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Facebook Agrees To Make New Privacy Changes Opt-In

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the what-to-choose? dept.

Facebook 58

An anonymous reader writes "Facebook has reached an agreement with the FTC to make all future changes to privacy settings opt-in, presumably including new features with their own privacy controls. The Wall Street Journal wrote that the social network was nearing a settlement on the issue and now its Marketplace editor Dennis K. Berman says that settlement is for new privacy controls to be opt in. The agreement could limit Facebook's ability to drive adoption of new features, as they won't be able to immediately go viral. Users rarely visit their privacy settings, so Facebook will need to devise a way to get them to do so."

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58 comments

But in typical Facebook fashion... (5, Insightful)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020818)

They'll just remove the settings outright and mumble something about "streamlining".

Re:But in typical Facebook fashion... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38022116)

What's the point of all this back and forth with an illusion of there being two sides in this?
Facebook considers everyone who gives them enough money part of themselves and not a third party. So they get access to everything anyway and any privacy settings are completely irrelevant to them.

And yet, every time I come here, I see, what I can only call utterly ignorant idiots, argue over how those privacy settings are now good enough or not good enough.
That's irrelevant!

Re:But in typical Facebook fashion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029142)

What's the point of all this back and forth with an illusion of there being two sides in this? Facebook considers everyone who gives them enough money part of themselves and not a third party. So they get access to everything anyway and any privacy settings are completely irrelevant to them.

And yet, every time I come here, I see, what I can only call utterly ignorant idiots, argue over how those privacy settings are now good enough or not good enough. That's irrelevant!

Of course there are two sides to this. And you don't speak on behalf of everyone, good sir. I don't get why some Slashdotters have such a problem with Facebook. It's an opt-in service where you share what you choose to share (and the privacy settings have never really been that difficult). Unlike Google, that automatically track you and your interests and habits in great detail without any voluntary opt-in, across most sites you visit (including this one). through their external partner ad network and Google analytics.

Good thing (3, Insightful)

swinferno (1212408) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020854)

Finally a step in the right direction from Facebook regarding privacy

Re:Good thing (3, Informative)

wmac1 (2478314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021102)

Facebook is a socializing website and "socializing is basically the opposite of privacy."

When people put some information on social networks and internet, they should assume it is POTENTIALLY accessible to everyone on the internet (due to bugs, hackers, abuse of the website itself, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, ....)

Re:Good thing (3, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021128)

It is? So every time you talk to your acquaintances in real life, you disclose all of the private information you talked about with your closest friend?

Re:Good thing (1)

wmac1 (2478314) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021152)

In real life information is transferred by mouth and sometimes is forgotten. On the internet millions potentially have access to it and most of the time, the information is preserved for 10s of years.

Re:Good thing (2)

qualityassurancedept (2469696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021388)

Yes, self restraint used to be one of those things that people believed was required by the fact that god is always watching and the day of judgement is nigh but of course no one is watching... except on facebook.

Re:Good thing (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021802)

Just remember God may not be watching but the little old lady next door just looks out her windows for the local soap opera.

That arguement you and your signifcant other hand was done near an open window. Half the neighborhood heard it.

Facebook just records all the same stupid things you do all day long. It is the only difference.

Of course it doesnt record mine. I have never once visited any facebook.com addresses. And thats the way i like it.

Re:Good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38022288)

I have never once visited any facebook.com addresses.

So you're the expert to go to when we need a shitty metaphor for it, I see.

Re:Good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38021638)

It is? So every time you talk to your acquaintances in real life, you disclose all of the private information you talked about with your closest friend?

The private information you discuss with your closest friend has no business on the internet in the first place. Always assume that everything you write online will end up in the wrong hands at one time or other.

Re:Good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38022824)

They should add a way to categorise your friends into lists and share different content with different lists.
Just like Google. And Facebook.

Re:Good thing (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38023088)

It is? So every time you talk to your acquaintances in real life, you disclose all of the private information you talked about with your closest friend?

No, I dont', which is what puzzles me so about Facebook and the tendency of so many people to do just that; hand over all manner of private information to a business that makes money by sharing what we give them with as many people as possible.

Re:Good thing (1)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#38024196)

If your chosen method of communication is to write things on the wall of the only room you ever talk to anyone in, then yes.

Nagging (1)

cognoscentus (1628459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020856)

They'll just spam non-adopters with endless ads for new functionality, requiring surrender of more personal details. Still, an improvement overall...

Re:Nagging (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38031606)

Nagging?

They will just offer a golden chicken or some shit in Farmville and Bam!... the majority of all Facebook users just adopted the change.

The rest will get an offer in Mafia Wars.

I can see it now... (5, Funny)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38020884)

1. Accept our changes, continuing using Facebook. 2. Reject our changes, terminate your, your friends, and family's facebook accounts. Also, all personal emails on the account linked to this site will be deleted, and that account will also be terminated. Do you agree to the new terms and conditions?

Re:I can see it now... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38021188)

More realistically, they have probably been preparing for this, as lately they are spamming with pop-ups explaining their new features. So they will probably spam people with pop-ups like:

Your account can now do this, that, and the other! Would you like to activate it now?
- Yes. (This is recommended, otherwise your account will lose vital functionality. Plus, all your friends are already doing it, and only idiots wouldn't activate this.)
- No. (Well, I guess idiots like you are the ones that make us cool people look good.)

Enough to trick people into opting in.

Re:I can see it now... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021560)

Yeah, the summary is wildly optimistic. I suspect the opt-in will be more like a one way nag-in with update buttons, pop-ups and incompatibilities so to socialize with someone that has upgraded you must too. Still it's better than the "Accept the new policy or we'll remove your pages" policy they used to have, my Facebook profile is more barren now than when I first registered as a result.

Re:I can see it now... (1)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021864)

Gmail is already doing this for their ugly new email interface. There is a popup in their lower right corner of their screen that will NOT go away until you "try the new look"

Re:I can see it now... (1)

AI0867 (868277) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025928)

When you do try the new look, it is replaced with a popup asking for feedback.

Re:I can see it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38022844)

Maybe you are mistaken here, people will opt-in and will like those new features made possible by sharing. Maybe it will be you who misses out on all the fun and won't even know?

Re:I can see it now... (2)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021408)

If everything would be actually deleted, that would be great news.

More likely it will be if you don't accept it, they will use and keep it in a less obvious way.

Faceborg! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021690)

"1. Accept our changes, continuing using Faceborg. 2. Reject our changes, terminate you, your friends, and family. Resistance is Futile. You will become one with the Faceborg."

Re:I can see it now... (4, Funny)

subreality (157447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021866)

If it would let me terminate my friends and family's facebook accounts that easily, I would sign up today.

The next time you log in to Facebook... (2)

Raved Thrad (1864414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021014)

...you'll probably see something like this:

"Facebook, in an agreement with the FTC... blah blah blah... more blah blah... legalese blah... more verbose crap no one will bother to read blah..."

(and finally at the bottom of the page, in big blinking letters)

"CLICK HERE TO (opt-in to our new privacy policy and) CONTINUE USING FACEBOOK"

Re:The next time you log in to Facebook... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38021716)

...you'll probably see something like this:

"Facebook, in an agreement with the FTC... blah blah blah... more blah blah... legalese blah... more verbose crap no one will bother to read blah..."

(and finally at the bottom of the page, in big blinking letters)

"CLICK HERE TO (opt-in to our new privacy policy and) CONTINUE USING FACEBOOK"

So, if that isn't clicked, does that mean my profile gets deleted? Or at least frozen?

I remember facebook having some stupid privacy pop-ups last year and I had to get around facebook by clicking in weird spots to steal the focus. I'd really love to see the statistics on who just clicked yes to get rid of it. "99.999% of people clicked yes, but this weird little 0.001% fucker resisted until we made the it default for everyone anyway!"

Re:The next time you log in to Facebook... (1)

Raved Thrad (1864414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021968)

The tragicomic part is when people have to click through 4 pages of account options, to find out how to undo that one absent-minded click, and then wade through another 4 pages just to find that page with the checkbox they have to uncheck.

Trivial to circumvent (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38021108)

Just rephrase the privacy settings to "don't share my data with everybody" and make these settings opt-in. Status quo preserved. Problem privacy advocates?

A new era... (2)

mark_elf (2009518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021130)

We’ve reached Facebook’s Director of Public Policy Andrew Noyes in an attempt to confirm the settlement, but he responded saying “We’re declining to comment.”

That's the spirit!

Re:A new era... (3, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021422)

What he actually is saying is that he does not like to share his comments. He is just beta testing the system.

Will it change anything? (1)

tramp (68773) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021234)

In general people will click Ok after more then 3 or 4 lines of information so all Facebook has to do is writing an announcement of a hundred lines followed by "Press Ok".

Privacy (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021254)

My wife has the only facebook account in the family. Yesterday she got a page suggesting that she send friend requests to a bunch of people who she had never mentioned on facebook. She thought for a minute that this information must have come from her mail client on her computer but I thought it was more likely that it came happened because people she knows used a facebook feature to import their contacts directly from their mail accounts. So its somewhat good for FB to have these extra connections between existing users but its really bad for them to scare people by acting like a stalker. So if they want to look good they just have to stop scraping data from various sources and focus on keeping their customers feeling safe.

Re:Privacy (4, Insightful)

cbope (130292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021300)

It's sad to say that even if you don't link any of your other accounts to your FB profile, your friends will by linking their address books for example. You don't get a chance to opt-in when the information comes via your friend's decision's to link anything and everything to their FB account. This is a huge loophole in the system.

I don't allow any FB apps I choose to use to link to my other accounts, but I realize this is just burying my head in the sand at this point. I hope they will improve the system to be fully opt-in, but I really doubt it will ever happen. Being viral is part of the business plan and FB would probably not survive without it. It's unfortunate this means that any expectations of privacy of your information are not based in reality.

Re:Privacy (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021374)

I noticed that when my wife navigates to my sisters facebook page, I am already in there as kind of a placeholder on my sisters list of friends. Its not too serious a problem for me because my sister has 432 friends, so I tend to get buried in the clutter but I suppose there is a risk that she will start fleshing out that empty profile.

Re:Privacy (3, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021452)

I block everything. I have the following in my hosts file

# Block Facebook
127.127.127.127 www.facebook.com
127.127.127.127 facebook.com
127.127.127.127 static.ak.fbcdn.net
127.127.127.127 www.static.ak.fbcdn.net
127.127.127.127 login.facebook.com
127.127.127.127 www.login.facebook.com
127.127.127.127 fbcdn.net
127.127.127.127 www.fbcdn.net
127.127.127.127 fbcdn.com
127.127.127.127 www.fbcdn.com
127.127.127.127 static.ak.connect.facebook.com
127.127.127.127 www.static.ak.connect.facebook.com

The 127.127.127.127 points to a seperate web site so it does not disturb my other logs. You could use 0.0.0.0

Even better is to filter out all facebook.com and fbcdn.net stuff.

Re:Privacy (2)

rvw (755107) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021910)

I block everything. I have the following in my hosts file

# Block Facebook
127.127.127.127 www.facebook.com

The 127.127.127.127 points to a seperate web site so it does not disturb my other logs. You could use 0.0.0.0

Even better is to filter out all facebook.com and fbcdn.net stuff.

Use the Ghostery addon [mozilla.org] and it will do this for you. Much easier to handle.

Re:Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38022470)

And limited to one browser. If editing a hosts file is difficult for you, you might be on the wrong website.

Re:Privacy (1)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38024100)

I realize this is Slashdot, but do people here actually use more than one browser? For anything other than testing webpage compatibility?

Ok, for anything other than that, and using a second browser for porn. But that's what private browsing mode is for, right?

Re:Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38024674)

The addon is simpler and works on the only browser that matters for me. If understanding your users' needs is too hard for you, get off this website. Editing the host file is definitely more complicated than clicking "Add to firefox".

Re:Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38024718)

I tried what you suggested but my Facebook page wouldn't show up! How the hell am I supposed to harvest my crops?

Re:Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38036784)

You're right. The stalker feature is part of LInkedIn's MO. I've had people so up as "People ou might know" who are actually people I know but I have no LInkedIn connections to.

Very freaky.

if you don't want to risk your privacy, don't post (1)

iTrendHunter (2505342) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021298)

Personally, I like the approach taken at this new social network for food, www.imunchie.com Basically the policy is, if you don't want to risk your privacy, don't post it.

barely true (2)

u64 (1450711) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021654)

So you're saying privacy has no middle ground. It's On or Off. I strongly disagree.

There's also the problem for people that DONT understands what they're signing up for.
Very few reads and understands the legalese they're agreeing to.

Whatever (2)

wickerprints (1094741) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021458)

Whatever they might promise to do, you can be assured that they're going to find a sneaky way to turn it into a method to violate your privacy even further.

By now, if you're still using FB, you really don't give two shits about your privacy, so it doesn't matter whether you're going to be given the chance to opt in. They already have you.

Sure they will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38021652)

Expect a preselected checkbox hidden behind the login screen.

Not just opt-in changes... (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 2 years ago | (#38021850)

This is going to be no different from any other EULA. They'll give you the choice to opt-in and continue using the service, or make your account go dormant because your refusal to play ball jeopardizes Facebook security and keeping multiple versions of the site live is too great an expense to keep you. Then they'll just sit back and wait for you to decide it's not worth it to try and move everyone you know to G+, or Diaspora, and that whatever changes they've made aren't really that bad.

They can just do it the same way they do now ... (2)

PolaRis75 (206869) | more than 2 years ago | (#38022256)

"Users rarely visit their privacy settings, so Facebook will need to devise a way to get them to do so."

Easy! They can do it the same way they do now - tell one person so they update their status with "Do this or Facebook will delete your account! Re-post!!" and it'll spread like wildfire ...

I mean, those are always legit communications from Facebook staff, right?

Re:They can just do it the same way they do now .. (2)

dell623 (2021586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38024538)

Facebook depends on people making things as public as possible.

Otherwise does the idea of a 'wall' make any sense? Every time you post on someone's wall there should be a little button asking whether it's a private message or a public one, the private messaging system shouldn't be cumbersome and disconnected. But that would of course destroy their model - it depends on people passively stalking, eavesdropping on semi private conversations.

See and acknowledge the changes, not ignore them. (1)

Liger_XT5 (1055672) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025192)

"Facebook will need to devise a way to get them to do so." I don't know how many people I've seen just skip pages or ignore notices because they just want things to work, and don't care how. I've been trying to convince my friends to fix their security issues and pay attention on what they clicks accept for on their new daily apps. I'm tired of seeing him scam ads and links spamming my news feeds.

Gaining adoption of security changes (1)

ZipK (1051658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025392)

Users rarely visit their privacy settings, so Facebook will need to devise a way to get them to do so.

Farmville subsidies.

Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025412)

Can we please put to rest the meme that "Facebook adds new features, makes stuff less private than it was previously, and makes the new feature opt-out"? The only instance of this that I recall was when they made one's "pages" (/likes/groups) public. Solution? Don't be in so many fucking groups. Don't like so many pages. Jesus, it's not hard. Just delete them. It's what I did.

FWIW, your "likes" are also visible to friends-of-the-friend whose content you "like". They are not "private". They are not even limited by you, other than by your ability to not click that link. You don't need to like every new cat video you find.

Re:Please... (1)

ZipK (1051658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025652)

The only instance of this that I recall was when they made one's "pages" (/likes/groups) public.

Beacon [wikipedia.org].

Re:Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025736)

I'd already adblocked facebook on third-party websites, so once again it's only stupid people who get burned. Stupid people put stuff on facebook that they shouldn't. That's not news.

Re:Please... (1)

ZipK (1051658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025882)

Ad-blocking Facebook on third-party sites didn't stop those third-party sites from using Facebook Beacon APIs to share information about you, nor having that information shared on your Facebook newsfeed.

Re:Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38028830)

Ad-blocking Facebook on third-party sites didn't stop those third-party sites from using Facebook Beacon APIs

On the contrary. Anything from Facebook doesn't load. Good luck trying to load the Facebook Beacon API... you can't. Even if you host it locally on your server, you can't connect to Facebook when comes time to share something.

The only way around it would be to do everything server-side. But they can't even do that, if they don't know who I am, and the only way to find that out would be client-side, in my browser where my login is. There is no reason why adblocking facebook content on third-party websites wouldn't prevent any and all interaction between those sites and Facebook.

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