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Social Fixer Falls Victim To Facebook Legal Threats

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the which-battles-to-fight dept.

Social Networks 194

rueger writes "The author of the very excellent Social Fixer browser plug-in is bowing to legal threats from Facebook and removing the core functionality that made his tool so great. I like Social Fixer a lot. It makes Facebook at least three or four times more usable. The author, Matt Kruse, says 'Any threat of legal action is a big deal. I am a one-man operation. If I were sued for whatever reason, I would find it very difficult to defend myself, even if it was without merit. I would be risking my personal life to maintain a tabbed news feed for users. As much as I'd like to be your Robin Hood, I just can't do that to my family.' Bizarrely, when he asked Facebook why they don't also threaten Ad-Block, the Facebook rep claimed to have never heard of it." Kruse has some surprisingly nice things to say about his interaction with Facebook, too. Reader Daniel Dvorkin points out this commentary at BuzzFeed which points out Twitter's similar policies.

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194 comments

Open Source the Tab Code (4, Interesting)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about 7 months ago | (#45047507)

It started as a GreaseMonkey script, why can't that particular functionality be open sourced? The few times a month I'm forced to go on Facebook I make sure my Social Fixer is up to date, especially since I want to be signed out of chat automatically. Having all the games and apps on a separate tab is nice too. - HEX

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (0)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about 7 months ago | (#45047527)

It started as a GreaseMonkey script, why can't that particular functionality be open sourced? The few times a month I'm forced to go on Facebook I make sure my Social Fixer is up to date, especially since I want to be signed out of chat automatically. Having all the games and apps on a separate tab is nice too. - HEX

Sure, open source fixes everything. Except, you know, legal threats.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (5, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | about 7 months ago | (#45047597)

Sure, open source fixes everything. Except, you know, legal threats.

Legal threats only work where there is some way to get them enforced. If someone picks this up in a country where legal threats from Facebook means bupkis, then yes, Open Source does fix this.

--
BMO

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (2)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 7 months ago | (#45048925)

Unless US goes after people in other countries, like someone running MEGA something, or someone named Julian, or I dunno, spying on other countries and their diplomats?

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45047607)

It started as a GreaseMonkey script, why can't that particular functionality be open sourced? The few times a month I'm forced to go on Facebook I make sure my Social Fixer is up to date, especially since I want to be signed out of chat automatically. Having all the games and apps on a separate tab is nice too. - HEX

Sure, open source fixes everything. Except, you know, legal threats.

The threats have nothing to do with the browser extension itself, which Facebook cannot control any more than they can control Firefox or Chrome. They can only control a web page on Facebook about the extension. Apparently, the author of the extension wants to have that page so badly, he's willing to cripple the extension. I don't someone that weak-willed deserves much sympathy.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45047619)

The threats have everything to do with the extension; if Matt refuses to cripple the plugin, Facebook has threatened to refer him to their legal department for further possible legal action. Even if he didn't want the page back, he'd still be in trouble.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#45048065)

So he open sources the plugin, publishes it somewhere else for free.

They can't sue the totality of git-hub or Source Forge.

As long as he puts nothing on Facebook's website they can't touch him.

I'm sure there are several dozen sites in the EU that would host his project for free.
Facebook's legal department would know better than to try. Most lawyers have heard of the Streisand effect.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048115)

I agree with you, but as long as Matt is contributing code to the project, he's a target for Facebook. If he retires, open-sources it, and lets the community take over development, he's personally off the hook and the project will most undoubtedly continue.

Personally I want to see the EFF agree to become his legal representation and Matt agree to keep the extension intact in the face of Facebook's threats.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048655)

I'm sure there are several dozen sites in the EU that would host his project for free.

Are there? I'm seriously asking, I want to open source my own project but no way I'm going to put it on an American server. If there is an equivalent to github in a sane country like a European country or Canada, please tell me. Thanks.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#45048711)

How could anyone capable of writing code be incapable incapable of using Google or Bing or Yandex?

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048157)

Read the article. He says that if it was just losing the page he would continue, even though he hates that. The point is they have threatened him with legal action if he continues. Specifically, they've threatened to involve the legal department (but it's possible that once involved, the legal department would choose to do nothing).

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (1)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about 7 months ago | (#45047931)

Sure, open source fixes everything. Except, you know, legal threats

If I can download an open source version and run it on my own, then yes it fixes the issue.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048283)

Isn't the extension itself the source code for it since firefox extensions are JS based?

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 7 months ago | (#45048355)

it fixes legal threats in some cases.

it changes the situation from suing an admin of a service to suing all users of the program.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 7 months ago | (#45048425)

Sure, open source fixes everything. Except, you know, legal threats.

If an open source Social Fixer clone shows up, who they gonna threaten?

Maybe a reverse class-action suit? The difference being that the defendant is the class of all people who think Facebook sucks but occasionally want to be able to use it without having to get that Facebook stink all over.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 7 months ago | (#45047869)

Previous status:
  - Matt gets small donations for his pet project, uses Facebook happily, has a Facebook fan page with 200,000 followers
Current status:
  - Matt is under threats he can not financially challenge (see reasoning in article), so he has to make a choice. Facebook demands removal of a few (key) features.
Option A:
  - Fight legally. Costs: Facebook can ban Matt, keep his fan page removed, and destroy his life.
Option B:
  - Comply. Matt gets his fan page back, and can continue as before, except that some (important) features will be missing (again, see blog post).
Option C (what you are suggesting):
  - Open Source it. Matt won't get any donations anymore, Facebook can still block him, keep his fan page removed. Matt also mentioned that Facebook has added FBPurity and other projects to a list of URLs that can not be shared on Facebook -- so they could do that too with a open source project.

So what you are suggesting is even worse than what he is considering. He mentions contacting the EFF, but for the smartest move is probably to comply for now.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (2)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about 7 months ago | (#45048015)

Option C (what you are suggesting): - Open Source it. Matt won't get any donations anymore, Facebook can still block him, keep his fan page removed. Matt also mentioned that Facebook has added FBPurity and other projects to a list of URLs that can not be shared on Facebook -- so they could do that too with a open source project.

The Tab code could be spun off as a separate open source project, which is what I suggested, not that he open source the entire thing.

Additionally who says open source can't get donations anymore? He can get donations for his complying software and donations for the open source script separately.

As for adding his URL to a blacklist, why would they add the complying Social Fixer to the blacklist if the Tab code is a separate open source script? We all know how fast the Streisand Effect spreads news in the tech world, those who want the extra functionality will spread the news even if Facebook demands he not link to the open source Tab program/script.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#45048135)

A list of URLs that cannot be shared on Facebook? Are they blocking all the URL shorteners?

Re: Open Source the Tab Code (2)

corychristison (951993) | about 7 months ago | (#45048359)

No but facebook (and twitter I think) resolve the short link, check for HTTP forwards, and check the forward URL against the block list.

I don't know if they check recursively or not, however.

Re:Open Source the Tab Code (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 7 months ago | (#45048433)

Matt also mentioned that Facebook has added FBPurity and other projects to a list of URLs that can not be shared on Facebook -- so they could do that too with a open source project

Oh, that works really well on the Internet. Yes, that's the answer. A big company taking a stand to make something disappear by making a big deal, legal threats and then blocking a URL. Oh yeah, that's a winning strategy.

Nobody will EVER know about it then, Ms Streisand.

LLC (2)

msauve (701917) | about 7 months ago | (#45047541)

It cost less than $50 to form an LLC in my state, which insulates your personal assets from business ones.

Re:LLC (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 months ago | (#45047567)

Only if you have enough lawyers. LLCs and Corporations for one-person entities have a very, very thin corporate veil.

Re:LLC (1)

TheResilientFarter (3216187) | about 7 months ago | (#45047793)

No, just have the right insurances and demonstrate the entity is treated independently, and the liability protections are the same as for any other. The most common example of an entity not protecting from liability is when it is used by professionals, which has a strict meaning to be doctors, lawyers, CPAs, etc, where the business, by its nature, is purely the individual providing services which are essentially inseparable from the person (legal opinion, medical procedure/opinion, etc). Usually these professionals only bother incorporating for tax benefit purposes.

The real problem faced by the Social Fixer is that the entity will be just as liable as he would, and would require the same resources, same amount of work, legal defense, headache, etc, so it would likely not present any kind of solution to the person's problem unless the entity is used to pool resources of others. However, from what I've read of this guy, he doesn't have any aspirations to do much more than code alone in his basement, so it seems unlikely he would want to establish an organization.

Re:LLC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048057)

The veil for a C corp is enough to prevent him from being sued personally and that is all he needs.

Re:LLC (1)

icebike (68054) | about 7 months ago | (#45048091)

LLCs for Corporations have never been pierced.
LLCs for sole proprietorship have only rarely been pierced.

Your Personal finances are pretty safe behind an LLC, that is after all precisely what they are for.

Re:LLC (2)

ThatAblaze (1723456) | about 7 months ago | (#45048155)

You could call it rarely, but when you look at the subset of "low grossing individuals who starts an LLC in order to shield himself from this sort of attack" rarely becomes often.

Re:LLC (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 7 months ago | (#45047589)

That's a great theory, which will survive about 5 seconds when an army of corporate lawyers come after you under the United States' legal system. Corporate shields are good for some things, but they are not completely judgement-proof, and the US does not have a general loser-pays policy to guard against bringing cases of questionable merit against people without the resources to defend themselves effectively.

Re:LLC (1)

bmo (77928) | about 7 months ago | (#45047617)

" but they are not completely judgement-proof,"

Unless some sort of financial malfeasance can be sufficiently proved the corporate veil works. Look at what happened with TheScoGroup . You'd think that IBM would have the power to pierce the corporate veil and nail Microsoft for champerty. They didn't.

--
BMO

Re:LLC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45047655)

IBM would have the power to ... nail Microsoft for champerty"

You might have missed the "people without the resources to defend themselves" part. Of course Microsoft is untouchable, they employ equal fractions of programmers, testers and lawyers.

more lawyers than programmers, one tester (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 7 months ago | (#45047711)

Based on the products they put out, I don't think it's equal. Some significant functionality appears to have never been tested. It's probably patented, though.

Re:LLC (1)

bmo (77928) | about 7 months ago | (#45047721)

>Of course Microsoft is untouchable

The corporate veil was TSG's. TSG vs. The Nazgul (ibm lawyers). Who would win, typically?

--
BMO

Re:LLC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45047701)

Do you know what Facebook-related thing happened today?

Well, I went to the beach, and a Seagull walked over to me as I was eating my plastic package of cheap sushi. This seagull's mouth was gaping open cawing, hungry for a piece of my sushi. Being a charitable man, I decided to indulge the seagull, so I got the largest piece of...

...wasabi balled up into a big ball, tossing it toward the seagull. The seagull gobbled up that ball of pure wasabi, a ball the size of a large marble. After shaking its head for a few seconds, the seagul gaped his mouth open and tried to caw, but this time it didn't sound like a caw -- it sounded like the raspy whisper of a lifelong smoker. That's what he gets for rudely interrputing my sunny afternoon read.

Disclaimer: the above IS a true story, except that it happened a couple months ago rather than today.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:LLC (2)

HiThere (15173) | about 7 months ago | (#45048139)

The problem with "loser pays" is that if they are "bringing cases of questionable merit against people without the resources to defend themselves effectivelly", and they have a strong legal department, they will likely be able to outlast the party they are attacking, and thus win by default. So you will be required to pay their expenses.

IOW, it's not a solution. A solution might be to limit the amount each side can pay to a mutually agreed limit...but I can't imagine the corporations agreeing to that, as some people would choose to be their own lawyer...and nobody (just about nobody?) works for a corporation for free.

Re:LLC (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 7 months ago | (#45048537)

That is only true if the loser is guaranteed to pay, which isn't strictly the case in any jurisdiction I'm familiar with (though IANAL and YMMV). Where I am, as I understand it there is effectively a presumption that the loser will cover the costs of both parties in most cases. However, the judge still has to actually award those costs as part of the process and they can exercise some discretion in the sort of situation you're describing where the two parties have wildly different resources available.

For example, if a company with professional lawyers on retainer deliberately caused the proceedings to drag on more than was reasonable necessary to make their case, in the process incurring professional expenses many times greater than the damages involved in the first place, the judge might decide that they should have known better and not award the costs. Thus the court has a way to avoid the systemic trap you described.

Re:LLC (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 7 months ago | (#45048623)

...

Okay. Look, what you do is set up or buy TWO incorporated entities. For software, you release it BSD open sourced, i.e. closed source. Put source out on a website with a deep link anyone can get to.... but won't, since it's not in the site (or search) index.

First one gets sued, you drop it like it's hot. Bankruptcy. Keep trucking along with the 2nd corp, and acquire or create yet another entity. "... rest assured, this will be the sixth time they have destroyed it, and we have become exceedingly efficient at incorporating."

In other words: Suer Always Wins. And gets fuck-all.

Re:LLC (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 7 months ago | (#45048791)

Pay your own side, but you get reimbursement if you win.

Or we should just give up and concede that the rich will always win no matter what.

The first rule of AdBlock... (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 months ago | (#45047585)

If they don't know what AdBlock is...wow, that's just sad.

Re:The first rule of AdBlock... (3, Informative)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 7 months ago | (#45047733)

Facebook makes about $16/year/user [techcrunch.com] in English-speaking North America—and it's believed that about 10% of all web traffic is ad-blocked [clarityray.com] . I'm guessing there are some other people at Facebook who are aware of this situation!

Re:The first rule of AdBlock... (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 7 months ago | (#45048165)

Well, if I used FaceBook, this would inspire me to use adblock and block every ad they carry. Normally I just avoid sites that are too ad-heavy...this would inspire me, however.

1st rule of AdBlock = inferior (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048427)

Hosts do more w/ less (1 file) @ a faster level (ring 0) vs redundant browser addons (slowing up slower ring 3 browsers) via filtering 4 the IP stack (coded in C & load w/ OS + 1st net request resolver queried w\ 45++ yrs.of optimization):

---

APK Hosts File Engine 9.0++ 32/64-bit:

http://start64.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5851:apk-hosts-file-engine-64bit-version&catid=26:64bit-security-software&Itemid=74 [start64.com]

(Benefits hosts files provide on numerous levels for speed, security, reliability, & anonymity = in link above)

---

* Makes hosts population (even w/subdomains) EASY via 12 reputable security community sources + saves up to 40% bandwidth on avg. per site page!

---

A.) Hosts do more than AdBlock ("souled-out" 2 Google/Crippled by default) + Ghostery (Advertiser owned) - "Foxes guard a henhouse", or Request Policy -> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4127345&cid=44701775 [slashdot.org]

B.) Hosts add reliability vs. downed DNS & protect vs redirected DNS + secure vs. known malicious domains too -> http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3985079&cid=44310431 [slashdot.org] w/ less added "moving parts" complexity + room 4 breakdown,

C.) Hosts files yield more speed (blocks ads & hardcodes fav sites - faster than remote DNS), security (vs. malicious domains serving mal-content + block spam/phish), reliability (vs. downed DNS or vs. Kaminsky vulnerable DNS, 99% = unpatched vs. it & worst @ ISP level + weak vs FastFlux + DynDNS botnets), & anonymity (vs. dns request logs + DNSBL's).

---

"Less is more" = GOOD engineering!

(Vs. slowing down SLOWER usermode browsers layering on MORE in addons which slow them down more: I work w/ what you have in kernelmode, via hosts - A tightly integrated PART of the IP stack itself)

APK

P.S.=> "The premise is, quite simple: Take something designed by nature & reprogram it to make it work FOR the body, rather than against it..." - Dr. Alice Krippen "I AM LEGEND"

...apk

Re:The first rule of AdBlock... (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 7 months ago | (#45048483)

Of course they know about AdBlock. Their claim was just a diversionary "no comment" tactic.

Just another reason not to use The Face Book (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45047625)

As if we really needed another one. What a joke of a company.

Re:Just another reason not to use The Face Book (4, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 7 months ago | (#45047751)

Well, as I said previously [slashdot.org] , the problem with Social Fixer was that they *were* giving people a reason to use Facebook by making an app that *temporarily* alleviates some of the inconvenience caused by the latter's behaviour and policies without actually forcing- or even encouraging- them to change. Then failing as soon as Facebook change things round again.

They've designed an app that automatically jumps when Facebook wants their users to jump. It fixes nothing in the long term; quite the opposite, by making it marginally more comfortable to stay with Facebook, they're hiding and drawing attention away from the fundamental issue, which is Facebook's behaviour, business model and contemptious attitude towards its users. Only they have the power to change that, and they won't. The only solution is to encourage people not to use Facebook, and Social Fixer is a hindrance in that respect.

Social Fixer might seem helpful on the surface, but it's part of the Facebook ecosystem, and part of the problem, not the solution.

Re:Just another reason not to use The Face Book (4, Informative)

epine (68316) | about 7 months ago | (#45047893)

part of the problem, not the solution

This kind of logic is itself part of the problem. It presumes that people are engaged in the political dimensions of their life activities everywhere and always. Now perhaps you think the world would be a better place if this were true, and you might have the view—from within the confines of your evidently narrow and sheltered life—that we all have limitless capacity to politicize our every twitch and sneeze. But we don't, and it's not effective.

I have a range of issues where I'm especially well placed (though aptitude, knowledge, experience, and social connections) to speak out loudly and effectively. The rest of the time, like everyone else, I'm merely trying to get through life without succumbing to death by paper cut. Facebook is a cancer, so I don't go there at all, but if I did, I wouldn't regard Social Fixer as part of the problem. I'd regard it as a dry pair of socks, so I could live to hike another day.

But sure, if your boots pinch, burn your socks. It's true: you won't ever buy a bad-fitting pair of boots ever again. Too bad about those refrigerated vaccines you were trekking into a remote African village. Better luck next year.

Out of business either way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45047699)

Without those features, his extension is useless to people who might have contributed money and he is going to end up having to get a real job again.

Social Fixer? (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 7 months ago | (#45047737)

Don't mention what the fuck it does or anything.

Re:Social Fixer? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 7 months ago | (#45048023)

Not a whole lot anymore. I have switched away when he added a lot of annoying crap. There are other greasemonkey scripts that do the same thing but faster now

Re:Social Fixer? (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | about 7 months ago | (#45048479)

Don't mention what the fuck it does or anything.

Didn't you read the summary? It makes Facebook three to four times more usable. Which, given the specificity of that statement, we can assume to be scientifically measured and verified.

when a dev misinterprets his role (1)

poisonborz (2676611) | about 7 months ago | (#45047747)

Why is he surprised? This dev created a tool that manipulates FB's core features (even if only on the front-end) - sure, it is used by a niche slice of users, but its a threat that FB understandably tries to marginalize, if not ericadate. Instead of anonimity and silent work, SocFixer's dev made his person public, he even contacted and taunted FB (while crying loud to its users through in-app messages) - he still naively believes that his public outcry and a few thousand users would push FB to continue to let him propagate this hack right on a FB page. I absolutely love Social Fixer and respect Matt Kruse's work, but his irresponsibility in not being anonymous with this type of project will now probably kill this great tool.

Meh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45047781)

I still don't get why people use facebook/twitter/etc - I started, tried it for about a year, with a few hundred friends/followers the signal to noise ratio is stupid, and the signal I do care about I already have direct from the source, in real life - the people I actually interact with, talk to, text/call/skype on a weekly basis.

I haven't used either in over two years - and honestly, I feel like I get to know more about the people I want to, and in a more personal way, in less time - than with some ad infested data mining site that somehow people 'willingly' sign up to.

Retaliation (1, Interesting)

BigBadBus (653823) | about 7 months ago | (#45047785)

I use Social Fixer all the time and while I haven't used any of the exotic features like tabbing that people are so enamoured with, I can see how they could be a great boon to some users. But I feel that Kruse is being naive in asking people to respond to his comments about Social Fixer and Facebook's demands. When his Social Fixer page was eradicated, he and his admin staff were suspended by Facebook. By venting their spleen on his current page, users are identifying themselves and do you really think Facebook will think twice about deleting a couple of hundred or thousand of disgruntled people? Of course not. Thats why I don't reply to the Social Fixer forums on Facebook. God knows who is monitoring the conversations!

Re: Retaliation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048633)

Are you kidding? Being banned from Facebook is price enough to stand up for something you believe in, especially something as trivial as this. Hopefully they ban hundreds of thousands!

jobs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45047787)

my co-worker's mom makes $76 every hour on the internet. She has been out of work for six months but last month her pay check was $12072 just working on the internet for a few hours. navigate to this website................. BUZZ55.OM

The problem is our legal system? (4, Insightful)

guanxi (216397) | about 7 months ago | (#45047795)

Clearly justice is denied when one party can use the threat of a lawsuit to compel another to capitulate, simply because they can't afford to defend themselves. Everyone knows it works this way. Why don't more people object?

Re:The problem is our legal system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45047855)

People don't have the resources to object to it, hence the brutal cycle.

Re:The problem is our legal system? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048263)

Clearly justice is denied when one party can use the threat of a lawsuit to compel another to capitulate, simply because they can't afford to defend themselves. Everyone knows it works this way. Why don't more people object?

Because the converse is total paralysis when malicious people with more free time than money can tie anything up in litigation. This pretty much a no brainer, except perhaps to you and the few who modded you up.

Re:The problem is our legal system? (1)

elloz (3382559) | about 7 months ago | (#45048445)

How would you know if they're not objecting? The mass media serve the corporate interest, not the interests of the Common Man.

Re:The problem is our legal system? (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 7 months ago | (#45048521)

Why don't more people object?

For the same reason he doesn't; You learn early in life if you stand up for what you believe in, authority will make an example out of you. So you learn to fly under the radar, and cherish those precious few moments in life when you can do good without being punished.

It's youthful idealism to think people will risk their freedom, their home, their financial security, their family, to combat an injustice. Especially against a vastly better equipped adversary like a large corporation with an excessively-sized legal department and millions or billions of dollars to burn... and full access to a legal system that can take away everything you own and away from everyone you know, at the snap of a gavel.

The few people who can't give up their idealism to become "successful" (that is, capitulate to the demands of the dominant social institutions of their era) very rarely manage to achieve social change -- the Ghandis and Martin Luther Kings to the Che Guevaras, etc., in a socially acceptable fashion. The majority simply become homeless, outcast from the system, develop mental or physical illness, and die early, and generally alone. And then there's the extreme fringe that, so frustrated by an inability to accomplish anything, take themselves out of the picture in a hailstorm of bullets or fire. Terrorism can promote social change, though it's politically unpopular to say this.

But as you can see... idealism is not particularly practical, which is why few people practice it except in small doses.

Re:The problem is our legal system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048891)

Why don't more people object?

For the same reason he doesn't; You learn early in life if you stand up for what you believe in, authority will make an example out of you. So you learn to fly under the radar, and cherish those precious few moments in life when you can do good without being punished.

It's youthful idealism to think people will risk their freedom, their home, their financial security, their family, to combat an injustice. Especially against a vastly better equipped adversary like a large corporation with an excessively-sized legal department and millions or billions of dollars to burn... and full access to a legal system that can take away everything you own and away from everyone you know, at the snap of a gavel.

The few people who can't give up their idealism to become "successful" (that is, capitulate to the demands of the dominant social institutions of their era) very rarely manage to achieve social change -- the Ghandis and Martin Luther Kings to the Che Guevaras, etc., in a socially acceptable fashion. The majority simply become homeless, outcast from the system, develop mental or physical illness, and die early, and generally alone. And then there's the extreme fringe that, so frustrated by an inability to accomplish anything, take themselves out of the picture in a hailstorm of bullets or fire. Terrorism can promote social change, though it's politically unpopular to say this.

But as you can see... idealism is not particularly practical, which is why few people practice it except in small doses.

Your comment gives me a crappy black feeling deep inside my chest.

Makes Facebook more usable (4, Insightful)

Danathar (267989) | about 7 months ago | (#45047805)

"It makes Facebook at least three or four times more usable"

You know what makes Facebook more usable? Not using Facebook.

Yes, I just burned Karma.

Re:Makes Facebook more usable (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 7 months ago | (#45048313)

Yes, I just burned Karma.

Currently modded to +5.

Censorship is bad! NSA is evil! Facebook is for sheeple! Microsoft sucks! Apple sucks! Google sucks! Go Edward Snowden! Ooooh, I'm a rebel! Dancing on the edge!

Re:Makes Facebook more usable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048511)

No sir, you just traded internet Karma for real Karma. Collect enough real Karma and you get something useful, like a beer.

Re:Makes Facebook more usable (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 7 months ago | (#45048653)

You know what makes Facebook more usable? Not using Facebook.

Yes, I just burned Karma.

Well, that would be deserved.

"You know what makes a stove more usable? Not cooking!"

see?

Facebook is worst kind of double crossing scum (2, Insightful)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 7 months ago | (#45047849)

First they create an API to help engender an ecosystem that attracts developers to improve the platform and thus bring in more users. Then after the ecosystem is established and FB goes IPO for billions they start pulling the rug from underneath the third-party developers that helped get them there. FB deserves a fate worse than MySpace.

Re:Facebook is worst kind of double crossing scum (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 7 months ago | (#45048491)

Facebook is a company which exists solely to make money. As long as people continue using it, and putting up with their crap, then they will continue to focus solely on making money. That's neither good nor bad; it's just market forces at work. You are free to go use another service, or create your own to replace it.

Re:Facebook is worst kind of double crossing scum (2)

shentino (1139071) | about 7 months ago | (#45048799)

No you are not free to go and make your own if the established players can trump up legal attacks on you and force you out.

Re:Facebook is worst kind of double crossing scum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048505)

FB stock is inflated so high it's worse than the housing bubble before it poped. FB stock doesn't have value behind it to be so high. When it corrects down to a price in-line with it's true value, perhaps around 2 or 3 bucks, it will be a bad fate for stock holders. FB is for losers, stop using FB and get a life !

ill tell you how to fix it (3, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | about 7 months ago | (#45047853)

QUIT USING FACEBOOK!!!

i dont have a facebook account, no twitter account. no myspace account, i refuse to sign up to some lamer social network and spill my guts about my personal life to the world, if you knew my real name and googled it you wont find any information about me, no photos of me, because i refuse to upload that information to the internet, you have to learn to use the internet without letting the internet use you

Re:ill tell you how to fix it (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 7 months ago | (#45047941)

THIS THIS THIS THIS

So much this.

My policy is exactly the same.

I used to hate how the web had outgrown the internet. I use the Internet a lot more than I use the web. I usually keep more SSH connections than open tabs, and my torrent traffic far exceeds any web use. Well, we're coming to an even sadder reality: Not only has the web eaten the Internet, a handful of websites are eating the internet.

Re:ill tell you how to fix it (4, Informative)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | about 7 months ago | (#45048085)

You have slashdot account and you voice your opinions and activities in it (telling us what you do and don't have). If that's not social I don't know what is.

Comments like

if the niggers in the ghetto were not such a bunch of criminal gangstas then racism would not be an issue,

the bleeding heart liberals and ghetto niggers can holler "racism" all they want, and i will holler "go to hell nigger gangster" because i have a right to know where the danger zones are despite it being populated with mostly trashy criminal niggers

and many, MANY others can be data mined and tied to you (don't think a pseudonym and alternative mail account do much in the way of privacy).

You have absolutely no grounds on telling other people what to do or giving advice about "not getting used by the internet".

Re:ill tell you how to fix it (2)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 7 months ago | (#45048715)

Slashdot also lets you read it, even post, without an account.

Likewise, you can view a Twitter feed or follow a link to a tweeted pic, even through you don't have an account. Ditto a Myspace band-page (or whatever people use Myspace for.) I believe G+ is the same (not sure. I have a gmail account, and thanks to their insistent cross-liking, I apparently have every other G-account.) In other words, they are all "on the web".

Facebook requires you to have a Facebook account and logged in merely to read a posting on someone else's wall, even if you are following a direct link. They are not "on the Web". They are a distinct, private service that happens to use the internet for access.

Worse than Slashdot, worse than Twitter, worse than Myspace, worse even than Google. They are AOL of the 21st century.

Re:ill tell you how to fix it (1)

elloz (3382559) | about 7 months ago | (#45048463)

Good on you for not being a member. I'm the same way. I like self-presentation, but I see no reason to do it through any service that betrays me and claims ownership over my data. I would go one step further and say it is unethical to join up with these services, because it encourages others to do so.

They should sue browsers too ... (4, Insightful)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | about 7 months ago | (#45047897)

The solution to this is obviously to avoid facebook/twitter and all that shit like the plague.

Regardless, how can they sue somebody for doing a fucking greasemonkey script? "This software tinkers with our webpage" seems to be their logic. Well, so does every browser on planet earth. HTML is a declarative language, you REQUIRE a user agent to interpret your webpage. Essentially, you are telling the user "well, here is this information, and we think it should be displayed sort of like this". That's it. The user can either parse the code on his own (aka just read the source), or write some code to do it, or use somebody else's code to parse it. How are the actions performed by this script any different from what any browser does?

If you publish a website, everytime it's displayed, you are acting as GUESTS in my computer, no the other way around, and you'll play by my rules.

Re:They should sue browsers too ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048007)

and you'll play by my rules, BITCHES!

Re:They should sue browsers too ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048547)

Holy shit. Someone that actually knows what a website is.

Re:They should sue browsers too ... (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 7 months ago | (#45048801)

They can sue someone because they have money to burn on a legal budget, and for no other reason.

This is simply a case of might makes right.

Hate Mail to Facebook (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 7 months ago | (#45047957)

Okay, where is the most effective place to send hate mail or equivalent to Facebook? As many of you know, FB is almost impossible to contact directly or actually speak with a live person despite them employing thousands of them. Even their telephone number only leads you to a number of different messages and voice mail boxes that appears to mostly be dead-end bit buckets.

Re:Hate Mail to Facebook (3, Insightful)

HiThere (15173) | about 7 months ago | (#45048195)

Who advertises on FaceBook? Send it to them. And tell them why.

Caution: This may not be effective. Some companies believe that any publicity is good publicity.

dic3k (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45047963)

about outside rivalry, and we'll approximately 90% FrreBSD showed

I troubleshooted his website (0)

Laebshade (643478) | about 7 months ago | (#45047969)

Nice guy.

I worked at Hostgator a couple of years ago, and he had performance issues with his server with us. The problem he had with his website is he was sending all communication, even non-critical stuff, over SSL. The software was evening making SSL checks for updates. Once I explained to him that he shouldn't have it check for updates via SSL (could still do the actual update via SSL), he intended to disable that. Looks like it worked out for him.

Transfer of power (1)

gnerdalot (3382307) | about 7 months ago | (#45047997)

The power of herding users is being bought from power-users by corporations (for the cost of nice cushy jobs, salaries and stocks).

This tool affects Facebook revenue (2)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 7 months ago | (#45048073)

by making Facebook "3-4 times more usable", it reduces the time people spend stuck with burdensome Facebook advertising and workflow to access desired material. In other words, it reduces Facebook's revenue for advertising from those links and burdensome clickthroughs. _Of course_ they object, and _of course_ they feel he's in violation of his terms of service or even more severe contract violations for interfering with what they try to sel to the advertisers and customer tracking companies, who actually pay Facebook's bills.

Why is there surprise that Facebook's legal staff and management would threaten the tool author over this?

Happened to author of FB Purity too (2)

UpnAtom (551727) | about 7 months ago | (#45048387)

I remember Kruse being very dismissive then.

Also FB Purity is a much better extension.

http://www.fbpurity.com/ [fbpurity.com]

Re:Happened to author of FB Purity too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048819)

Looks like FB Purity is under fire from FB as well.

Re:Happened to author of FB Purity too (1)

UpnAtom (551727) | about 7 months ago | (#45048837)

Indeed, that link is blocked by Facebook. The author had to rename the extension to Fluff-Busting Purity too. I haven't seen him complain about FB lawyers in a while though so let's hope they're leaving him alone.

FB not ethical (1)

elloz (3382559) | about 7 months ago | (#45048437)

Facebook's motto seems to be Let's Be Evil. Time after time, what they do is really not friendly, not nice, not fair, not good. It's evil and based on my experiences with them, I'd say they like it that way.

285th Rule Of Acquisition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048541)

"No good deed ever goes unpunished."

The lesson here is not to do nice things for scum.

In other, much older words,

"Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."

Matthew 7:6

Fuck Zuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048625)

What else can I say . . . .

Re:Fuck Zuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048651)

Zuck on it.

This also just happened to FB Unseen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#45048929)

I was using the FB Unseen plug-in to avoid notifying friends when I had "seen" their message, because I may occasionally want to browse my notifications at 3AM but that doesn't mean I want to make an announcement about it. "Hey guess what everyone, I had a sleepless night last night! Queue the insomnia questions!"

Unfortunately it looks like FB Unseen just got hit with the same legal threats. And the author updated it to just disable and uninstall itself! Guess I will have to find something else to do during those bouts of insomnia.

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