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Facebook Suspends Personal Data-Sharing Feature

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the digital-foot-in-mouth dept.

Facebook 140

Suki I writes "Facebook has 'temporarily disabled' a controversial feature that allowed developers to access the home address and mobile numbers of users. The social network suspended the feature, introduced on Friday, after only three days. The decision follows feedback from users that the sharing-of-data process wasn't clearly explained and criticism from security firms that the feature was ripe for abuse."

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Well... (5, Insightful)

Lose (1901896) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915694)

Tell users they can earn stuff to use on FarmVille, and people won't care so much anymore.

Re:Well... (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915800)

Tell users they can earn stuff to use on FarmVille, and people won't care so much anymore.

Exactly. How else can they send you relevant ads, texts and other crap if they don't know the address and phone number of your FramVille Farm? And don't try to tell me the address is "the internet" or "the cloud" 'cuz no marketing company will fall for that one ;-)

Re:Well... (0)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916542)

Isn't that how the market is supposed to work? Trade one thing (home phone number and address) for another (free crap on Farmville)? After all, it's not like they can't get your phone number and address in the phone directory.

Re:Well... (4, Informative)

scrib (1277042) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916770)

Actually, they can't. I don't have a landline, so I'm not in the phone directory.

They can, however, access public records and I got many letters congratulating me on my house purchase last year and offer to insure/protect/refinance my mortgage. They couldn't tell that I paid cash and don't have a mortgage which made their attempts to like like the were from someplace important all the more laughable. That was a minor nuisance, but at least they COULD NOT CALL ME! The fact that I own a house makes for pretty poor marketing data outside of pest control and lawn service fliers.

Facebook is a much richer and more intrusive source of advertising info. Primary email? Have some spam! Mobile number? IM offers! ASL? Creepy!
If I hadn't white-walled my facebook account already, this would have done it.

I agree that trading info for stuff is a perfectly valid market transaction. However, the user's information was being shared without the user's explicit consent and with no value to the user. I recognize that the USER isn't the OWNER of that information, facebook is, but I suspect most people don't realize that.
"You gave facebook this information?"
"Yes, but they are abusing it!"
"Do you understand the verb 'gave'?"

I simply do not trust facebook's application vetting process to work well enough to keep the information away from people with malicious intent.

Re:Well... (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916784)

What do you mean by "white-walled"?

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917488)

I suspect he mean's deleting all personal information, painting the black text white, as it were.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917674)

I think it's related to that style of tires they had back in the 70s.

That, or he meant "white-washed."

Re:Well... (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916982)

I agree that trading info for stuff is a perfectly valid market transaction. However, the user's information was being shared without the user's explicit consent and with no value to the user. I recognize that the USER isn't the OWNER of that information, facebook is, but I suspect most people don't realize that.

While I agree with you generally that Facebook should give adequate warning before sharing your personal information, my point was that the specific kind of information at issue is not really personal. Phone numbers and even street addresses are by definition meant to be accessible by other people, and at least where I live, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in your phone number or your street address. Which is why I don't list either on my Facebook account.

Most people have already given permission to the phone companies to disseminate their phone numbers, and your street address is similarly available to the wide world (as you noted in your post). Should this be changed? Maybe it should, but as of now, I don't think Facebook (in this instance) did anything particularly outside their rights.

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917140)

I hope you enjoy your junk mail and sms.
Maybe you can even get FREE!!11! offers over the phone.

Its an erosion of privacy, and your the sort of jackass that enjoys that apparently, I mean what do you have to hide.. amiright?

I have not now, or even been listed in a phone book. That information is MINE.
Ill break it down Dr. Seus style.

I could not, would not, want to share
I would not, could not, with advertisers.
I would not let them see my address
I would not let them see my phone
I would not share data with underhanded asses
I would not share with them anywhere.
I would not share my phone and address.
I do not like it, Sam-I-am.

Re:Well... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917346)

The genie is out of the bottle; all the available data has likely been mined and is now sitting in various db caches, waiting for a script to become demographic spam. I would hope that some brave attorney general would decide that this is a privacy breech an spank 1) Zuckerberg et al 2) that silly Goldman Sachs that won't sell #1's stock, in the USA, and 3) each of the organizations that gleaned private data. But it's unlikely to happen, even in my dreams.

Re:Well... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916864)

I kinda agree. I am a bit tired of people considering we should fight to protect the privacy of people who are giving it away without a thought and refuse to spend 5 minutes to learn anything about how internet works. Or, as Randall puts it better : http://xkcd.com/743/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Well... (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917020)

My impression from people I've spoken to about Facebook privacy issues is that they have a pretty good general idea of what they're giving away, and feel that it's a fair exchange. When FB does something underhanded, they raise a stink (often by joining a FB Group, natch) and FB backs down or they go modify their privacy settings.

Re:Well... (0)

MBaldelli (808494) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916952)

After all, it's not like they can't get your phone number and address in the phone directory.

I don't know how many times I see this bullshit spew whenever privacy and Facebook come up on /. Mention a landline to a lot of the twenty-somethings on FB and most of them will say, "oh yeah, my parents/grandparents have one of those." A lot of the twenty-somethings use cell phones as their primary contact telephone number and the last time I checked cell phone number are not in any published or online phone book.

So please, enough with the inane and incorrect rhetoric about "we can find you in the phone book". Only 40 somethings and older actually consider a land line a viable option for contact, younger than that, they normally like their mobiles.

Re:Well... (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917056)

Actually, you can look up cell phone numbers online, in most areas. Depends on your phone company. I used cell phone lookup sites as part of my job, before I went back to school. There is no legal reason why your cell company can't publish your name and phone number (and address if they want).

For most of us there is no reasonable expectation of privacy in your phone number or your street address. It's publicly available information.

Re:Well... (2)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917260)

Where can I find this cell phone phone book. All I see in a google search are listings to companies offering to sell that data. What do you recommend?
What providers does it offer, what countries does it work in, is it free?

Cause if its not free, and it doesn't offer my provider, or it doesn't work in my country. Then my cell # is not publicly available information.
A google search for my name doesn't bring up anything with my phone number, and a google search of my phone number only tells me what provider I have. (Which its wrong anyways, cause I've ported the number to a different carrier.)

Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (5, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915726)

As an applications developer, lacking this feature means that I cannot increase my budget to hire more programmers and produce a better product. Without the personal information I have nothing to sell to advertisers, and must rely on much lower advertisement rates and donations from users.

Users will suffer from lower-quality apps, and I'm sad that Facebook has taken this step. In a world of openness, this is a huge step backwards.

I don't want to go back to a "pay to play" internet. Please lobby FB to reenable these features if you also believe in keeping the internet free.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (4, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915770)

As an applications developer, lacking this feature means that I cannot increase my budget to hire more programmers and produce a better product. Without the personal information I have nothing to sell to advertisers, and must rely on much lower advertisement rates and donations from users.

Users will suffer from lower-quality apps, and I'm sad that Facebook has taken this step. In a world of openness, this is a huge step backwards.

I don't want to go back to a "pay to play" internet. Please lobby FB to reenable these features if you also believe in keeping the internet free.

This would be more convincing if there were any quality Facebook apps in existence. Don't worry, though. No lobbying is necessary. As always, Facebook will quietly re-enable the identity theft features as soon as the public's attention drifts elsewhere. Then you can get back to chipping away at privacy for the sake of profit.

I disagree (3, Funny)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915942)

I think that the "Spam your wall with requests for people to take this stupid test" application is very high quality indeed and would greatly be helped my knowing where I live.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916810)

One thing that might be helpful is simply to remove your phone number from your FB account, like I did.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917128)

Or don't put it there in the first place, like I did.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (2)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917328)

Lacking any method of time travel, this isn't an option for many people who thought they could innocently use Facebook Mobile by using their normal login information without their telephone number being displayed publicly or passed on to advertisers.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (2)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916984)

It's moot anyways.

Any Developer who wanted to sell private information had access to your personal info and copied it to their own personal database as soon as the info became available. The 3 days it took to revert down was basically just long enough for Zynga to update their tables. And just like Facebook never deleting your profile, the developer doesn't delete the data they had access to.

So I mean, re-enabling the feature would only be there to keep their data up to speed

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (2)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915842)

I don't want to go back to a "pay to play" internet. Please lobby FB to reenable these features if you also believe in keeping the internet free.

I believe in keeping the internet free ... of developers like you ;-) Nothing personal (as in name, address & phone number).

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915940)

I second that...

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (2)

Suki I (1546431) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915982)

I don't want to go back to a "pay to play" internet. Please lobby FB to reenable these features if you also believe in keeping the internet free.

I believe in keeping the internet free ... of developers like you ;-) Nothing personal (as in name, address & phone number).

The first comment on my FB page about this was

"Lee Alford - Isn't it kinda of stupid to put your home address and mobile numbers on a public site? Just because there is a blank, doesn't mean you have to fill it in?"

I agree, but I did have to give them a cell number to get my pick for a user name. Pretty sure that is not what they are talking about in that app.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916896)

I agree, but I did have to give them a cell number to get my pick for a user name.

You mean a facebook.com/SukiI username?
Because I'm pretty sure I put a question mark in the phone # blank and never looked back.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (0)

Utini420 (444935) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915858)

I believe I speak for everyone when I say,
tough shit.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915894)

I'd rather have a low quality app than have my phone number and address in the hands of telemarketers, thank you very much. The 'net isn't free if I have to surrender personal information to developers of your ilk just so you can make a buck. It's stuff like that that keeps me off of facebook and makes me leery of getting a cell phone.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915920)

You gave your phone number and address to facebook, so its your dumb-assed fault.

The rest of us have no sympathy for you, and don't care what "personal information" facebook gives out to its partners, because we have assumed all along that facebook gives 100% of information to its partners.

[pointing at you] haa ha!

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916310)

The problem is only 10% of facebook users are like you. the other 90% blindly fill in all blanks with all available information provided Just like the good sheeple the government ahs trained them to be

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916500)

Moooo....

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916588)

People who give out their personal information to facebook, are the same people who will also give it out to someone else.

So what you describe as a 'problem' actually isn't. The argument then devolves into who you get to vilify for what is essentially inevitable. If not facebook, then twitter, google, microsoft, apple, ...

So again I say "haa ha!"

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916802)

Facebook has already hit me with a pink screen requiring my mobile number to unlock my account once. My response was to abandon Zynga games, restart another Facebook account and abandon the old one.

It's apparently a common problem when multiple people log in from the same computer. Several folks with families on one computer responded to my post on Zynga saying they'd all had the same problem. FB requires one phone per person and they had kids playing- no mobile so everything was lost.

I use FB a lot less now too.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915976)

Why are people modding this as funny? Is it an inside joke that depends upon me being part of the clique, part of BadAnalogyGuy's inner circle, to recognize that his tongue was jammed in his cheek as he wrote?

I certainly hope he was kidding.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916048)

Because it is.

Yes.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34916060)

And whose cheeks are your tongue jammed in?

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

WraithCube (1391567) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916922)

He was kidding, and apart from simply recognizing the username and his common slashdot posts, you can guess the sarcastic nature of the post from the fact that every one of his arguments is a commonly expressed opinion here on slashdot turned on its head. From hiring more developers, to creating a better quality product, to finding alternate ways to make money off a product apart from charging users, to openness and internet freedom.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

Gripp (1969738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916036)

we already click ads, allow (often unknowingly) devs to track our every move on the web and buy items via microtransactions. something as dangerous as giving out our personal contact information just doesn't seem necessary.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916088)

Perhaps it is because I am feeling ill this morning- but I could see this being taken seriously

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34916400)

If it bothers you, please post your phone number and address so we can contact you with comforting advertisements to enrich your life experience.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (2)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916590)

Sure. You can find my phone number and address (well not right now, I don't have a landline) at canada411.com.

I'm not sure what everyone is getting into a snit about. Landline numbers (and increasingly cell numbers) and street addresses are available online to anyone who can point a browser at a phone directory. Unless you go out of your way to get your phone provider to exclude this info from the directory, it's publicly available information.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916966)

Landline numbers (and increasingly cell numbers) and street addresses are available online to anyone who can point a browser at a phone directory.

[Citation Needed]
I'd love to see this public directory of cell phone numbers you think exists.
Maybe Canada works differently than the rest of the world?

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917066)

Google is your friend. Use it.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917324)

I looked couldnt find one, where is it at?

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34916426)

So you need my home phone number to sell to advertisers to afford to build crappy facebook apps? Get a real job. A huge step backwards? This feature was only available for 3 days, this has nothing to do with keeping the internet free, it has everything to do with spam and you know it, there is no reason you need my cell number to make a facebook app.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916490)

That's OK, I started a thread with friends on FB to change all that personal information to fake info to screw with scumbag app developers.

There is now another 350 people on facebook that has their home address as 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC and 202-456-1414 as their phone number

Basically you are a FOOL if you give a website your real info if it's not being used to send items you bought to your home.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916708)

Basically you are a FOOL if you give a website your real info if it's not being used to send items you bought to your home.

You can't really have anything delivered to you without an address, true. But that doesn't necessarily mean those sites wouldn't sell you out either. I still agree with you that one shouldn't give up something for nothing.

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (1)

Imagix (695350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917190)

As an applications developer, lacking this feature means that I cannot increase my budget to hire more programmers and produce a better product. Without the personal information I have nothing to sell to advertisers, and must rely on much lower advertisement rates and donations from users.

Users will suffer from lower-quality apps, and I'm sad that Facebook has taken this step. In a world of openness, this is a huge step backwards.

I don't want to go back to a "pay to play" internet. Please lobby FB to reenable these features if you also believe in keeping the internet free.

I can't decide if this was serious or not..... :O

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917440)

"quality facebook apps" "produce a better product" - funny

considering a facebook app as a quality product or event a product - comedy gold

Re:Bad decision. I hope they reverse it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917512)

I am not crying for your inability to get at users personal data. Go find another job or other programming to make money and leave personal data alone. Your want is selfish and does nothing for the broader good.

Didn't see this one coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915732)

I believe we called it.

Meanwhile (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34915816)

3 days was enough for most of the big apps to collect most of the data from the nearly entire userbase.

Re:Meanwhile (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916068)

Exactly what I was thinking. Three days is an eternity to have such things like that open. Harvesting the data has already occurred and cannot be "undone."

Still, people stupid enough to put that information in there ALMOST deserve to have it exploited. I say almost because "ignorance/stupidity" is not a valid excuse for exploiting people. Children are ignorant and stupid and yet we have laws that say it is rape to have sex with them simply because they aren't capable of making a good and informed decision about whether or not it is good for them. So clearly, at some level, we recognize that ignorant and stupid people need to be PROTECTED from exploitation and I don't think age should be the only factor worthy of consideration.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916880)

There is no consistant, objective, scalable way to measure something as nebulous as naivete. The way to protect people from stupidity and ignorance is to educate them so that they are no longer ignorant or stupid. Legislating against exploiting stupidity is as intractible as the "war on drugs" and the "war on terror", and a "war on exploitation" would be just as wasteful and detrimental to society as all the other bullshit "wars". The billions wasted on such a war would be better spent on an improved education system.

Re:Meanwhile (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917774)

And yet, there are consumer protection laws in place and I think we need more. The fact is, there is still far too much about ourselves that we don't have access to or control over. And when there are errors, it is between nearly impossible and completely impossible to get them corrected. (For example, credit report related issues.)

So as we move forward, entire industries are developing surrounding the collection and sale of personal information for literally any purpose imaginable.

NO ONE can know everything about their vulnerabilities as far as this kind of thing goes, not even you. If you can't see that you are being made vulnerable "for someone else's gain" then I sincerely hope your ID is spoofed and you have a very difficult time clearing up the trouble it causes your life. It can and does happen. Do you think there is some sort of magic that protects you?

Not only do we need education -- not disputing that -- but we also need LIMITS on what people can do. If you ask me, the whole credit reporting system needs to go away. Business should check credit the old fashioned way.

Re:Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917178)

Why on god's brown earth would you possibly want to give a website your home address and telephone number unless they were going to ship you something? For what reason would a site like Facebook even implement something like that? People who give up their privacy and security that easily should be shot for the safety of the rest of the republic.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917320)

It already has my real name.

Using my real name my address and phone number can be found using a simple search in.....

The fecking phone book. (Even mobile phone number as those are listed by default in norway :p)

Do I worry? No.

The only bad thing that has happened in the 10 years it has been available that way was a "secret admirer" sending me a "seventh heaven vibrating buttplug" in the mail... That was an amusing package to open... But no harm done. Just amusement...

I can stop looking for Zuckenber's personal info (1)

a2wflc (705508) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915972)

Mine's empty but I was going to fill it in with his address and phone.

Facebook's Unified Messaging (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915984)

Consider again Facebook's recent proposal that they become the new unified messaging service. Every email, text and IM goes through them.

And consider again how many times Facebook opens up private data and hands it out.

Shocked! (4, Funny)

Painted (1343347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34915992)

I, for one, am shocked, shocked! that Facebook of all companies has introduced something so invasive!

Re:Shocked! (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916664)

Privacy violations??? In Casablanca???

Re:Shocked! (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916782)

I, for one, am shocked, shocked! that Facebook of all companies has introduced something so invasive!

Here are your customer contacts, sir.

I wonder... (5, Insightful)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916018)

Why is it so hard for people to understand that with Facebook and other so called free stuff that they are the product that is being sold.

Re:I wonder... (2)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916728)

Why is it so hard for people to understand that with Facebook and other so called free stuff that they are the product that is being sold.

The general public doesn't understand the power, or the value, of information. Part of that is the fundamental misunderstanding of the technology involved. There's a belief that there is anonymity in a crowd. And we continue to look at our systems as "computers" when computations aren't nearly as interesting as the ability to index and sort. Get a label on someone (or better yet, many labels) and they stand out from even the largest crowd (or they become parts of very tailored, selected crowds that they weren't aware they're in). Facebook is an application with which people label themselves.

or maybe... (1)

bjk002 (757977) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917640)

too much value is placed on such information, and the information gathering, grouping, etc... is not as infallible, nor as interesting as one might think?

Re:I wonder... (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916756)

We understand it, but that does not mean that we have to quietly accept every change, that we're not allowed to contact them and say "Woah, hang on - if that's the price then I for one am not willing to pay it!"

Re:I wonder... (1)

pentrose (1414005) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916892)

Zuckerburger makes the perfect cherubic CEO. He looks like someone you could trust with all the details of your life. Sort-of a techno-psychologist, "So, tell me about yourself." What gets me is how well they do repentance. They temporarily suspend burglarizing your life with some kind of, "Oh Gosh!" And, "Really?" So there he is, many people like pastor Zuckerburger; if they only knew.

Re:I wonder... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917156)

In some ways, it is as if the story of Hansel and Gretel was updated for the 21st century...

Re:I wonder... (1)

hierophanta (1345511) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917402)

because, generally, people have a very low self worth. thank the media for skewed perceptions of what it is to be valuable. You are probably too fat or not good looking enough to be of value?

Re:I wonder... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917682)

Why is it so hard for people to understand that with Facebook and other so called free stuff that they are the product that is being sold.

Because Google doesn't sell user information (they instead use it to sell you shit) everyone thinks FB is the same.

Then again selling ones self has been a big part of the Facebook culture since its inception.

3 days??? (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916022)

Damage is done... privacy is no more... They have your info after 3 days.

This is the time when I really like to say I don't use facebook.

Re:3 days??? (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916540)

Damage is done... privacy is no more... They have your info after 3 days.

I think your privacy was gone as soon as you put it in there.

The rule is simple, don't put your personal details into something where they are not needed. I have a facebook account to keep in touch with some friends, and I don't care about most of the privacy violations they try to do. Because there is nothing about me in there. 1 photo, my name, spam email address, and that's it. The only websites that know my home address are the ones that need to physically send me stuff.

A few days ago... (3, Interesting)

dunezone (899268) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916032)

A few days ago there were comments on Slashdot on how they will keep probing at making user data more visible to applications. When they go too far they will take a step back and wait it out to try again.

The decision follows feedback from users that the sharing of data process wasn't clearly explained and criticism from security firms that the feature was ripe for abuse.

So basically they will just wait another few months, have a better explanation(an added sentence), and try again.

It really is a shame what Facebook has become. I joined back in 2005 when you had to register your account to a university with a university email address. Not many people had it, it felt like a unique little club that only a limited number of people could get into. The security was better in the sense that you had almost full control over anything anyone could see.

But now anyone can have a FB page from your grandmother to a company, it lost that unique feeling of being part of a club that was closed to outsiders.

I sanitized my account about 2 years ago with fake information except for my name and two photos. When they released the ability to backup your account I tried it and to my surprise all that was left was my sanitized information. Could old photos and posts be in their system? Yeah, but nothing that could really be used against me, although others that just posted whatever they wanted will not fair so well.

Re:A few days ago... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916408)

But now anyone can have a FB page from your grandmother to a company, it lost that unique feeling of being part of a club that was closed to outsiders.

Once again, yesterday's Dilbert [dilbert.com] seems apropos here. I definitely seems like every company nowadays has a Facebook page and thinks it is necessary for business. I've yet to encounter one I can't do business with without Facebook, but the first time I do that company is never going to see me again.

Even my 70 year old mother has come to the conclusion that Facebook is something that is a little sketchy and should have the minimum possible information in it -- when senior citizens start to realize that, you gotta figure the writing is on the wall.

As long as their revenues come from selling your personal information to advertisers, this will only get worse. I assume Facebook doesn't directly make money from their users -- I've never used it, but I don't know what the users would be paying for.

Re:A few days ago... (2)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916486)

I still find it amazingly stupid that now in printed adverts you get.

"www.[the company's website].com
JOIN US ON FACEBOOK!"

There are all too many instances of this happening. Even 'serious' companies like 5 star hotel firms are doing it now - not just the pseudo-hip companies.

Re:A few days ago... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916918)

There are all too many instances of this happening. Even 'serious' companies like 5 star hotel firms are doing it now - not just the pseudo-hip companies.

Well, they've got, what ... several hundred million users or so? I can see why marketers would realize they can't ignore it.

It has become inarguably pervasive. Twitter seems to be about as frequent on the web pages of pretty much every company as well.

To me it's like IRC ... and I got bored with that in the 90s, so I've always looked at Facebook as kinda lame. But, hey, I also can't counter the fact that everybody else seems to think it's indispensable for day-to-day life ... I'm apparently in the minority.

Re:A few days ago... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917400)

Even my 70 year old mother has come to the conclusion that Facebook is something that is a little sketchy and should have the minimum possible information in it -- when senior citizens start to realize that, you gotta figure the writing is on the wall.

"Senior citizens" are likely to be the first to realize that. In fact, most will have realized it from the start. It's the twenty-somethings that publish pictures of themselves having sex in a parking lot and then are shocked and outraged when their bosses see them. People with a bit of life experience know that the way to keep secrets is to not tell them to anyone.

Re:A few days ago... (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917148)

But now anyone can have a FB page from your grandmother to a company, it lost that unique feeling of being part of a club that was closed to outsiders.

I sanitized my account about 2 years ago with fake information except for my name and two photos. When they released the ability to backup your account I tried it and to my surprise all that was left was my sanitized information. Could old photos and posts be in their system? Yeah, but nothing that could really be used against me, although others that just posted whatever they wanted will not fair so well.

I joined in spring 2004 with fake personal information. At the time I was absolutely shocked that other members were signing up with real names and then posting personal information and linking to photos. I interpreted that as an indication that Facebook was a site for the web's outsiders, the people naive enough that they thought connecting online and offline identities was a good idea. I saw it as a club for the ignorant and since I cared about privacy, I left. Now it's bigger than that, so heavily used that a lot of people just can't ignore it regardless of their thoughts on privacy, but there's still no reason for anyone to add a phone number or address.

Nothing to see here, move along... (4, Interesting)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916042)

Another attempt by Facebook to undermine its users' privacy? I'm shocked!

Facebook introduces some hugely draconian abuse of privacy, then 'backs off' - lather, rinse, repeat. And every time this happens, their users, and the public-at-large, get more and more immune to the controversy, and more and more immune to the abuse. That's why Facebook, and Google, and your-favourite-evil-giant-company, and your-country's-government, do this kind of thing.

Sadly, as a society, we keep falling for it, over and over again.

Re:Nothing to see here, move along... (2)

necro81 (917438) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917270)

Yes, I think we could even at this point pen a new meme around it, much like the steps in an Apple Product Cycle [misterbg.org]

FTFA - Applications need to have a privacy policy (2)

xystren (522982) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916198)

FTFA - they recommend that each and every application has a privacy policy and determine how gather information might be used... But they fail to mention that virtually all privacy policies have a little "get out of jail free card", a clause that reserves the right for the company to change the privacy policy from time, and continued use of the application constitutes acceptance of the new policy.

With an escape clause like that, privacy policies are pointless and useless. When company A with an application follows their original privacy policy and uses all that personal information for only its prescribed use, everything is great. But when the stockholders or the president of the company decide their payout are enough, or the economy drops, all that information can be sold to other companies that that will pay for it; and with our privacy policy that includes our "famous" escape clause" allows us to modify our policy and our users can't say a damn thing about it.

Or to put this in to slashdot terms....

1) Develop useless application that makes legit use of personal data
2)Have privacy policy escape clause
3) President/board demands more money
4) Modify privacy policy w/ famous escape clause
5) Sell private data to anyone that will pay.
...
PROFIT!!!

With privacy policies like this, why are they even helpful?

And this is why I don't belong to Facebook. (4, Insightful)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916222)

If there was a $5/month social network that had no ads and guaranteed privacy, I'd consider joining it.

If there was an open-sourced not-for-profit social network that had no ads and worked to ensure privacy, I'd consider joining that, and donating to it.

Otherwise, you're at the vendor's mercy. And like they say, there's a zucker born every minute.

.

Re:And this is why I don't belong to Facebook. (1)

Imagix (695350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917288)

Say... why don't you set up a $5/month social network that had no ads and guaranteed privacy?

Re:And this is why I don't belong to Facebook. (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918136)

Deal. I'll need $5MM angel investment to start in exchange for 25% equity. Where can I fax the contract?

Although it does occur that if Facebook wanted to they could simply create "Facebook Pro" and offer an ad-free-guaranteed-privacy version of their own service. Users can choose whether or not they wish to mix with "Facebook Lite" users.

.

Re:And this is why I don't belong to Facebook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917870)

"If there was an open-sourced not-for-profit social network that had no ads and worked to ensure privacy, I'd consider joining that, and donating to it."

CouchSurfing might not be open-sourced, but it's definitely not-for-profit and has no ads.
It has no privacy issues because, well, there is no privacy: the info you write is revealed, except for your birth date and real name IF you want (but most people use their real name).

But at least you know what to expect, because those settings don't change. Ever.
And people can't trace back your forum posts, but believe it or not, still nobody acts like a douche, as everyone can write "references" on each other.

Re:And this is why I don't belong to Facebook. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917960)

If there was an open-sourced not-for-profit social network that had no ads and worked to ensure privacy, I'd consider joining that, and donating to it.

Well, there's Diaspora [joindiaspora.com] , which is coming "real soon now". Open source, privacy control, and you can run your own nodes.

Seems to be the way of it (5, Insightful)

Boarder2 (185337) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916286)

Seems like this is how Facebook continues to do it. Expose the users without telling them that they're going to do it, wait for the backlash. If there's enough, backpedal on the decision. But only after giving the parties interested in the data plenty of time to mine a ton of it, making the reversal pretty much pointless.

Well played, Facebook. Yet another example of why you don't post anything on the Internet that you don't want known publicly.

Re:Seems to be the way of it (1)

Homburg (213427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34918108)

Expose the users without telling them that they're going to do it

How exactly is a big button marked "Do you want to share your home address and phone number with this application" not telling users what they're doing?

Stop filling in the forms already! (2)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916448)

Come on, Facebook only knows as much as you fill in. Don't want to share your address and phone number? Leave the fields blank. No one is forcing you to fill this in. If it's not there no app in the world can get it. If someone is really my "friend" they probably know where I live and have my phone number and email. If they are just an acquaintance, they can ask for it and I may or may not give it out. Just stop compulsively filling out anything blank on your screen.

Re:Stop filling in the forms already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34917310)

Wrong. These guys spend all day dreaming up ways to get what they want (their product, which is your personal information) to sell to their customers (advertisers). They all partner up and share everything they've gleaned. If you've ever bought something from a FB partner (I bet there are MANY of those, they just don't tell you that they are) and had it delivered to your house, they now have your address. Just because you didn't put your address in on the front-end webpage of FB, doesn't mean that they don't already have that. It's just that you can't see it. No, they don't delete backups, and yes, they very likely share info from those just the same as live data.

It's not that hard to dream this up...it took me five minutes, and I'm not even a greedy advertisement bastard who spends their life figuring this crap out. The laws out there are not designed to protect us, the citizen, from this stuff because it's the large corporate shills and lobbyists that write them.

Have a nice day.

Re:Stop filling in the forms already! (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917596)

Bingo! I use FB, but my address & phone are blank. I see little reason for any of my FB "friends" to have that info (my RL friends already have it) and absolutely NO reason for M. Zuckerburg to have it.

Facebook/Wikileaks (5, Interesting)

JerryQ (923802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916526)

"I give you private information on corporations for free and I'm a villain. Mark Zuckerberg gives your private information to corporations for money and he's 'Man of the Year.'" Julian Assange

Re:Facebook/Wikileaks (1)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917422)

Point A: nobody cares about Time Magazine nor their 'Man of the Year' award (in 2006 the 'Man of the Year' was "You")
Point B: nobody likes Mark Zuckerberg.

and (veering off topic)

Point C: I think Assange is in trouble because wikileaks leaked cables the United States declared secret, not because of any leaks about corporations. Now, if those secret cables had contained anything surprising, Assange might've been able to convince people he was a hero. But at best the cables are just background and further confirmation of details that had already been widely reported. So the release of a "treasure trove" of mostly boring documents pissed off the American government, but hasn't made waves beyond that.

If and when Assange and Wikileaks go back to leaking things that embarrass entities other than the United States, and if those things are actually pertinent, maybe Time will make him man of the year next year.

interesting to see how this plays out (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916532)

not just this one issue, but this and all future attempts at exploiting user information. because facebook has the interesting quandry that it makes more money the more it exploits user information. but it drives criticism of facebook when it does this

the interesting part comes when you ask exactly how much people care about this, or if it is only a vocal minority. i've noticed more media attention to the issue, but again, that doesn't necessarily translate into anger amongst the common user

my personal feeling is that facebook will go the way of myspace, friendster, angelfire, geocities, etc... that social networking is just naturally cyclical. like the in club in the city for a couple of years goes belly up, to be replaced by some other in club somewhere else in the city, in endless repetition. however, i could be wrong, and facebook could have some sort of permanent lock on social networking. we'll see

Re:interesting to see how this plays out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34916988)

These guys are masters of social engineering. They know how to get people to click on stuff, and keep coming back. I personally can't imagine caring about a game that demands I return every hour to have a remote chance of gaining a high score, but holy crap does everyone else! FB and their (social) engineers figured out how to make people come back, and not care about what is going on behind the scenes.

Re:interesting to see how this plays out (1)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 3 years ago | (#34917146)

my personal feeling is that facebook will go the way of myspace, friendster, angelfire, geocities, etc... that social networking is just naturally cyclical. like the in club in the city for a couple of years goes belly up, to be replaced by some other in club somewhere else in the city, in endless repetition. however, i could be wrong, and facebook could have some sort of permanent lock on social networking. we'll see

Your gut feeling reflects my own, and I hope we're right. I'm pretty sure some form of social networking will stick around, but I doubt it will remain a single-site destination like Facebook. In some ways, the way FB has been trying to get everyone else to connect to them, it's as if FB wants to reinvent the AOL walled-garden, but to do so by getting people to opt-in to the model rather than by having it there from day one. They'll ride that success for some time, but then I'm pretty sure that users will grow tired of it.

Does this really suprise anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34916572)

Facebook is the prime example of how not to handle personal data.
Or maybe the prime example of how to, depending on which end of the fence you're on.

Screen Scraping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34916688)

Great, but can't you still harvest with some old fashioned screen scraping for at least those people who expose things via the permissions "friend", "friend of friend", "everyone?"

Faux Identity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34916832)

Who puts their real information on the internet anyways?

Pop up a box... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#34916844)

... with "To share your phone number with this app type it in here" and we'd still hear howls of outrage about invasion of privacy and how the process wasn't clear enough.

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