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How Facebook Can Out Your Most Personal Secrets

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the mind-your-own-business dept.

Facebook 467

McGruber writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Facebook revealed the sexual preferences of users despite those users have chosen 'privacy lock-down' settings on Facebook. The article describes two students who were casualties of a privacy loophole on Facebook—the fact that anyone can be added to a group by a friend without their approval. As a result, the two lost control over their secrets, even though both students were sophisticated users who had attempted to use Facebook's privacy settings to shield some of their activities from their parents. Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes responded with a statement blaming the users: 'Our hearts go out to these young people. Their unfortunate experience reminds us that we must continue our work to empower and educate users about our robust privacy controls.'"

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IF YOU HAND THEM OVER IT WILL TAKE THEM !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652061)

Dummies !!

Re:IF YOU HAND THEM OVER IT WILL TAKE THEM !! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652163)

It's not that one of them "handed it over" it's that she got added to a group (Queer Chorus, a choir group she had recently joined) whose name alone exposed what she was hiding from her father (among others).

Re:IF YOU HAND THEM OVER IT WILL TAKE THEM !! (5, Interesting)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about 2 years ago | (#41652247)

At first I thought it was "Interest in" becoming public information. If that was the case the easy solution is to leave it empty, but it wasn't.

The "loophole" allowed someone to add them to "Queer Chorus" discussion group.

I laugh at the talking head that talked about "robust privacy controls". I locked up my account so that no one except friends can see anything. Or so I thought. Sometime recently (changeover to timeline?) all new posts started becoming public, and I had to re-lock it down. As I notice searching people on Facebook, it seems there's lots of people who previously intended to keep their profile private now have public timelines. These sure are robust controls!

My heart goes out to these students and their intolerant environment.

Re:IF YOU HAND THEM OVER IT WILL TAKE THEM !! (1)

xaxa (988988) | about 2 years ago | (#41652421)

My heart goes out to these students and their intolerant environment.

I don't want to pay to read the article, but I wonder why she added her father at all. It seems a very high risk to trust a company with such a crap reputation.

Re:IF YOU HAND THEM OVER IT WILL TAKE THEM !! (5, Insightful)

Blue Stone (582566) | about 2 years ago | (#41652491)

Those "robust security policies" are nothing but paper walls, that can be slid back or removed entirely at the whim of your host, whose house you're visiting.

And your esteemed and generous host is a businessman who's stated quite clearly that your privacy is for sale for his own profit, and that you are a complete fool for trusting him.

Maybe at some point in the future, people will wise up and stop visiting.

Re:IF YOU HAND THEM OVER IT WILL TAKE THEM !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652607)

In essence, Facebook is defaulting to permit when they should be defaulting to deny.

Re:IF YOU HAND THEM OVER IT WILL TAKE THEM !! (3, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | about 2 years ago | (#41652669)

They are robust for facebook's purpose. They are robust against your attempts to use them to secure your privacy!

Re:IF YOU HAND THEM OVER IT WILL TAKE THEM !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652699)

"Robust" or just overly complicated and obtuse. While I can appreciate what FB might be trying to accomplish, I sometimes wonder they fail to consider the diverse audience they are working with. At the same time, I also understand that FB is in the business of collecting data -- data mining and information mangling (can someone say Google?). It's in their best interest to encourage you contribute as much as possible for their analytics (and who knows where that goes or who else is behind it). Until there are some laws and standards set in to place to which they must adhere, I fear this is just going to get worse.

Truly horrible. (5, Insightful)

noh8rz9 (2716595) | about 2 years ago | (#41652085)

this is a tragedy... I'm truly sorry for the students who were violated. No snark from me today...

Re:Truly horrible. (2, Insightful)

agm (467017) | about 2 years ago | (#41652107)

What's truly horrible is how this girls father acted. Threatening your own child because they have a preference you don't agree with? What a barbarian. What's the bet he believes in invisible friends?

Re:Truly horrible. (4, Insightful)

quasius (1075773) | about 2 years ago | (#41652323)

If you can figure out what's wrong with responding to an article about a rape with "what's the bet he's black?," you can figure out what's wrong with your post. If you cannot, you're probably a bigot.

Re:Truly horrible. (5, Interesting)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#41652399)

Not all religious people are bigots (my personal experience is that very few actually are), however I have yet to meet a bigot who WASN'T religious, thus in my opinion the GP's statement appears to be fairly valid. Want proof? Just look at the list of organizations that supported proposition 8 in California.

Re:Truly horrible. (1)

bipbop (1144919) | about 2 years ago | (#41652403)

You can't see how believing in re-re-re-re-interpretations of ancient mythology is unlike being black?

Re:Truly horrible. (1)

quasius (1075773) | about 2 years ago | (#41652511)

The point is that "religious" is no more a monolithic term you can make specific assumptions based on than "black."

Re:Truly horrible. (1)

bipbop (1144919) | about 2 years ago | (#41652625)

That's not a very good point. Sure, it's true, but it has nothing to do with what they originally said.

There's a difference between making a statement about the odds of something being true and claiming something is always true. I do believe it's more likely that the father is religious than not. This can be true, and yet not imply anything about the set of all religious people (as indeed it does not).

Re:Truly horrible. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652435)

Your race is an accident of birth. Hence, judging someone by it is immoral, and making presumptions about it based on stereotypes is, at best, rude.

Your religious beliefs are your choice. Judging someone on the basis of their deliberate choices is both reasonable and fair.

Of course, there is a high correlation between being born into a religious culture and adopting that culture's beliefs. Although it remains wrong to blame someone for the culture they were born into, it is part of adult responsibility to choose enlightened, ethical behavior, where necessary, in favor of the myths and imaginary authorities you were told about as a child. Certainly there is a lot of gray area here and it is often best to give people the benefit of the doubt and err on the side of tolerance. But the original topic was bigotry against gay people, which in any case is pretty far removed from beliefs about the universe and divinity, so fuck that asshole and whatever god he believes in too.

Re:Truly horrible. (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41652489)

If you can figure out what's wrong with responding to an article about a rape with "what's the bet he's black?," you can figure out what's wrong with your post. If you cannot, you're probably a bigot.

In what way is one's racial background equivalent to the social groups one hangs out with?

Re:Truly horrible. (2)

milkmage (795746) | about 2 years ago | (#41652639)

what is the logical assumption regarding race for someone in the NAACP? or the Asian Students Coalition?
yes, there are always exceptions, but it's logical to assume (and NOT racist) that members of said group have a common ancestry.

google "Black Students Union" and look at the images.

Re:Truly horrible. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652675)

Most crimes are committed by blacks, and most hate crimes are committed by the religious.

Re:Truly horrible. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652375)

What's the bet he believes in invisible friends?

I know right? Because, like, you totally have to have invisible friends to feel that deviancy from the norm (particularly the sexual norm) is a correctable disgusting behavior.

Kudos to the father.

Re:Truly horrible. (1)

noh8rz9 (2716595) | about 2 years ago | (#41652397)

What's the bet he believes in invisible friends?

i dont get this. i dont think it make sense.

Re:Truly horrible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652631)

You must have read a different article from the one I read. All this one contained was something about the secret coming out and the girl crying on the couch of a friend.

Re:Truly horrible. (5, Informative)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#41652379)

Dont put personal shit on the internet, ever.
unless you are ok with it getting out, because that is inevitable.

Re:Truly horrible. (1, Funny)

bipbop (1144919) | about 2 years ago | (#41652423)

It's a good operating assumption. If you assume that is true, you won't get burned as often. However, it's not actually true.

Re:Truly horrible. (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41652597)

It's a good operating assumption. If you assume that is true, you won't get burned as often. However, it's not actually true.

And not a reasonable option for most of us. My employer has an internet portal with HR and payroll information. My credit cards all have online portals with my purchase information. The same with banks, utility companies, etc. Public records (property taxes, etc) are increasingly available online. Few people abstain from all personal discussions in email.

There's a vast amount of personal information online, much of it put there by 3rd parties we don't have control over, and we all rely on loose privacy regulations to keep it private. Your bank, utilities, etc may already be selling your account information to data aggregators.

Re:Truly horrible. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652721)

But there's a huge difference between a bank or credit card site designed specifically so that ONLY you can log into it, and a social site designed specifically to gather your personal data and sell it to others.

Also, your bank and credit card sites are the only online way to interact with those entities. There are many other non-privacy-violating ways to interact with your friends online.

Stopped using facebook 8 months ago (4, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 2 years ago | (#41652089)

Privacy concerns part of it.

Requiring that I provide a legitimate phone number for each of my farmville bot accounts was most of it. But farmville was the main reason I was logging on in the first place. I would have never given them any legitimate information after the first half dozen privacy dumps.

Plus- it just sucked the way they kept colliding and smashing up different groups of friends and different groups of relatives and causing me grief in my personal life.

So I cut them loose. And haven't missed them since.

Re:Stopped using facebook 8 months ago (1)

fredgiblet (1063752) | about 2 years ago | (#41652237)

I moved Facebook exclusively to Firefox, I use Chrome as my primary browser. This has cut down how much time I spend on FB (which wasn't much to begin with) and makes it a lot harder for FB to track me.

That beign said, while this is tragic what it boils down to is that you should never post anything on the internet that you aren't ready and willing to own.

Re:Stopped using facebook 8 months ago (4, Insightful)

ColaMan (37550) | about 2 years ago | (#41652373)

Robust privacy controls', my arse.

I've been added to several,er, 'fairly extreme view' groups without my confirmation/consent. It's a damn nuisance, and I unsubscribe from them as soon as I notice.

But generally I just seem to spend my hour or two a week on facebook turning off all the 'texas hold-em' and other crappy 'OMG!'-type apps so they don't clutter my news feed. I need a checkbox that I can tick that says, 'I only care about what my friends actually post, please discard all application-generated posts'.

Somehow I don't think that one will be turning up any time soon.....

Re:Stopped using facebook 8 months ago (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652447)

Not using Facebook is no protection. People can still post stuff about you on the Internet. They can tag you in photos, put you in groups, add you to mailing lists, etc. On Facebook or anywhere. All without your knowledge.

It has always been this way. The Internet just made it easier and Facebook makes it more public and accesible to the general population of morons.

Re:Stopped using facebook 8 months ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652681)

I have had 9 separate facebook accounts that I know of. The reason is that I never use facebook but people think, "well that is just because he doesn't want to go to the trouble of setting it up." So they set one up for me and then send me the link. At first, I would delete them, but then I just stopped caring. One of my other friends, who is the strong social contract type, flags any he sees as being a fake account as a part of his duty as a facebook user.

That's why I never started using Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652683)

But the problem these persons got don't have to do with facebook but more with sharing information with others which might get to the wrong people eventually. Facebook was the willing assistent, though.

I think it's just incredibly lousy of people threatening family members because of sexual preference. It's lousy to harass other people as well, but family is even worse.

cb

Privacy is the new oil (2)

roidzrus (2739093) | about 2 years ago | (#41652091)

Privacy will soon be the most sought-after world commodity, and unfortunately we can't get in the middle east.

Re:Privacy is the new oil (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652131)

Maybe if you stop blowing each other up you'll make progress.

Re:Privacy is the new oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652221)

You cannpt get it that easily in the West either. There is exactly one country left that upheld human rights and democracy, and that has been under continuous propaganda assault by the US (multiple reasons - one is distraction from the role that Wall Street played in creating yet another global economic crisis, another one is because that nation was so stable it drew in all the capital Wall Street wanted its hands on to waste).

These days, every time I hear the words "terrorist" or "tax avoidance" I know I'm being lied to.

Privacy "loophole" on Facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652103)

I'm shocked!

      - Malory, f, 27

Re:Privacy "loophole" on Facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652249)

I'm shocked!

- Malory, f, 27

me too! lets start a pillow fight!

- Gemma, (pretend) f, 21

"... revealed the sexual preferences of users" (5, Funny)

Penurious Penguin (2687307) | about 2 years ago | (#41652117)

That they like to be f*cked by corporate champions?
Well I could've told you that.

Re:"... revealed the sexual preferences of users" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652335)

Better than being fucked by an AIDS-ridden homo.

Even Exxon-Mobil's figurative dick won't give you mouth lesions and make you die of pneumonia.

Ignorance is not a defense (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652127)

So some users posted personal stuff in a PUBLIC website .... now they are complaining because the info became public??

I'm not a fan of Facebook .... but blaming the company for user stupidity is .... well .... stupid.

Re:Ignorance is not a defense (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652157)

Just curious, do you expect your bank to publish your SSN online too, just because you posted it on their public website to open your account?
 
RTFA/RTFS, if you are wondering what this has to do with the topic at hand.

A bank doesn't have a TOS that specifically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652179)

... tells you that everything you post on the FREE service is PUBLIC.

Re:A bank doesn't have a TOS that specifically (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652229)

Facebook doesnt either.

Read the TOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652245)

... IT DOES (just not with the exact words).

Re:Read the TOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652623)

It does not. I did read the TOS. It does not say that directly or indirectly.

Can't read? (4, Insightful)

NixieBunny (859050) | about 2 years ago | (#41652239)

The person didn't reveal the information themselves. Facebook allowed someone else to do so. That's the whole point of the article.

Ignorance IS a defence (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 2 years ago | (#41652479)

In a world a complicated as it is today Ignorance is a defence.
When it comes to online banking or credit card security, ignorance is my only defence. The system are closed, I can verify anything, and even if I could the systems are so overly complicated that it would take me weeks.

Ignorance is a defence, and when you fail to live up to your users expectations, it's a security break or fraud (if intentional). And that's regardless of what legal bullshit the users agreed to.
Sure, courts aren't always good at acknowledging this. But outside the US it actually happens...

Better title (5, Interesting)

cheesecake23 (1110663) | about 2 years ago | (#41652133)

I preferred the title given to the Facebook spokesman in the summary originally written by the submitter [slashdot.org] :

Facebook spokesprick Andrew Noyes responded with a statement blaming the users ...

Re:Better title (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652227)

This.
Was very disappointed when I saw your comment and then realized it had been changed.

Re:Better title (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41652515)

even BETTER title:

"you're holding it wrong"

(sorry...)

Whatchu talkin' bout Willis? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652523)

/. editors actually editing a post before publishing to homepage?

Facebook Management is Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652155)

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes responded with a statement blaming the users: 'Our hearts go out to these young people. Their unfortunate experience reminds us that we must continue our work to empower and educate users about our robust privacy controls.'"

Facebook management is correct: it is the students fault for not better understanding "privacy" on Facebook.

If these students were intelligent they would have never signed up with Facebook in the first place. It's their own fault. Doing what everybody else does just encourages stupidity.

Re:Facebook Management is Correct (1)

Wandering Voice (2267950) | about 2 years ago | (#41652407)

I have to agree with A. Coward, Facebook has been synonymous with privacy conflicts since it opened its registration to the general public. That people willingly share personal information, which may have serious effect on their lives, even legally, is beyond me. As the Facebook spokesperson said, the failure is on the user and that Facebook's robust privacy controls have worked as intended.

I believe this is a true case of 'It's not a bug, it's a feature', in that while it may affect users negatively, those who are mining Facebook's databases, their customers, are getting more of the information they seek.

Robust, huh? (4, Insightful)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | about 2 years ago | (#41652159)

I wonder how fast they'll fix this issue after major political figures start getting added to "Gay Studs" and "Scouting for Sex" groups?

Re:Robust, huh? (1)

sjukfan (2730687) | about 2 years ago | (#41652209)

I was just toying with the idea of adding all my friends to Cottaging United or similar group.

Re:Robust, huh? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652457)

I wonder how fast they'll fix this issue after major political figures start getting added to "Gay Studs" and "Scouting for Sex" groups?

Most of the Republicans are in those groups already.

Re:Robust, huh? (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#41652657)

I gotta admit that's amusing.

Not Gay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652181)

Not using facebook nor using iDevices == Not Gay
Offcourse it also means no interaction with other humans.

Re:Not Gay (1)

yacc143 (975862) | about 2 years ago | (#41652385)

Actually, FB is not that much quality interaction.

Re:Not Gay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652455)

Nonsense. There are plenty of Republican politicians who don't use Facebook or iDevices.

Plausible deniability (5, Interesting)

mpeskett (1221084) | about 2 years ago | (#41652183)

Maybe I'm missing something, but if the loophole here is that you can be added to a group without your involvement or active consent, then surely that gives you an out when your ignorant homophobe of a father sees that you're associated with a queer choir group - say it was a case of mistaken identity or a prank or a troll or anything else you like.

That said, I don't think it's a non-issue when group membership can leak actual or apparent private information; ought to be a simple fix to make it ask before you're added to any group and then the whole problem goes away without anyone getting interrogated about groups they're attached to. The existence of potential deniability doesn't remove the issue, just provides at least some way of coping with problems casued until it's actually fixed.

Thi Just In From The Dept. Of No Shit Sherlock... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652189)

If you tell someone your secret, it can get out.

If you tell Facebook your secret, it's not a secret anymore and you're a moron for thinking it would be.

Did it really take this long for The Journal to figure this out?

Hey, PR drone, read this! (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#41652213)

'Our hearts go out to these young people. Their unfortunate experience reminds us that we must continue our work to empower and educate users about our robust privacy controls.'"

How about instead of giving them some false sympathies deep fried and battered in guilt, served with a side of buzzwords, you put your money where your mouth is? You people don't have a heart to speak of, so it's not going out anywhere -- so why not send them something you actually value, like the cash you earned in extra publicity and selling of their personal data after you outed them?

Your entire business model is built on invasive marketing, selling people's personal data to the highest bidder, and despite numerous high-profile security and privacy failings, including pictures that don't get deleted off servers and remain publicly accessible for years after they've been pulled from user profiles and indefinate storage of all data ever submitted to facebook, even after it has been deleted and the profile removed, you people still have the gumption to say you have "robust" privacy controls? Screw you. Give the kids some money, then maybe I'll believe you actually give a damn.

This issue is slowly becoming a non-issue (2, Insightful)

NixieBunny (859050) | about 2 years ago | (#41652217)

Sexual orientation is becoming less important, especially to the younger generation. Unfortunately, there are still people, even parents, to whom it matters. Those people are the problem, not Facebook. Facebook is just one more avenue for a person's orientation to be revealed.

The best defense against your parents finding out about your sexual orientation from someone else will always be to tell them yourself, from whatever distance is safe.

Re:This issue is slowly becoming a non-issue (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652273)

you're missing the point if you believe sexual orientation is the core of this story

This is just an exemplar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652299)

I'm sure you have interesting little foibles that you might not want revealed to all and sundry, despite using privacy settings correctly. Don't be such a sanctimonious prick. It could be you next time!

Re:This issue is slowly becoming a non-issue (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652355)

Sexual orientation is becoming less important, especially to the younger generation. Unfortunately, there are still people, even parents, to whom it matters. Those people are the problem, not Facebook. Facebook is just one more avenue for a person's orientation to be revealed.

The best defense against your parents finding out about your sexual orientation from someone else will always be to tell them yourself, from whatever distance is safe.

Unless of course, you happen to live in a middle eastern (or other) country where such things are highly illegal, admitting that may very well result in your death.

Re:This issue is slowly becoming a non-issue (4, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 years ago | (#41652467)

Sexual orientation is becoming less important, especially to the younger generation.

Try telling that to someone who lives in a country where being gay can still get you killed, such as present-day Iraq, Pakistan or Jamaica.

As far as I'm concerned, it's far preferable (and I'd argue, desirable) that people like this girl get their fingers prominently burned so that people realise the dangers of organising one's life (and secrets) via Facebook.

While it could be argued that this wasn't directly Facebook's fault, and that social networking will never be risk-free when it comes to information sharing, it's a fact that Facebook have always paid lip service to privacy, while clearly holding it in contempt.

If they really cared, they could have made the privacy settings far simpler and more manageable, and would not have changed their behaviour without notice (as they've done in the past) to expose previously private information.

They make play of "helping" users manage the privacy complexities that are an (intentional) result of their policies. Most of us know how insincere this is, but I'm quite sure a lot of people out there *do* believe this.

So, as I said, better- and indeed a good thing- that people like this girl prominently suffer unpleasant- but not fatal- consequences and serve as an example to others. Particularly those to who a similar mistake *could* be fatal.

The best defense against your parents finding out about your sexual orientation from someone else will always be to tell them yourself, from whatever distance is safe.

That's not always practical if the "safe" distance is in another country.

Re:This issue is slowly becoming a non-issue (2)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | about 2 years ago | (#41652705)

Try telling that to someone who lives in a country where being gay can still get you killed, such as present-day Iraq, Pakistan or Jamaica.

Surely you recognise the word "becoming", and the distinction between the younger generation, who do not control the laws, and the elders who do? GP post is dead-on:

Sexual orientation is becoming less important, especially to the younger generation.

That's not always practical if the "safe" distance is in another country.

If a defense is impossible, you have to fall back on the next best defense. That doesn't change the best defense. The best defense against your parents finding out about your sexual orientation from someone else will always be to tell them yourself, from whatever distance is safe.

Facebook is social networking, and people have to realize that their socializations will be revealed. Socializing in public will reveal these sorts of things unintentionally, online or in person. Facebook's position is the only sane one in this case, since people do need to be educated about this sort of thing. Facebook shirks that duty while acknowledging it, since their business model depends on you revealing this information, at least to FB if not to your friends.

And soon it won't matter. Not soon enough, but tolerance is growing in general.

Re:This issue is slowly becoming a non-issue (4, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 years ago | (#41652703)

I have to wonder about parents who haven't figured out their child is gay. I guess maybe some don't want to believe it so choose to be blind. My daughter dated, well...went out with a guy that I pretty much figured was harmless, at least to her, off the mark. I told her he was sweet and she just looked at me and I knew she knew and they were just friends. His parents however went bonkers when upon going off to college he came out of the closet in a big, big way. I still don't get how they missed it.

informative (1)

Faisal Rehman (2424374) | about 2 years ago | (#41652233)

this is informative but facebook success is because it is viral and viral needs to be voilating privacy and user's right

Advertisements (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652243)

I don't have anything marked under "interested in", and I get a lot of gay related ads. I'm not sure what other items on my (also very restricted) profile cause this (liking Torchwood and equality campaigns?). I can't open Facebook on a campus computer without risking someone seeing some crazy ad. The worst thus far was one for HIV positive online dating. That one was wrong on oh-so-many levels. Something should be done about the evasiveness of these advertisements too.

Got a problem with it? Don't use it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652255)

We all know about how much facebook can know about you, it starts with what you tell them. Your facebook page isn't really yours but a profile of yourself which you volunteer information. It's basically a wiki with your information, and this is CLEARLY stated in the TOS/PP. You don't really own anything that's on facebook, facebook owns that information which is why they can rightfully sell your personal info, gather it, and make assumptions. The free market is a brilliant thing, but there aren't many brilliant people in this world. They should have by now, learned to read what they get themselves into (it's not small / fine print) and blatantly obvious. You can also control a lot of the privacy settings. I don't care much about facebook but I do think that people is the problem, not facebook, just as Google is not the problem, people are. If you have information to hide, write in a diary because the internet is the last place where your information is safe.

Rubbish! (3, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | about 2 years ago | (#41652269)

"Their unfortunate experience reminds us that we must continue our work to empower and educate users about our robust privacy controls."

To this statement I say: Rubbish!

It's just standard boilerplate rhetoric. It's sad, sad indeed. But can one please remind me of what I am losing by intentionally refusing to join Facebook?

I should add that even without Facebook, I am doing pretty good so far. What am I missing?

Re:Rubbish! (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#41652449)

I should add that even without Facebook, I am doing pretty good so far. What am I missing?

An easy way to contact pretty much anyone in your vicinity.

Re:Rubbish! (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#41652547)

in reverse, though, also works: anyone that can *only* get to me by FB, I won't want contacting me.

not kidding, not being snarky. its an excellent filter, not being on FB.

Re:Rubbish! (1)

green1 (322787) | about 2 years ago | (#41652673)

I agree fully. Anyone I actually want to interact with me will email me, text me, call me, ring my doorbell, talk to me at an event we're both at, or similar. Facebook solves a problem that doesn't exist for me. I've never seen any need to be on Facebook because I'm not interested in seeing posts from people that I wouldn't talk to otherwise.

Re:Rubbish! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652563)

An easy way to contact pretty much anyone in your vicinity.

Shouting seems to work fairly well

Re:Rubbish! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652575)

I should add that even without Facebook, I am doing pretty good so far. What am I missing?

An easy way to contact pretty much anyone in your vicinity.

Yeah, for what price?

Re:Rubbish! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652587)

I have a phone. That works just fine. There is no point to facebook, other than vanity, being passive aggressive or hugely socially awkward. All of which are personality FLAWS. Facebook is a crutch to allow a fucked up generation of people continue being fucked up and feel "normal". Facebook is a disease. If you find it useful, you are sick. You just don't know it because you are surrounded by other sick people.

Re:Rubbish! (1)

vlueboy (1799360) | about 2 years ago | (#41652661)

If a long lost friend gives you a call right now after 15 years of NOT trying to reach you, it is creepy because he founds you in the moderate obscurity of a phonebook. Compare to a personal visit from a neighbor who suddenly knocks on your door after years of being invisible to you --this is really creepy in US suburbs where you never see people on the streets. In both cases, expect the worst and try to figure out their intentions.

Since websites allow people to join whenever they feel like joining, you cannot expect the network effect to immediately push all your would-be callers to reach out to you at joining time. THEN, it seems Facebook has unwritten protocol about relaxing the creep factor mentioned above. You have the choice to reject long lost friends who are trying to reconnect, if that's not your cup of tea for certain people.

Now, here is the issue: in the pre-facebook world, you were limited by phonebook availability for your location, as well as the fact that many people's names are initialed rather than printed wholly, so there is a LOT of guessing even if your name is unique. Online phone and email lookup tools did not solve the problem, once they took these listings online. Also, some places ask you to pay money to provide a phone listing anyway, which again veers into the creepy / stalker-ish side of the matter again.

Voluntary registries like classmates.com just do not have the appeal and critical mass or trust that Facebook acquired. Even in the myspace days, aliases were common and I'm sure non-technical people did not expect to be bothered with searching.
Facebook changed the expectation. You and I refuse to join, but it is a pain that unlike 20 years ago, non-members can verify that so-and-so is a member via the public search tool, but that there is zero way to leave a quick "hey, dude, I remember something funny you said once, and wanted a quick one-time ring to let you know you were sooo right. hope your life turned out OK."

To be able to even do that, even if you don't really care to continue communicating with the person, we're forced to deal with
1) privacy issues
2) the expectation of a non-transient re-connect. The cat is out of the bag, so where does the friendship go from here.

I am now contemplating sharing pictures of an event I went to, since recording CDR's with 100 photos is no longer considered good form. Facebook, Picasa (or whatever google offers that won't require joining Plus) and Flickr seem to fill that hole nicely, but I would just love to host my own site and email people an access password.

Again and again (3, Insightful)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | about 2 years ago | (#41652287)

I am getting tired of people seemingly surprised when facebook does something not in their best interest - especially privacy wise...

That's what they are in business for. To get and aggregate as much info about you as possible. Security, loopholes, and privacy are secondary. In fact privacy is a dirty word in facebook land. If you give you secrets and info on face book and think only the people you want to know - know, Your nuts. You have told the world. If you want privacy, then don't join the facebook privacy abomination. It's funny that people (like my aunt) think face book is doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, bringing people together,.. Nothing is further from the truth..

Don't try to un-friend me since i'm not there.. ever..

Re:Again and again (1)

Kittenman (971447) | about 2 years ago | (#41652359)

I am getting tired of people seemingly surprised when facebook does something not in their best interest - especially privacy wise... .

Totally agree. Facebook is to privacy what Attila the Hun is to ... [insert suitable noun here].

Having said that, my heart bleeds for the girl caught - but telling Facebook anything personal is like telling a gossiping friend.

Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652307)

You'd think Slashdot wouldn't make users visit the HuffPo for a link to the entire article [wsj.com] , but you'd think wrong.

Blaming users is a bad stance. (5, Insightful)

MartinSchou (1360093) | about 2 years ago | (#41652329)

If one user gets it wrong - sure, that's a dumb user.
Ten? Yeah.
100? Probably still that, considering how many users FaceBook has.

But they should really take a clue from Coursera - in Daphne Koller's TED talk on Coursera [youtube.com] she touches on something very similar, namely students having misconceptions on a subject, and how they instead sort of blame the course material, and help correct the students' misconceptions.

This, by the way, is something we see entirely too little of in many types of development.

Not just software - the Stockholm Metro system has automatic gates that open and close to let you through, if you have a valid electronic ticket. And people get hit by those gates and in some cases hurt or stuck.

The company's response? Educate the users on how to use a fucking automatic door!

Honestly, when I read that, I felt like hitting the spokes person in the face and telling him that he obviously needs to be educated in the use of my fist.

You're holding it wrong.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652333)

...seems to have become the default corporate answer.
Never mind that their "privacy controls" model is completely broken, obviously the user needs to be "empowered" and "educated".

Just say NO! (4, Informative)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about 2 years ago | (#41652337)

It's too bad this happened, but perhaps it will convince some people to simply not use Facebook. Facebook's habit of raping users' privacy shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who uses a computer - they've done it many times, and it's been big news.

Users don't pay Facebook any money, so they have no reasonable expectation of ANY standard of privacy, service, or redress, and Facebook has no 'duty of care' obligations. So it's really quite simple - don't use Facebook, and if you DO insist on using it, then A), don't post anything from which your secrets might even be deduced, and B), prepare to suffer the consequences when, (not if), your secrets are revealed.

It's been said before, and it bears repeating: when you aren't paying for a service, then YOU ARE THE PRODUCT. If you don't want to be treated as a product, don't use the service.

Re:Just say NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652493)

How naive, do you think for example your isp wouldn't sell your usage data and links you visit, and all other information about you if they could get away with it?

Paying for tv here too, and you still get ads. Either way you're the product.

Re:Just say NO! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652567)

If you bothered to read the entire summary or article, you might have noticed that she didn't put anything on Facebook about it. Someone else added them to a group without her permission.

maybe you shouldn't? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652363)

Maybe you shouldn't post shit on the internet about loving gay sex if you don't want to tell your parents yet.

If it's a secret... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652383)

Why give the information to Facebook inc?

Slight mistake in summary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652431)

the two lost control over their secrets, even though both students were sophisticated users who had attempted to use Facebook's privacy settings to shield some of their activities from their parents

No, "sophisticated users" don't use Facebook at all.

The word of the day is: "spokesprick". (2)

0m3gaMan (745008) | about 2 years ago | (#41652503)

"Facebook spokesprick Andrew Noyes responded with a statement blaming the users..."

Well played. Sry it got modded to oblivion.

Simple Solution (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652533)

STOP...USING...FACEBOOK. Seriously, people, how much bad press do these asshats have to rack up before you go in for your headrectumectomy?

It's Simple... (1, Troll)

krisamico (452786) | about 2 years ago | (#41652559)

... If you want something to be a secret, don't tell anybody, least of all a relational database!

Re:It's Simple... (1, Troll)

yotto (590067) | about 2 years ago | (#41652663)

Yes exactly! Why on EARTH are people sharing information on the Internet that they want to keep secret?

I feel bad for these kids whose parents are from the 19th century American South but come on, if you're that worried about it don't broadcast it to the world.

Would you talk about it at a big dinner with your family and friends? No? Then don't mention it on line!

Full text without subscription (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652593)

Can be easily found with a google search for When the Most Personal Secrets Get Outed on Facebook scribd [google.com] (I didn't link directly to the copypasta'd article because of copyright, I did not post the content to scribd, just googled so I could read the damn thing, yadda yadda yadda)

They deserved it ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652619)

Seriously, if you are dumb enough to put the most intimate details of your personal life on a stupid social media website you deserve this sort of thing. These things are called "personal" for a reason.

Who (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41652649)

Who would be stupid enough to put stuff like that on Facebook?

to empower and educate users (2)

NotPeteMcCabe (833508) | about 2 years ago | (#41652711)

Facebook asked me "to empower and educate users about our robust privacy controls." That's a great idea. Let me educate you: Facebook has no privacy controls whatsoever. Everything you ever post to Facebook will be exposed for money. That didn't take so long. I think we should all do as Facebook says and educate as many people as possible.
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