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Why Facebook Won't Stop Invading Your Privacy

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the up-and-to-the-right dept.

Facebook 219

GMGruman writes "Every few weeks, it seems, Facebook is caught again violating users' privacy. A code error there, rogue business partners there. The truth, as InfoWorld's Bill Snyder explains, is that Facebook will keep on violating your privacy, no matter what its policies say, what promises it makes, or how shocked it claims to be at the latest incident. The reason is simple: Selling personal information on its users is how it makes money, and Facebook is above all a business."

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Well, duh. (5, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974228)

Selling personal information on its users is how it makes money, and Facebook is above all a business.

Why is this news? Nothing to see here, move on please...

Re:Well, duh. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974276)

Slow news day?

Re:Well, duh. (2, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974358)

Agreed. Facebook won't give up invading users' privacy until they get replaced by a site that cares about user privacy. And I can guarantee that that caring attitude will last precisely long enough to bury Facebook as a competitor before they start doing exactly the same thing. Users just have to accept they can have privacy or Facebook, but not both.

Re:Well, duh. (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974682)

Agreed. Facebook won't give up invading users' privacy until they get replaced by a site that cares about user privacy.

I think you mean "until they go out of business." The reason that they go out of business isn't terribly important, but as long as they're in business, this is the business they're in.

Re:Well, duh. (1)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974822)

Well, where is it.

Diaspora: non finished.

Appleseed - no traction.
http://opensource.appleseedproject.org/ [appleseedproject.org]
Not sexy enough.

What else?

Re:Well, duh. (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975048)

Help with Diaspora? GitHub is set up. I just set up my pod yesterday. Help be part of the solution by testing and suggesting changes/fixes.

Re:Well, duh. (4, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974890)

I am cynical, but if a site comes along that does respect user privacy, they won't make the ad revenue, unless other funding is obtained.

FB does not make a dime from the people who have accounts with them, other than the gift services. The real customers are the advertisers and the developers like Zygna. To FB, account-holders are considered whining maggots, a necessary evil so advertisers can be handed their information and in return, hand FB cash.

TANSTAAFL. Want to know how to change this? Have a social networking site paid for by either subscription fees, or by grants from governments/universities/funds in return for privacy/security guarantees of user data?

Re:Well, duh. (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975166)

Agreed. Facebook won't give up invading users' privacy until they get replaced by a site that cares about user privacy.

And such a site would not survive without eventually pulling the same tricks or charging their users somehow. I'm guessing the server resources needed to run facebook are not small. Something distributed like Diaspora might work but only if everyone runs their own server (so they are not trusting a service who may sell the data anyway) and installs security updates promptly (otherwise Joe Bloggs will get exploited and immediately all his info and anything the accounts on his server has access to).

And I can guarantee that that caring attitude will last precisely long enough to bury Facebook as a competitor before they start doing exactly the same thing.

Exactly. Either that or the users will have to pay, and that'll never happen.

Users just have to accept they can have privacy or Facebook, but not both.

Or you could just make sure facebook doesn't have any data that you care about them selling. They can have my occasional rant about what is in the news, they can have the pictures of my cat, they can have my faked personal details and the few genuine bits of information (which amounts to part of my name, the people I'm connected to and the few things I've clicked "like" on).

If you don't put anything on there that you don't want made public, all is well. Unless of course you consider the data about you that can be mined from your contacts postings of course...

Re:Well, duh. (3, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975186)

Agreed. Facebook won't give up invading users' privacy until they get replaced by a site that cares about user privacy. And I can guarantee that that caring attitude will last precisely long enough to bury Facebook as a competitor before they start doing exactly the same thing. Users just have to accept they can have privacy or Facebook, but not both.

I don't think this is limited to facebook.

Our privacy has been successively eroded over the past 20 years since companies realised how valuable information about their customers could be. We have gained many "free" services as a result of this that we otherwise would have had to pay for, but we have don so under the small print proviso that we would be allowing them to make money by selling information gleaned from watching us.

Even before the current days of the web customer loyalty cards were built on this premise. They could give us a small discount on our shopping in return for the data they could gather on us as a result of us identifying ourselves every time we purchased something.

The only way facebook would ever be overtaken by another company that did not behave this way would be if people cared enough to leave because of it, I have sneaky feeling that most people do not.

Re:Well, duh. (1, Redundant)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974426)

Well, quite, but I don't think "duh" really captures it.

Duuh. Duuuuh. Duuuuuh DUUUUUUUUUUUH!

For extra points, add "spazz face". I mean, really, this is a "Bakers secretly intend to continue turning flour into bread" level revelation.

Re:Well, duh. (5, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974510)

I find myself re-iterating this fact to my family members every month.

See, yesterday or the day before the Wall Street Journal published an article, I guess they sent someone in and investigated the whole Facebook Application scheme, and found that 10 out of the top 10 developers are selling the information they gather and that it's not unusual for LOTS of Facebook apps to do so. This is technically a breach in the "privacy policy" set forth by facebook, but no one has ever done anything about it, ever, so its still rampant.

Of course, my mother works downtown in a nice tall skyscraper and she catches a glimpse of this, catching the words like "Facebook - Privacy - Security - Breach - Applications - Farmville" so she went and formed her own little news snippet in her head completely different from whats actually going on. She sends an email to the entire family along the lines of "Facebook announced that some popular apps like Farmville have been hacked, so double check your personal/financial info to make sure none of your banking credentials were stolen!"

My first reaction was a double take with a massive head jerk thinking that the makers of Farmville (Zynga? w/e) had managed to make their application place tracking cookies or other devices in the browser that could do simple keylogging and report back to their server. I immediately pull up my browser and start searching for anything regarding the subject matter - only to find nothing but that Wall Street Journal Article.

So I had politely drafted up an email to everyone in that email explaining the whole privacy issue with Facebook right now - making careful to note that their computer hasn't been hacked by accessing a facebook app - but any information they've put on Facebook is essentially on there, has probably been sold to advertising companies, and can't be removed.

I can't seem to get it to stick...

Re:Well, duh. (4, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975230)

That's an unfortunate chain of events. When you explain the facts and the "OMG, they're hacking my bank accounts" panic fades away, the truth winds up seeming a lot less grim. People may not be able to work up the appropriate levels of concern. Relief you haven't been shot may keep you from reacting to the fact you're being robbed.

Re:Well, duh. (3, Informative)

Glendale2x (210533) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975236)

I can't seem to get it to stick...

Because, in the end, users do not want privacy. They want their Facebook, Gmail, et al for free, and are unable or unwilling to make the connection that "free" has a non-monetary price to them. These companies know this and will continue to do whatever they can get away with to make the money that keeps it "free" to the audience.

Re:Well, duh. (3, Insightful)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975322)

I can't seem to get it to stick...

you can lead a brain to knowledge but you can't make it think.

Re:Well, duh. (-1, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974676)

Especially since Google is so much worse yet inexplicably has defenders on Slashdot.

Re:Well, duh. (1)

sortia (1191847) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975090)

But Google are up front and honest about any information they sell, I do not know of occasions where Google have breached their privacy policy. (bar possibly a few grey area's re wifi sniffing)
Do you know of occasions where Google has broken its own privacy policy? (Genuine question)

Re:Well, duh. (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974838)

Bet me to it - what else can you say ?

Shocking. (2)

2names (531755) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974240)

No really. Don't let the deadpan delivery fool you into thinking I am not shocked. I am. Really.

Re:Shocking. (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974274)

This.

Uh (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974254)

duh?

Don't use Facebook (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974286)

It is really quite easy. Many of us get along quite nicely not using Facebook.

Re:Don't use Facebook (1)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974422)

I don't use it either, but the calling of the dark side with promises of friends, fun and casual sex is powerful.

It is articles like this that are setting me straight. Thanks /. !

Re:Don't use Facebook (1)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974798)

I don't use it either, but the calling of the dark side with promises of friends, fun and casual sex is powerful.

It is articles like this that are setting me straight. Thanks /. !

Maybe time to make a profile. Keep the info false and see what happens. I am sure I would not be the first to have a mostly false facebook, myspace, linkedin, etc. profile.

Re:Don't use Facebook (1)

balaband (1286038) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974888)

What's the point? False profile is still going to get true data (contacts, discussions, tagged photos...).

I don't think that it would take that much to find real data when they see that you are "friend" with couple of people that are family members, and that other people are addressing you with same name

Re:Don't use Facebook (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974930)

Be careful, it might violate the FB TOS. And then the feds would try to give you a hole new meaning to casual sex.

Re:Don't use Facebook (1)

funaho (42567) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975294)

Be careful, it might violate the FB TOS. And then the feds would try to give you a hole new meaning to casual sex.

The Feds only care about the hole that is involved.

Wish I could get along so easy (1)

lavagolemking (1352431) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975372)

Many of us get along quite nicely not using Facebook.

If only my friends (and parents) would tolerate and respect that. It's hard when everyone you know uses Facebook and shuns you for not being their "Facebook friend" because you're the one weirdo who refuses to create a Facebook account, never mind privacy concerns. No, I still haven't created a Facebook profile (and won't), but I also still take a lot of flak for it the few circumstances my friends are willing to talk to me. It's like you're free to not do business with a company, only as long as you're willing to give up aspects of your life (like friendship) you used to get for free.

Why Facebook Won't Stop Invading Your Privacy (1, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974310)

Because it's a perv?

We should be used to it by now (4, Interesting)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974316)

When Facebook announces new privacy-preserving settings for its users, what they mean is "we have implemented a new zero-day exploit that will allow hackers to steal all your info with a simple script and sell it all off on the internet with very little effort."

Re:We should be used to it by now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974474)

It's always easier to ask for forgiveness then it is to get permission.

Re:We should be used to it by now (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974720)

It's always easier to ask for forgiveness then it is to get permission.

Nah, it's easier to do neither. And a good business model, apparently.

Re:We should be used to it by now (1)

ortholattice (175065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975360)

When Facebook announces new privacy-preserving settings for its users, what they mean is "we have implemented a new zero-day exploit that will allow hackers to steal all your info with a simple script and sell it all off on the internet with very little effort."

s/zero-day exploit/API/; s/hackers/business partners/

True, hackers will also occasionally discover how to do it, but that of course isn't intentional, since there's no profit for Facebook.

To quote someone on Metafilter: (5, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974332)

If you're not paying for the service, you are the product, not the customer.

Re:To quote someone on Metafilter: (4, Insightful)

technomom (444378) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974420)

Really successful businesses are able to make you pay for the service, PLUS sell your data (or eyeballs). See the publishing industry (up until about 1999) and television.

Re:To quote someone on Metafilter: (4, Informative)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974710)

Really successful businesses are able to make you pay for the service, PLUS sell your data (or eyeballs). See the publishing industry (up until about 1999) and television.

You're correct, but the problem with Facebook is that it needs you to share lots of information in order for them to sell it to others. It's well known that opt-in services, whilst being great for consumer privacy, typically have a lousy take-up rate. I'm amazed at the number of people who have completely open profiles, probably because they didn't know that they were like that.

Therefore it is in Facebook's interest (and their bottom line) to ensure that you have to opt-out and preferably in a way which is convoluted enough to make you not bother but not so convoluted that they're accused of being evil*.

Their goal of helping your connect with friends has long gone as the functionality available today is more than adequate for that purpose. All new features added in the last year or two are solely geared around you sharing more information that can be sold.

(* with the exception of Facebook Places, which they've blatantly decided that you cannot block check-ins from your friend stream without completely blocking the friend - presumably in the hope that you'll be persuaded to actually use the service)

In other news... (4, Insightful)

gorzek (647352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974378)

...water is wet, the sky is blue, and Elvis is still dead.

Re:In other news... (5, Funny)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974468)

No, Elvis is not dead, he just went home.

Re:In other news... (4, Funny)

gorzek (647352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974520)

I just knew that would be the first reply I got. Thank you, Slashdot, for not letting me down.

hmm (1, Flamebait)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974380)

Advertising needs to be HEAVILY regulated. Regulate it like nuclear waste. Advertising also needs severe first amendment restrictions.

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974432)

Nothing and no one should have first amendment restrictions.

Re:hmm (1, Troll)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974546)

when advertising is using our knowledge of the brain, to short circuit peoples decision making, or to compel them to buy things, i think a restriction is needed. remember, its freedom of speech for the people, not the corporations.

Re:hmm (4, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974574)

Nothing and no one should have first amendment restrictions.

FIRE!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, @11:51AM(#33974432) rapes babies and strangles puppies!

The military is conducting an operation at coordinates x-y at 11:00AM (EST) on October 22.

Corporations funneling money into political campaigns are merely expressing their political opinions!

Need any other examples?

Re:hmm (3, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974896)

Freedom of speech is about expressing beliefs and opinions and facts, that is what the ruling about "FIRE" is all about you are not free to tell blatant false hoods when they could case clear and present danger. This is also how liable, defamation, and slander laws are still permissible.

Beyond this there is no reason to curb freedoms of speech. The whole corporate campaign donations thing is a red herring. That ruling in and of it self is correct. The problem there if you will is the legal fiction that corporations are people and therefore can hide behind the bill of rights in the first place. Corporations are nothing like people:

they don't die eventually as people do

you can't jail them when the misbehave

because their size, wealth, and resources vary so widely as compared with individuals they don't have an equal sensitivity to fines and other defined civil penalties.

If you want to fix this country (USA) for real one place to start would be getting rid of the legal fiction corporations are people, drafting up a fare corporate bill of rights, which might leave some limitations on things like speech.

 

Facebook is NOT violating privacy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974392)

I'm sure this will be an unpopular post, but Facebook is NOT violating privacy.

Really, if you post something on the internet and expect it to be private, you are an idiot. You can't reasonably expect privacy on someone else's servers. Once you release information in the wild, you have no control over what happens to it. None. Those privacy settings mean jack shit. They are only veils. In fact, those privacy settings aren't even guaranteed.

If you don't want people to know something about you, don't post it on the internet. It really is THAT simple. If you don't want the evidence to make it to your wife, your boss, or whatever, don't put that evidence in an archivable medium AT ALL. And lastly, if you don't like the way Facebook uses your information, DON'T USE THE GOD DAMN SITE. If you aren't using it, they can't "violate" your "privacy."

Re:Facebook is NOT violating privacy (5, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974464)

I'm sure this will be an unpopular post, but Facebook is NOT violating privacy.

Really, if you post something on the internet and expect it to be private, you are an idiot. You can't reasonably expect privacy on someone else's servers. Once you release information in the wild, you have no control over what happens to it. None. Those privacy settings mean jack shit. They are only veils. In fact, those privacy settings aren't even guaranteed.

If you don't want people to know something about you, don't post it on the internet. It really is THAT simple. If you don't want the evidence to make it to your wife, your boss, or whatever, don't put that evidence in an archivable medium AT ALL. And lastly, if you don't like the way Facebook uses your information, DON'T USE THE GOD DAMN SITE. If you aren't using it, they can't "violate" your "privacy."

Bullshit. When you do online banking, you expect your information to remain private. When you click a box on Facebook that claims to protect your privacy, it dammed well better.

Re:Facebook is NOT violating privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974784)

And when you click a box saying "YES, I want to share my information with this 3rd party service", you probably shouldn't be surprised that your information gets shared with that 3rd party service, which was the entire "privacy leak" people here were hyperventilating about the past few days.

Re:Facebook is NOT violating privacy (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974850)

No, when I do online banking I expect privacy because if I don't get it I will take my money somewhere else. The bank makes money on the money I put in the bank.

Facebook makes money on stuff I put in facebook, but I can't take it out once I put it in.

Re:Facebook is NOT violating privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33975044)

> If you aren't using it, they can't "violate" your "privacy."

Actually they do. Facebook have a database entry on me, and a list of email addresses they think I have, a list of likely friends, and photos they think I'm in, even though I've never used the service. They do this by reading through other people's address books who do use the service.

Deleted my account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974396)

Which is the very reason why I deleted my Facebook account.

Re:Deleted my account (1)

Fast Thick Pants (1081517) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974596)

Makes sense, but heavens, what did Slashdot ever do to you?

No one cares (5, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974402)

And that's what's so sad about this. When friends encouraged me to get on Facebook I told them about the profit model and why they shouldn't contribute to it, but they all had the same response, "who cares?" It was hard enough for them to understand why their personal information would even be profitable in the first place, but for them to actually care was impossible. Lets face it, Facebook users have the same view of privacy Zuckerberg has: they don't value it and they don't understand why anyone would (unless, of course, they had something to hide).

I value my privacy and I find Facebook to be the finest example of everything that is wrong with capitalism. But that's why I'm here on Slashdot and not there.

Re:No one cares (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974490)

What private information can facebook sell? My name? that's not private. My public posts? that's not private. Seriously, what private info do they sell and to who?

Re:No one cares (4, Funny)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974612)

My posts aren't supposed to be public. They are supposed to private, just between me and my 5,000 closest friends.

Re:No one cares (3, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974808)

Even the private messages that go between you and someone else on Facebook are still technically posted "To Facebook" so it is "Facebooks Data" and within "Facebooks Data collection" and permissable for them to sell or do whatever they want to.

But that's not really the thing. Your name IS private. When there are only two parties involved, yourself and someone else, and they ask you your name, you can choose not to disclose that information. This is where aliases online became popular to help anonymize people. Facebook discourages anonymizing and wants to identify people, makes it easier to aggregate their data.

When I log onto facebook and when my girlfriend log onto facebook, we'll see different advertisements. Why is that? Clearly they've collected enough information on me to know that I like video games and she likes Jewelry. Simple enough matter - perhaps thats just gender profiling? Well when I log on compared to my brother, I see ads for MMO's, he sees advertisements for sports and poker.

The point is that basically all the stuff about you, even stuff you don't generally make public - ends up getting grouped together into a profile that gets sold to advertisers so you are constantly bombarded by the stuff you are most likely to buy. Just by creating that profile, and then clicking on certain links - that info gets put to work profiling you. Hey, you like Mafia Wars? This kid probably likes the idea of Gangs and guns. Lets grab some related clothing and see if he clicks on the ad that says SALE!

Then, when someone messages you "Hey, whats your Phone #?" Facebook gets that info. When someone asks "Hey where's your house again?" They get your address. "Whats your email?" - yada yada yada.

The big fear everyone has is that this will go much farther reaching than advertising. Oh hey, you were looking up medical conditions, you have a self diagnosis app on facebook... Health Insurance company buys the info... Oh look your premiums are going to go up, they suspect you might have something. You came down with something? Well theres some searches you made 5 years ago that suggests it might have been present before buying the insurance, so no payout.

Things like that.

Re:No one cares (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974624)

If Facebook is the best example of everything that's wrong with capitalism, capitalism would appear to be a pretty good system. I doubt socialism is an inherently privacy-valuing system... it would seem to me that for a socialistic model to work, more of your privacy would have to be violated?

Re:No one cares (0, Flamebait)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974694)

Who cares. Your friends are right.

Unless you're an idiot (and there are lots of those) Facebook provides a useful service in exchange for harvesting some data. Facebook knows I like kayaking, sailing and photography, and it puts up some ads for those things. It also knows my name, e-mail address and the general area I live in. Whoopdee do.

Google also provides a useful service, and knows those things plus a hell of a lot of others, and also puts up ads.

Re:No one cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33975314)

Unless you're an idiot (and there are lots of those) Facebook provides a useful service in exchange for harvesting some data.

"idiot" is an odd way to spell "someone who values their privacy more than I do".

Re:No one cares (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975346)

Until they sell that information to an unscrupulous company or other group of individuals, who then come and rob your house while you're away on vacation.

It's happened more than once now and was made note of in the MSM, which is why several Senators and House members on Judicial + FCC/FTC oversight committees are starting to poke into the entire privacy affair concerning Facebook.

I strongly suspect you wouldn't be singing the same tune if it happened to you.

Correlating your Facebook info along with a service like PeekYou and Google Street View, will make it even easier for them to know exactly which house is yours, and who to expect to find there, when to expect them, and quite possibly what the expected contents of your house are.

Re:No one cares (1)

dasdrewid (653176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974736)

When I joined facebook in '04, it actually seemed like they cared about privacy. They had reasonable privacy controls, they made it easy to establish how much privacy you wanted on your profile, and they hadn't started selling ad-space of any kind, nor mentioned what their business model would really be. Unfortunately, by the time they began changing, selling user info etc., *everything* at school ran on facebook. *everything*. You couldn't be involved in student government, either as an official or just as a constituent, without being on facebook. Half the list-servs on campus, any clubs basically, switched over to facebook group messages. Saying you could do without facebook was essentially saying "you can take the entire social aspect of college and remove it. You can move off campus and never speak to any of your friends or be involved in any club or anything." If you had to ask about a party, it was assumed you hadn't been invited deliberately, not because you weren't on facebook. It was even worse when I was in school in England.

Being out of college, I avoid facebook like the plague. I sign in once every month or two. However, I get tagged in photos, websites, messages, etc at least once or twice a week, if not every day. And I can't just cut it off. There's a documentary who's production I've been following who didn't set up a website until a few weeks ago and which hasn't been updated since. It's for sale, but you could only find that out through facebook (I think they did actually update yesterday or something, so now you can get it at their website, I just checked.)

I too value my privacy, and find facebook to be the finest example of everything wrong with capitalism. Unfortunately, because of the power they wield in the sheer number of users, I can't be rid of it even if I decided to give up all those facebook only things (like the documentary) thanks to tagging, etc. I'm idling until either a) facebook does somehting really, really stupid (which I can't even fathom how stupid it would have to be for people to leave) or b) I can start help making diaspora an alternative for my friends and, eventually, all the things I find useful knowing about.

Re:No one cares (1)

ciaohound (118419) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974792)

I agree with your last points there, but not enough to stop me from creating a Facebook account. If my Facebook account gets sold out, well, I didn't reveal anything really private there anyway. But if my Slashdot ID were outed and linked by some app to my Facebook account, hrmmm, that wouldn't be pretty. I wonder if it could be done?

Re:No one cares (4, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974796)

Lets face it, Facebook users have the same view of privacy Zuckerberg has: they don't value it and they don't understand why anyone would (unless, of course, they had something to hide).

And they're 100% right -- for if they do not see value in their privacy, then their privacy has no value.

For those whose privacy does have value - they'll do as you do, and avoid Facebook et al entirely.

Re:No one cares (4, Interesting)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974950)

When friends encouraged me to get on Facebook I told them about the profit model and why they shouldn't contribute to it...

Wait... *why* shouldn't they contribute to it? You say that as if it's a given, but please, elaborate on this point for me.

Because it seems to me this is a classic example of a win-win situation: the users give information to Facebook, which Facebook deems valuable, and the users, in turn, receive a service they find useful.

Now, certainly people can choose whether they want to participate in that arrangement, and I can see why *you* shouldn't. But I fail to see why no one else should.

Re:No one cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33975138)

What is the problem? Facebook can give advertisers my name and friend's names. Even if I had something to hide, what difference would it make? I find this privacy argument incomprehensible. I like my privacy. I send bitchy replies to people who cc me into huge emails. I fill in fake details on forms. I've stropped at my boss for giving my 'phone number to a client. I still don't care that Facebook know's who my friends are.

This is why we can't have nice things, children! (3, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974434)

If you actually use your real name and personal information on any social networking site, then you are an idiot, plain and simple. You may not even be able to exercise damage control at this point by erasing everything and deleting accounts; it's all still out there somewhere and someone has it -- and in many cases, it's people you never even met in person who you allowed on your friends list in the neverending quest to have more "friends" than your buddies do.
I already know I'm going to get modded down to -1, Troll or -1, Flamebait for posting this, but you can't escape the cold hard truth that so many of you have not been wise, and now you're paying the price.

Re:This is why we can't have nice things, children (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974514)

Paying what price? huh? people keep saying shit like that, and yet no one can point to where facebook actually makes money from selling any private information.

Re:This is why we can't have nice things, children (1)

Push Latency (930039) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975248)

First, the parent poster to your comment didn't say that Facebook specifically makes money from selling private information. I heard it explained very well on NPR a day or so ago. I think this is more analogy than technical, but here goes:

1. Advertisers have been collecting information on your browsing habits for some time. Data has been stored without a distinct identifier. Picture a huge file with tons of very revealing data about you, with no actual name attached.

2. You provide your real name on Farcebook, click on a few things.

3. The identifying data in the URL of your referring location broadcasts your real name to advertisers.

4. Advertisers suddenly can put a distinct name the massive folder of online browsing habits they have been amassing.

5. Advertisers profit. They keep paying Farcebook to keep turning a blind eye. Farcebook profits. Everyone is happy, including the user who meant to do this when they signed up for the great new service that skewers your information at no cost to the user. ~ For me, the rub is that the service, from their perspective, *exists* solely to do the above. And yet they basically lie very openly to their users in stating that they are "shocked" that this kind of thing is going on. I think TFA addresses this frustration.

Re:This is why we can't have nice things, children (1)

zombieChan51 (1862028) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974648)

If you actually use your real name and personal information on any social networking site, then you are an idiot,

I use my real name and personal info on Facebook. I honestly don't care what they do with it. Most people don't care, the information they put on Facebook isn't really that much of a secret anyways.

Re:This is why we can't have nice things, children (0, Troll)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974834)

Let's see how you feel about that when you become a victim of indentity theft, or when the number of telemarketing calls you receive every month goes up by an order of magnitude. Let's see how comfortable you are with your private and personal information being used by marketers or scammers (not that much difference these days) to specifically target you. Let's see how you feel when your employer demands access to all your social networking pages and/or your job is put in jeopardy because there's something they don't like on them. Let's see how you feel when your entire life is put under the microscope by people you don't even know!

Oh and by the way: if you REALLY feel that way about it, then why not put up live internet cameras in your bedroom so we can watch you have sex with your wife? After all, you have nothing to hide and you honestly don't care with what anyone does with your personal information, right?

Re:This is why we can't have nice things, children (1)

zombieChan51 (1862028) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975308)

I've had a Facebook for 5 years, and a Myspace before that. I've never had any telemarketing calls, nor any signs of my identity being stolen. I don't mind if marketers are using my information to advertise me, at least they're adversing something I might be intrested in besides Penis Enlargment pills. There is nothing on my Facebook(or anywhere on the net that I posted) would ever put my job in jeopardy.

Oh and by the way: if you REALLY feel that way about it, then why not put up live internet cameras in your bedroom so we can watch you have sex with your wife?

just go to http://www.zombiegetsfreakywithchicka.net/ [zombiegets...chicka.net]

After all, you have nothing to hide and you honestly don't care with what anyone does with your personal information, right?
Right

Re:This is why we can't have nice things, children (5, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974742)

Why? Your name is generally a matter of public record. It's not private. Pretty much the opposite, in fact.

If you post any actual private information on a social networking site then you're taking a risk. You might be an idiot, or you might have weighted the costs and benefits and made an informed decision.

Re:This is why we can't have nice things, children (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974878)

..informed decision

Don't you see, that's my point: most people haven't made an "informed decision", they didn't even think about it! All my friends are doing it, I should do it too!

Re:This is why we can't have nice things, children (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974976)

So? Why do you feel the need to protect everyone?

And really, what are they losing? Probably the same stuff we've all already given to Google.

You did realize that Google collects information on you, right? And (assuming you use any Google services) you made an informed decision to use it, right?

Re:This is why we can't have nice things, children (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974780)

If you actually use your real name and personal information on any social networking site, then you are an idiot, plain and simple.

Well, except maybe linkedin.

Re:This is why we can't have nice things, children (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974998)

If you actually use your real name and personal information on any social networking site, then you are an idiot, plain and simple.

Because...?

Come on, the least you could do is, like, actually present an argument.

I already know I'm going to get modded down to -1, Troll or -1, Flamebait for posting this

Ahh, classic. The ol' "I know I'm going to get modded down for thus, but..." insurance game... it's amazing the idiot moderators actually fall for it. *sigh*

Zuckerberg is a Jew (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974450)

Jews only care about money
Zuckerberg is a Jew
Facebook makes tons of money selling information that you willingly give it
Facebook sells it
Zuckerberg profits from it
Facebook is part of the Zionist conspiracy

Jews are not saved and they found their prophet in profit.

the nature of the beast (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974452)

"No privacy" is (almost literally) coded into Facebook's DNA. The very premise of the site is that privacy is a thing of the past. The fact that this dovetails nicely with its business model of selling access to information is simply the reason it's financially successful.

Isn't that the point? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974466)

I thought the whole point of facebook was that you could put all your information online. You can't have your cake and eat it too, right?

gb (1)

gershonb (935331) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974480)

Maybe we should stop using facebook? do we really need a computer for social relations?

Re:gb (1)

mano.m (1587187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974786)

I do. I stay in touch with friends (real ones I know and care about from meatspace) in Vancouver, New York, Paris, Dubai, and Bangalore. I use it to send out mass invitations to events, share photos, and participate in conversations in a way email does not permit. Having all my information in one place organises my life and makes it simpler. Like it or not, Facebook has its uses.

The law still counts (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974484)

Unfortunately (for Facebook), there are some strong laws on privacy in many countries, including all of the EU.
Fines imposed might be outrageously high, and actually, if they were caught selling personal data, they would get in real trouble.

Facebook might be big and powerful. States are even bigger and more powerful. Ask Microsoft and how their disregard for lawmakers actually got them hit quite hard at the end.

Fecebook is free (0, Redundant)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974530)

If you don't like Fecebook invading your privacy, don't join...seems rather harsh but that is the only rationalization I can see Mark Zuckerberg coming up with at this point.

Re:Fecebook is free (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974782)

I think it's good to have Facebook users keeping up pressure on Facebook to keep things reasonable, but some data sharing is the price of using their service. Like any service provider, the clients should have a say in negotiating the price.

This point keeps getting made (3, Interesting)

SemperUbi (673908) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974534)

again and again; it's old news by now. But there are a whole lot of people who just don't seem to either get it or care. Facebook is really good at exploiting that ancient "be part of the pack or else you'll die" thing that got us through the Pleistocene era.

Frank Zappa said it best... (1)

stevegee58 (1179505) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974536)

You will obey me while I lead you
And eat the garbage that I feed you
Until the day that we don't need you
Don't got for help...no one will heed you
Your mind is totally controlled
It has been stuffed into my mold
And you will do as you are told
Until the rights to you are sold

These lyrics are about television, but if FZ were alive today he'd be saying the same about social media.

Lesson to take way: (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974554)

... is that your privacy has value (including monetary), which may be a great value in some cases.

It has value for yourself, if you decide / manage to keep it (or at least some). It also has value to data mining companies / advertising firms / governments etc, should you decide (or be 'forced') to give it away. And it has negative value (aka damage) in case you lose it unintentionally.

Which brings me to a logical conclusion: when not forced, it's stupid to give away your privacy for free. If some company wants private information from you, you should always make sure to get something in return: either money, extra convenience in using their product, some 'privileges' that others don't have etc, whatever you think is worth giving up the private info you're turning over. And similarly: if some party violates your privacy (eg. data breach), they should pay, period. Either through monetary compensation or otherwise. Because they made you lose something valuable. Same way someone that makes a dent in your car should have to pay because it takes money to repair or makes your car worth less.

The Zuckerborg (1)

macwhizkid (864124) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974638)

Listen! And understand! Zuckerborg is out there. He can't be bargained with! He can't be reasoned with! He doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until your privacy has been violated!

The trick... (1)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974654)

See, here's the trick: If you use a social networking site, don't post sensitive information. AHA! The penny's dropped! The most sensitive information anyone could get from my facebook site is the town I live in and relatives' names. No phone number, no address, no credit card numbers, nothing. So the bottom line is that any information facebook could sell about me is totally meaningless and most likely available all over the net anyway.

Re:The trick... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974864)

The most sensitive information anyone could get from my facebook site is the town I live in and relatives' names. No phone number, no address, no credit card numbers, nothing. So the bottom line is that any information facebook could sell about me is totally meaningless and most likely available all over the net anyway.

This. FB isn't violating my privacy, because my private information isn't on there to begin with. FB is for sharing. That's what it's there for. If you don't want something shared, don't put it on FB. Duh.

Paid subscriptions (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974724)

Facebook will have to man up and offer an ad-free / privacy-guaranteed subscriber model for $x dollars a month/year, before someone else does. Call it "Cadillac level service." I'd want this option before I'd ever consider getting an account, and I'd be more likely to "friend" someone if I knew they were paying extra for privacy.

.

Facebook's days of dominance are numbered (1)

The Dodger (10689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974726)

The same thing will happen to the Facebook social networking service as happened to the Compuserve electronic mail service. New, open protocols and standards will negate the network effects it currently enjoys, and it will become one of many inter-operative social networking platforms.

Losing your privacy doesn't cost you anything (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974762)

Facebook provides a service. The price of that service is information about users' online behavior and social networks. Paying that price is painless, and most people would contend that it's not even a payment. Loss of privacy? Nonsense. Privacy is what people expect in the bathroom, when they're changing their clothes, when they're on the phone. Facebook is effectively free for them - they are not giving up anything of value to use the service.

In other words, most people don't care if their public activities are recorded (as evidenced by the hunderds of millions of Facebook users). Credit card numbers, social security numbers, weight...that's what people want kept private.

Re:Losing your privacy doesn't cost you anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33975174)

In other words, most people don't care if their public activities are recorded (as evidenced by the hunderds of millions of Facebook users). Credit card numbers, social security numbers, weight...that's what people want kept private.

What about sexual preference? [arstechnica.com]

Fine them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974772)

Fine them for more than they gain with their practices, end of story.

Don't link to multipage articles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33974856)

...when there's a print [infoworld.com] option available!

As a bonus by selecting the print link you avoid much of the other crap and have a full screen paragraph width instead of the tiny one you get on the now linked page... Thinking is allowed, even encouraged.

Google's Orkut (1)

dfcamara (1268174) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974892)

I know because of network effect all you people don't care about Google's Orkut. But here in Brazil Orkut is quite popular, and evil or not evil aside, Google is well above average in trustworthiness. Sure the final solution must be some standard open social network.

Sites that collect no PII can't sell or leak it (2, Interesting)

Mr.TT (1689454) | more than 3 years ago | (#33974972)

A year ago, we launched a privacy site with the goal of providing a safe, secure, simple means to share information using end-to-end encryption. Without going into detail and without mentioning the name of the site, I can tell you that we succeeded and we have a small group of regular users. We don't have an advertising budget, so most users find us through google ("private secure encrypted"). Even those with no knowledge or understanding of how encryption works can figure out how to use this site. Since we collect no personal data, we have nothing to sell to advertisers. Eventually, there will be a nominal fee to use the highest privacy level ("secret"), but anyone creating an account this year will get to use the site free for life (or until the site is sold or terminated).

THE MOST MASSIVE DUH POSSIBLE!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33975012)

Facebook and other such sites on;y exist to collect and sell personal data! Any service they provide to users is secondary to that. They will never stop selling out their users no matter what thehy say!!!!!!!!

Hate-based fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33975206)

If a single company can be found that does not sell on private information, then selling private information cannot legitimately be said to be "in the nature of companies". If it is still said it should be nuanced to say "some do while others don't".

We can do this for groups of people, why throw that principle away for companies?

-1 Troll, because Slashdot is about as coloured as a bucket of red paint.

Why? Because people won't stop using it (4, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975256)

Since people keep using it, they're sending the message that they don't care about invasions of privacy. It's not too hard to figure out how to avoid this invasion: don't use the site.

"Privacy is Dead" Philosophy (3, Interesting)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#33975268)

One key part about it is that Facebook, and particularly Zuckerberg, is convinced that privacy is an illusory notion at best in today's world. Privacy was all some strange social construct that is now, or soon will be, thoroughly antiquated. It's an impediment to the future; a mental hangup. It's right up there with believing the Earth is flat and the sun revolves around us. The sooner we all realize this the better off we'll be.

Within this philosophy each move that Facebook makes isn't some sort of violation or theft. You can't steal what someone doesn't have. Instead, it is an object lesson to the unenlightened. I, for one, believe this is total bullshit. Then again, I'm also not on Facebook. The movers and shakers in technology have been all about this for a long time: dragging the masses kicking and screaming to that future only he has the genius to see. Usually, they have limited it to technical or economic matters, a'la Bill Gates. Or, like Steve Jobs, they have an overt social vision behind their technological heavy-handedness, but folks generally haven't been too offended by it. Zuckerberg is upping the ante in a dramatic way.
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