citizen. There are government hacks out there that desire an end to internet anonymity. There are hacks out there that want to limit speech. If I post something critical of religion, John McCain would probably use "hate speech" laws to persecute me and thanks to the governmental controls, I get smashed that much easier.

I remember in 2001 when they (democrats and republicans included) passed the odious Patriot Act. I remember the debates over whether torture was legal or not. I remember watching the news as fabricated information was presented as justification for an invasion of a country that has become a quagmire. THe US is on a slippery slope, in my opinion. Obama's justice departmenrt hasn't closed Gitmo, hasn't rolled back any of the "state sectrets" BS, or stopped any of the domestic spying garbage. If you want to call me paranoid, fine. But I don't think what I'm saying is unfounded.

Also, it should be mentioned again: If you want something to be private, don't put it online.

I'm sure Facebook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32292920)

...thinks they are completely in the right about this. I forget who, but someone high up there said the equivalent of "a user grants consent to Facebook just by joining the site". If they think it applies to why they can do what they want with your privacy settings, and I'm sure they think it applies here too.

After the last change I deactivated my facebook account, then reactivated it a few days later, but removed all information I didn't want to share with the world. Problem is I'm sure they have all my original data backed up somewhere. Never going to trust them again with my information. I suggest everyone else do the same.

Um... (1)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293070)

Is it really that big of a surprise? I mean seriously it's been pretty clear for a while now (at least according to /.) that Facebook is pretty much handing out private user data to whoever asks.

OOhhh (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 4 years ago | (#32293166)

Not Again, I told everyone NOT to take that RED pill.

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