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173 comments

Adversitement (5, Funny)

ickeicke (927264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471601)

CmdrTaco has bought a Swedish-made penis-enlargement pump!

Re:Adversitement (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21471639)

CmdrTaco has bought a Swedish-made penis-enlargement pump!
I don't even know what that is! That sort of thing ain't my bag, baby.

Posting AC so people don't know who I... D'oh!

Re:Adversitement (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21471699)

a Swedish-made penis-enlargement pump!
I don't even know what that is! That sort of thing ain't my bag, baby.


      Yes because you'd actually have to look for and find your penis before it would be of any use to you

I guess accuracy is too much to hope for (5, Informative)

blowdart (31458) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471615)

The neatest part is that you can opt out- if you click a box that disappears after 20 seconds... wait to long, and they assume you are totally fine with it.

Not true; the FaceBook provides a secondary method of opting out, just like you can control lots of privacy tweaks already. There's a nice new option for "External Websites: You can edit your privacy settings for external websites sending stories to your profile." (this is not to say there aren't privacy problems with Facebook in general) [facebook.com]

I guess actually looking before writing a news article would have been just too hard.

Re:I guess accuracy is too much to hope for (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21471667)

Can you hear that? That gentle, almost hypnotic sound, like a distant angel's drum beat? Do you hear it? Close your eyes and listen. Close your eyes and let the sound wash over you. The sweet and gentle sound... of my balls.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

I am now fucking your mouth.
I am now fucking your mouth.
I am now fucking your mouth.
I am now fucking your mouth.
I am now fucking your mouth.
I am now fucking your mouth.
I am now fucking your mouth.
I am now fucking your mouth.

that's not the issue, though? (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471719)

( off-topic, but w(hy)tf does one need to log in to see that url ( http://www.facebook.com/privacy.php [facebook.com] ) ? Is facebook that much of an elitist "you're with us or you're against us / a loser"-clique that even such documents are behind a 'members only' login? geezus )

Anyway... what you describe is third party websites sending stories to your profile. As I understand it, the whole hubbub is about advertisers using data -from- your profile and all of the data relating to it (such as purchases). For example: "blowdart [your picture here] rated Miss Congeniality 4.5/5 - buy now and save $2.50!"

Re:that's not the issue, though? (4, Informative)

Phlegethon_River (1136619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471767)

Because it isn't just their privacy policy. It is the page where you set your privacy options. Thats why.

Re:I guess accuracy is too much to hope for (5, Informative)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471753)

The main problem is that you have to opt out AFTER a site tries (or succeeds) at adding a story to your profile. If you don't respond to the popup (20 seconds OR a blocker), it assumes that you do indeed want to add the story to your profile. While you can disable it later, it might be a few hours or days before you notice if you're not a heavy Facebook user. And, you can only disable it on a site-by-site basis in this manner.

Many nontechnical users that have hare angry. Many Slashdotters use NoScript or something to that effect.

If you get the Blocksite plugin and block *.facebook.com/beacon/*, you can use Facebook normally and not have to worry about sites that implement it- the script that runs the beacon never gets to run, and there is no chance for the story to be sent.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21471825)

Mod parent up. This is the crux of the problem.

Re:I guess accuracy is too much to hope for (5, Interesting)

Garridan (597129) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472393)

Facebooks' policy is, and has always been, "It's better to ask forgiveness, than permission" with regards to policy. They claim to be for your privacy, but whenever they roll out a new feature that might be a privacy concern, they opt you in and don't make any sort of announcement so it can be months before you notice that you can close out such features. I used to be on facebook, and I recently closed my account because of such bullshit. A lot of my friends, my fiance, my mom, etc., acted rather put-out like I'm intentionally avoiding them or something. It's wierd how much pressure I've felt (though not from my fiance, she gets it) to re-join. News like this is just what I need to show people why I left.

Re:I guess accuracy is too much to hope for (1)

ebs16 (1069862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472765)

The facebook privacy settings are completely useless. This is the complete text from the "External Websites" page in my facebook privacy settings: -------- Privacy Settings for External Websites Show your friends what you like and what you're up to outside of Facebook. When you take actions on the sites listed below, you can choose to have those actions sent to your profile. Please note that these settings only affect notifications on Facebook. You will still be notified on affiliate websites when they send stories to Facebook. You will be able to decline individual stories at that time. No sites have tried sending stories to your profile -------- I have to opt-out after the purchase is made. Also, keep in mind that I have my facebook privacy settings set to not publish any of my actions on other people's news feeds, but edits to my profile will still show up in my mini-feed and in my friends' news feeds. Even if Facebook did allow a blanket opt-out of beacon, I doubt that it will be any more effective than their current privacy settings.

Re:I guess accuracy is too much to hope for (4, Insightful)

irtza (893217) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471929)

Show your friends what you like and what you're up to outside of Facebook. When you take actions on the sites listed below, you can choose to have those actions sent to your profile. Please note that these settings only affect notifications on Facebook. You will still be notified on affiliate websites when they send stories to Facebook. You will be able to decline individual stories at that time. No sites have tried sending stories to your profile


I hope you are not suggesting that I wait until after a site sends something to my profile to have means to stop it? This would be ok, if you alone are notified of the attempt before it can be successfully carried out. What if someone doesn't notice the little blip they put up on the external site? Can they still block others from seeing something even if its only once? I won't have to worry about this because my account is registered with an email I don't use for shopping, so I am asking because I can only find out from others experiences. That at least is the point most people here are getting at.

Anything other than having the default be no consent, there seems to be something wrong with this model. I think this may mean people will start shopping with a non-facebook registered email address.

My solution from a while ago was to create a new email address for every site I register with (it is a mail forwarder - i don't actually check dozens of email addresses). This gives me the ability to delete the address if it starts getting too much spam (selling of email addresses was one of the original reasons for me to do this). a sideeffect is that it hinders (though does not block) sharing of my info amongst businesses.

Re:I guess accuracy is too much to hope for (2, Interesting)

emmadw (768195) | more than 6 years ago | (#21473115)

As I understand it, it doesn't compare email addresses, it uses a Facebook cookie. So, if you're logged into Facebook at the time, or you don't clear your cookies once you no longer need them, then it can tell.
The site has to install a small bit of code which creates the cookie.
I'm not entirely sure if Firefox etc. sees them as 3rd party cookies or not.

The suggestion that others have made of blocking /facebook.com/beacon/* would seem a good way to go as far as I can tell. There are also programmes (e.g. Spyblocker) that would let you do that if you're an IE user, rather than a Firefox one. (And, I think that Opera lets you do it in the browser.

So, there are ways around it.

What annoys me, and from what I've seen, a lot of Facebook users, is that it's opt out on a site by site basis, unless you happen to know a lot about how it works. Which the average Facebook user doesn't, and while there are arguments that all internet users should be aware of all these tricks, I, personally, think that it's not really very fair of Facebook to work on the assumption that many don't know how to avoid it.

Re:I guess accuracy is too much to hope for (3, Informative)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471931)

I just checked my facebook privacy settings and it just gives a stupid message and has no options to opt out. I guess my privacy has to be violated first and only then am I able to tell them that I didn't like it.

Show your friends what you like and what you're up to outside of Facebook. When you take actions on the sites listed below, you can choose to have those actions sent to your profile. Please note that these settings only affect notifications on Facebook. You will still be notified on affiliate websites when they send stories to Facebook. You will be able to decline individual stories at that time. No sites have tried sending stories to your profile

Re:I guess accuracy is too much to hope for (3, Informative)

$random_var (919061) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471981)

FaceBook provides a secondary method of opting out, just like you can control lots of privacy tweaks already. There's a nice new option for "External Websites: You can edit your privacy settings for external websites sending stories to your profile."

This is only partly true: the secondary opt-out only applies to stories created after the opt-out. Facebook will continue to publish stories that were created before opting out.

I know this from personal experience after I tried the primary opt-out but was too slow (I stopped to try and figure out what I was opting out of, and then it published it while I was still trying to figure out what was going on!) Then I tried the secondary opt-out after hunting for it, and discovered that didn't stop the story from being published either.

Opting Out (5, Informative)

megazork (953335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472087)

If you look at it more closely [facebook.com] you can't opt out of the service generally. Every time a new site tries sending stuff to your news feed you have to go back to the Facebook privacy page and opt out of that particular site.

Aside from AdBlock, you can do the following to effectively de-activate this service:
1. Get Firefox
2. Download and Install the BlockSite plugin for Firefox.
3. After restarting Firefox select 'Add-ons' from the Tools menu.
4. Click the 'Options' button on the BlockSite extension
5. Click the 'Add' button
6. Enter http://facebook.com/beacon/* [facebook.com] into the input box
7. Click 'OK'
8. Click 'OK' again and you are good to go.

Re:Opting Out (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472787)

Aside from AdBlock, you can do the following to effectively de-activate this service:

I think closing ones account and would be an infinitely preferable option. Yours only resolves this one issue. But what about the next one? And the one after that?

They say don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, and that's fine, but I think the facebook baby went down the drain a while ago, and all that's left is a mass of humanity puttering around in its own dirty bathwater.

Re:I guess accuracy is too much to hope for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21472921)

> I guess actually looking before writing a news article would have been just too hard.

Why can't I just turn the fucking service off??????

What do you expect on a free service? (4, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471617)

Personally, I think it's a fair trade. What do you expect when you put all your personal information in to a web-site that is free to use? They have to make money some how and the easiest way to do that is to sell your information on to other people or come to agreements with other companies to find ways to market to you.

If you don't like that then don't use Facebook!

If you want your own soap box under your own rules then get your own site. You can even run these out of your own house now provided you're with a civilised ISP.

Simon

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (5, Insightful)

techmuse (160085) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471907)

At universities, this has replaced e-mail as a primary form of communication. I ask people I meet for an e-mail address. They tell me to look them up on facebook. At a university, you would literally be cutting out much of your social life if you never used facebook, because most of the people at the school expect that you will communicate with them through it. It's like saying that if you don't like the subscriptions and lock-ins that the cell companies require in the US, that you just don't use a cell phone. The price of ignoring it is huge.

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (0, Flamebait)

DavidSev (1108917) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472235)

Sounds like you go to a stupid university.
I have never had anyone tell me to go to facebook, which is good, as I don't have a facebook account.
That and at my university every gets given a short email account, so we just use them, if necessary.
(And people do check the emails, as the university send out lots of important info via it.)

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (1, Troll)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472655)

At a university, you would literally be cutting out much of your social life if you never used facebook
Your post illustrates one of the things wrong with many university students today (primarily in the United States), and that is an emphasis weighted in favor of socializing over serious study. This is reflected in the overall quality of US collage graduates (there are exceptions), which is low. Yet another factor that will end up sealing America's fate as a Second Tier Nation...

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21472673)

Your post illustrates one of the things wrong with many university students today (primarily in the United States), and that is an emphasis weighted in favor of socializing over serious study. This is reflected in the overall quality of US collage graduates (there are exceptions), which is low. Yet another factor that will end up sealing America's fate as a Second Tier Nation...

shut up, nerd.

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (-1, Flamebait)

Chase Husky (1131573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472951)

What wonderfully grandiose, sweeping generalizations. Come back when you've earned the right to wear a Brass/Grad Rat and have a passable social life to boot.

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21473093)

You illustrate the parent's point well. Enjoy your career in "sales", it's a rewarding "field".

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (1)

Chase Husky (1131573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21473157)

Sales? What in the hell are you talking about? I'm a medical researcher.

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21473259)

Sales? What in the hell are you talking about? I'm a medical researcher.
That's like being a "security researcher" here at Slashdot, right? So "medical researcher" really means you're a stoner?

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (1)

Chase Husky (1131573) | more than 6 years ago | (#21473325)

That's like being a "security researcher" here at Slashdot, right?
And no, it's not like being a "security researcher." I regularly publish my work in international, scientific journals, attend conferences and brief my peers.

So "medical researcher" really means you're a stoner?
Damn, you mean it's that apparent I went to Berkeley?

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472711)

It's like saying that if you don't like the subscriptions and lock-ins that the cell companies require in the US, that you just don't use a cell phone. The price of ignoring it is huge.
The difference here is that you can at least use a regular phone. and there are prepaid phones. And they all interoperate! Not so with Facebook! If you don't have an account on your university's network, you can't see more than names of people (and tiny pictures).

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (4, Insightful)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472775)

Orly?
Cry more.

What facebook is doing is contemptible. But if you can't take a stand against something like this that requires such a minor inconvenience... Good Lord! All it takes is for when you're exchanging information that you explain you're against facebook and you give a phone number or email address or domain name or aim name. Anything else they can use to get in touch with you. Most people will admire you for taking a stand, it shows strength. If someone really wants to speak to you in the future they will make the necessary arrangements. What's going to happen when someone really steps on your civil liberties or wrongs you in some way like, oh I don't know, the governement and you're required to make a real democratic sacrifice in order to fix things?
Are you going to sit there as you do now and cry like a little baby about the inconvenience it would bring into your life?

There was a time students would get out and protest against illegal or amoral wars, now they care more about their latte or facefuckmeintheassbook.

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (3, Insightful)

bigdavesmith (928732) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472833)

They tell me to look them up on facebook.
The only time I ever do this is when I don't actually want someone to get ahold of me. Facebook makes a nice intermediary, especially if they're just going to send me messages or write on my wall where I can easily ignore them.

At my university, this doesn't fly for legitimate communications. Facebook is quickly gaining on myspace for the electronic embodiment of tackiness. A phone call is best, an instant message has the benefit of being...well...instant. Even email works. A message on Facebook is like a Fisher Price email.
I don't buy the social networking argument either. Facebook is great if you want a huge number of 'friends' to show off, or really want to give someone a 'pet duck' or 'sixpack of beer'. It's not bad to get a glimpse at what someone might be like based on a profile, but the usefulness pretty much ends there. I've never had a physical relationship that involved sending a 'super poke' (at least not on facebook), or formed a business connection by sending someone a virtual 'small box with a hole in it'.
Of course your mileage may differ, and I'm getting ready to graduate, so the freshman crowd may see things differently, but particularly with the direction that facebook is heading, anyone who uses it as a serious means of communication is just hindering themselves.

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21473267)

The price of ignoring it is only as large as you place value on it. The fact is, you can choose to NOT own a cell phone. You can choose to NOT be a part of Facebook. You can choose to NOT surf the Internet. I know plenty of people that do and lead very successful lives. Maybe you need it because its your security blanket. Or that you think that because everyone else has it, that you should have it--that you will be left out if you don't have it this very moment. I have a funny feeling that you were one of those kids in school that always got picked last.

If you choose to be on Facebook (it sounds like you already have), then you'd be smart to install the BlockSite plug-in recommended here. And while you're at it, install Adblock Plus and Flash Block. It'll all come in handy for all the other sites that like to annoy the hell out of their users.

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (2, Informative)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471959)

The problem really has nothing to do with what information is on your page. I have little information other than my name, age, school and these ads will still show up simply by purchasing something on an outside website. I can't opt out until AFTER it happens.

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (2, Insightful)

morethanapapercert (749527) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472027)

And in fact that is exactly what I did. I quit, and provided a rather detailed and scathing response when asked why I was quitting.
  I was fine with being shown ads, bandwidth and server racks ain't free after all and they gotta be paid for somehow right? I started getting uneasy when they moved to targeted ads. The idea of software scanning my profile for keywords is unpleasant but I rationalized that perhaps the information wasn't being sent off-site or being stored in any permanent sense. But after Microsoft bought into Facebook, that is when I really started paying attention to what the site was doing with MY information. (As far as I am concerned, even if I chose to share it with some site, it remains MY info. I do not agree to sharing it with "marketing affiliates" and the like unless you explicitly list the names and business addresses of the companies involved AND spell out what their data policies are.)
  The idea of taking my profile information and perhaps my business relationship data and using it to sell to my friends is pretty f&^%ing sleazy in my book and I flat out won't put up with it. IMHO, it means the marketers are banking on my reputation to sell their crap. And it probably IS crap, stuff I would never recommend to a friend or family member. If it was a worthwhile product, it'd already be getting word of mouth referral no?
  Worse yet, the agreements and descriptions carefully leave open the possibility of off site marketing as well. The example I read used Amazon. I list books and reading as among my interests in Facebook, Amazon targets ads at me, scrapes my name and profile image and uses that to target ads to everyone in my friends list. Then if one of those people click the ad, or even browse to Amazon while the ad's cookie is still in their cache then they will be presented with a dynamically created page that includes whatever information about me that Amazon was able to collect and thinks might increase sales to the visitor. Since Facebook insists on using real names, it is fairly easy for Amazon to combine my profile data with any sales data they acquired when doing business with me. Now, in my case, I don't mind much if say my Mom is shown what books I have purchased or shown interest in at Amazon, but there are some people on my friends list that I wouldn't want to share my reading habits with. Worse yet, my name is a fairly common one (the name of a former king of England and an occupational surname), common enough that even in the small town I am in there are three other men with similar enough names that there is occasionally confusion. If I am Richard Wright and there is a Rick Wright or Dick Wright in the same town who also uses Facebook, do I want my mom being shown Rick or Dick's book preferences thinking they are mine? Probably not....

So, in the end, I quit. I also messaged everyone in my list, explained as briefly as possible *why* I was quitting and urged them all to do their own research and think for themselves. I had hoped that a few others would take this as seriously as I and quit as well.
  The more cynical (experienced?) among you will have already predicted the response I got. Not one person on my list actually quit over this. Only one actually bothered to even click the news link I provided. (And he didn't even read all of it, said it was "boring news stuff")Three people actually responded to my message. Two to lambaste me for making too much ado about the whole mess and one actually complained about my spamming her. (I sent one mass message, when anyone replied, she got the replies from these strangers in her box as well.) As for the rest? a vast echoing silence was the only response I got. What really pisses me off about the whole thing is two things: First, my profile was not the only place you can find personal information about me. Several relatives have pages and they are not always as careful about what they say as I would like. Ironically enough, I can't go see what they have posted about me unless I log in, but advertisers can any time they want. (He who has the gold makes the rules?) Second, unlike some other sites I have belonged to, it is impossible to actually quit Facebook. When you resign, they deactivate your page but your log in information is kept essentially forever in case you ever change your mind. I can reactivate my profile any time just by logging in apparently, no password reset or email verification required.
I'll leave the obvious problems with that approach as an exercise for the reader.

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (2, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472483)

Personally, I think it's a fair trade. What do you expect when you put all your personal information in to a web-site that is free to use? They have to make money some how and the easiest way to do that is to sell your information on to other people or come to agreements with other companies to find ways to market to you.

If you don't like that then don't use Facebook!


Bullshit. We all have the right to voice our opinions regardless of how much we pay for a service. Besides, I'm sure Facebook would rather hear complaints from users than have a mass exodus for no apparent reason. I know from first hand experience how frustrating it is to find out that there's been some problem with a site/service for weeks or months that could have been fixed in a matter of minutes if someone had said something.

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472907)

Bullshit yourself. /Read/. Nowhere did he say you had no right to voice your opinion. He said he thought it was a fair trade, the provision of information for site access. You may differ: if so, complain and don't use. He didn't say "STFU and suck it up, big boy."

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472561)

This is a good lesson for students to learn. It keeps them from growing up into whiny adults. Nothing in life is free. Everything has a cost. Every choice has a opportunity cost of all those things that cannot now be pursued. And someone has to bear those real and opportunity costs. For students, because we want people to be educated, society bears much of the cost. An elite student can have society bear the cost for his or her entire life, doing little more in return that thinking of occasionally interesting tidbits.

This is why, I believe, it is so difficult for students to understand that there are some things they will be expected to bear the full costs of, either directly or indirectly. Credit cards, textbooks, even bandwidth. Facebook is just another example. it exists to make a profit, and you, the student, is the entity that is being monetized. A personal choice to use facebook, even in the light that the opportunity costs of not using faceook are monumental, is also a choice to comply with the rules set up by the for profit entity that controls face book. Nothing is life is free. if we choose to drive a car, we can't complain that it dangerous and expensive. We choose to live in the suburbs, where it is cheaper, we can't complain that gas is expensive. If we are in the IT field and owe our livihood to MS, we must do as MS says.

If one does not like the scheme, opt out. But remember that greed, on the part of the consumer and supplier, will lead to ever more insidious schemes. Recall pop up advertising, and flash advertising, and interstitial. All caused by consumers who did not want to pay for content, suppliers that were not satisfied with branding but wanted instant results, and intermediaries who wanted a bigger cut for doing very little.

Re:What do you expect on a free service? (1, Troll)

rhizome (115711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472589)

They have to make money some how and the easiest way to do that is to sell your information on to other people or come to agreements with other companies to find ways to market to you.

The bitch was asking for it. You see that miniskirt?

What happens when... (3, Insightful)

stoicfaux (466273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471627)

What happens when someone shops at an adult store and there are minors on their friends list...?

Re:What happens when... (5, Funny)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471677)

The same thing the happens when you watch a porno movie and you have "let my msn friends see what I am watching" enabled..

Username is currently watching "AnalBeachNuns9.avi"

Re:What happens when... (1)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472337)

Can you tell me how it ends?

I've tried watching it several times but I never seem to be able to last more than about three minutes of it... is there a surprise ending?

Re:What happens when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21472621)

It's a "Happy ending"! :)

Re:What happens when... (5, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471681)

Then those minors will be PERMANENTLY DAMAGED FOR LIFE. Permitting minors to know of the existence of adult novelty items is a crime against humanity and should be punished by death.

Re:What happens when... (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471693)

Since I'm fresh out of pts, "mod parent up please". This is bound to happen and you know there wil be some very pissed off parents that wonder why their 7 yr old is getting explicite spam that claims to be "recommended" by an adult friend of theirs.

You can disable it in Privacy. (1)

man_ls (248470) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471635)

Facebook > Privacy > External Web Sites

Any site that has attempted to send something to your profile via the Beacon can be revoked and the stories deleted.

Re:You can disable it in Privacy. (1)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471695)

Yeah, but in the meantime, you might not know that a site added this Facebook Beacon. If you have a popup blocker, you'll never see the warning. If you do nothing, it assumes you want to add it your Facebook. And you can't disable it until a site tries (or adds) a story. You can only disable it on a site by site basis, not entirely. The easy way to block it is to get the BlockSite Firefox plugin (or some other anti-scripting plugin) to block http://.facebook.com/beacon/* [facebook.com] As a Facebook user, I'm really upset about it. If they keep up with this privacy invasive stuff, I'm going to delete my account. Yes, I know that Facebook can do this stuff under their TOS, but I don't have to use the service.

Re:You can disable it in Privacy. (1)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471703)

There should be an asterisk before the "dot Facebook". Slashdot removes it for some reason.

Re:You can disable it in Privacy. (1)

durandal42 (881756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472185)

Except that doesn't quite work. Here's what I see on that page:

Privacy Settings for External Websites
Back to Privacy Overview without saving changes. [facebook.com]
Show your friends what you like and what you're up to outside of Facebook. When you take actions on the sites listed below, you can choose to have those actions sent to your profile.

Please note that these settings only affect notifications on Facebook. You will still be notified on affiliate websites when they send stories to Facebook. You will be able to decline individual stories at that time.

No sites have tried sending stories to your profile


There is no option to actually turn this off. Perhaps external sites need to have already "sent stories" before I can go back and turn them off? Can anyone who's already triggered this behavior confirm that you can turn off stories en masse, or do you have to do it on a case-by-case basis forever?

Facebook users... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471717)

Hardly a week goes by without Facebook users whining about something.

If only they would harness that energy and complain about something really important. There's a lot of bad things happening in the World where their incessant and perpetual vociferousness could help invoke real social change.

If they don't like Facebook, there are MANY Web-2.0-social-networkized alternatives. They should just go use them instead (and quietly). I feel really sorry for the guys who started Facebook sometimes, they have a really tough crowd to deal with.

Re:Facebook users... (2, Insightful)

felix9x (562120) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471751)

Its a bit of a fallacy to look at it in those terms. Obviously you can use any one of many alternative. What you cannot duplicate that easily is the network part of the network.

Re:Facebook users... (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472061)

Personally, I've never used Facebook or any social-networking site, and I only know what little I read here on Slashdot. Even so, it does seem like hardly a week goes by without Facebook implementing some controversial, poorly thought out feature that pisses a lot of people off. As with any large-scale data aggregator (for that is, in effect, what Facebook has become) there's the potential to screw up and hurt people. There's a need to make money, I know, but sometimes Facebook's management seems to err on the wrong side of privacy.

Re:Facebook users... (2, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472193)

Facebook or Skype, I'm getting bored with all of the 'users opt in to closed system, are surprised when it acts in the interests of those who run it rather than those who use it' stories. Fine, we've got the message.

Re:Facebook users... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472269)

Oh, I agree. Frankly, that's why I avoid using such systems as much as possible.

Oh sure, I use Google, but I can't see myself ever posting anything consequential to a site like Facebook. Nevertheless, the Googles and Facebooks of the world are accumulating a truly astounding quantity of information about individual activities, and such knowledge is power. In that regard, they are no less dangerous than outfits like ChoicePoint or the credit bureaus. I have no choice but to end up in ChoicePoint's database, but I can and do choose to opt the hell out of Facebook's. The risk/benefit ratio isn't sufficient to interest me.

Re:Facebook users... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472077)

What sort of bad things happening in the word affect me personally and directly?

No I don't see the world this this way, but a lot of people do.

Re:Facebook users... (1)

HAKdragon (193605) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472151)

When I started reading your comment, I half expected it to end with "Ron Paul for President!" I might just be spending too much time at digg.

Re:Facebook users... (1)

evlmonkey (898897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472933)

True, Facebook users do whine about a lot of things. Like the ability to keep information private that we don't want others to see while still being able to share information with our friends. I would applaud the average person's desire to keep information private.

Secondly, Facebook users DO harness their energy and invoke real social change. There are THOUSANDS of groups and "Causes" devoted to organizations like FreeRice.com, Red, AIDS / HIV Research, ASPCA, Breast Cancer Research, Domestic Abuse, and so on. Don't believe? Have a look yourself. Facebook Causes [facebook.com] or Socially Conscious Networking - Facebook [pronetadvertising.com] . Next time do a little research before stereotyping 55 million people. Facebook Factsheet [facebook.com]

Facebook users complain about a lot of bad things that are happening, but the media only listens to "controversial" topics that they can make money off of.

Typical marketeer-think (1)

Paul Neubauer (86753) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471733)

Even if there is a simple opt-out in the general privacy settings, if one hasn't needed it before it's a rude shock to find it suddenly is needed. Sharing information in aggregate is one thing, being used as a product endorser is quite another.

This is yet another illustration that people want opt-in so they can decide and marketers want opt-out so people can get stuck with crap they don't want. That the individual opt-out disappears after a short time shows the real attitude: We don't even want you to have that option, really. Just like the spammers who try to claim that proper verified opt-in is "double" as if it made more work for their victims.

The only real surprise in all this is that people don't set the opt-out as a matter of course when they sign up for the service. Of course, they have to know about it to set it. Not having, nor desiring, a Facebook account I don't know if it's made plain right up front or if a person has to go searching for the controls. And then hope the settings stick. Some places (*cough*LiveJournal*cough*) "forget" settings from time to time.

Re:Typical marketeer-think (1)

lexarius (560925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471841)

In this case, you *can't* set the opt-out when you sign up. While most of the privacy settings can be set normally, the opt-out for this is available on a per-external-site basis. Which would be fine if you could just go through and opt them all out, but you can't. You can only opt-out for a site after that site has tried to send something to Facebook.

Call me back when... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21471787)

Call me back when there's a button to stop black people looking at my profile.

Adblock Plus + Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper (1)

Gigiya (1022729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471803)

Adblock Plus [mozilla.org] and Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper [mozilla.org] will take care of those text ads or any element on a website you want to hide. I had already been using ABP but found the Element Hiding Helper just to get rid of those damned things.

Re:Adblock Plus + Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Hel (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471991)

This is the first I've heard of the Element Hiding Helper and I'm very intrigued. My sanity has been rescued by Adblock Plus, and I'm very greatful for how it works. However, this really seems like a escalation in the war on ads, and I have mixed feelings about it. I always justify using Adblock like this: "If they wanted me to see their ads, they'd use text and not garish gifs or flash." But if we find a way to block text ads that's as easy as Ab+, won't this force the advertisers to fight back? Won't Google, for example, be forced to really turn evil? And is that really in the general interest?

Re:Adblock Plus + Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Hel (1)

aymanh (892834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472007)

Adblock only blocks the ads that you see. This new Facebook feature works by letting other websites post information about you to your profile so your friends can see it. Therefore, blocking the ads with Adblock does not help here.

To prevent websites from being able to update your Facebook profile, install the BlockSite [mozilla.org] extension, and block this URL: http://*facebook.com/beacon/*

Credit for the above information goes to this blog. [ideashower.com]

Re:Adblock Plus + Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Hel (1)

aymanh (892834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472043)

I forgot to say that blocking the same URL with Adblock achieves the same results. The feature works by letting websites post updates to the URL http://www.facebook.com/beacon/beacon.js.php [facebook.com] . So if you block this URL with Adblock (or another extension), websites won't be able to update your profile.

Re:Adblock Plus + Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Hel (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472129)

I use Privoxy [privoxy.org] on my network. Presumably it could be configured to do a lot of the same things, although I've never really dug that far into it.

DPA (1)

youthoftoday (975074) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471863)

As my lecturer said (in a Data Protection Act lecture in Britain*): "the biggest threat to the data protection is not criminals but american companies". It seems your protection laws are remarkably slack.

*That's BritainEnglandUKEurope to my friends over the pond

Don't forget the Labour government.. (1)

cheros (223479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472047)

I think that lecture needs a little bit updating to incorporate recent events..

Re:DPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21472677)

Now, now.. The U.K. has a very well-developed surveillance system. IIRC, you have the most surveillance cameras per citizen in the world. Add to that the law about jailtime for not sharing the key to some _supposedly_ encrypted data...

I don't see how people can be so upset about what these websites do when their our governments are encroaching on our privacy and basic democratic freedoms. For example, the E.U. data retention directive is a disaster, eliminating the possibility of anonymous tips to police and news media.

(I live in Sweden, which is by no means on a better course than any other country. I am, however, involved with The Pirate Party, the only political party so far that takes these questions seriously.)

Wait...I'm confused (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471889)

Those users say they never noticed a small box that appears on a corner of their Web browsers following transactions at Fandango, Overstock and other online retailers. The box alerts users that information is about to be shared with Facebook unless they click on "No Thanks." It disappears after about 20 seconds, after which consent is assumed.
How do Fandango and Overstock know that the buyer has an account on Facebook? How do the two get linked up? Cookies?

Re:Wait...I'm confused (4, Informative)

sitarah (955787) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472005)

"How do Fandango and Overstock know that the buyer has an account on Facebook? How do the two get linked up? Cookies?"

Any site that is part of the Beacon affiliate network has a script that can read your Facebook cookies. The code is here, for any interested. http://www.facebook.com/beacon/beacon.js.php [facebook.com]

You buy a product on Overstock. It gets some information on your Facebook account, then asks if you wish to 'publish this story' to your Facebook account. You can click:
1) Learn more.
2) This isn't you. No publish.
3) No thanks. No publish.
4) Close. Publish later.
5) Ignore. Publish later.

4 is the problem; you can ignore or close the box, and it will, instead of thinking that means a No Publish, ask you AGAIN when you log in to Facebook. If you ignore that one, too, or do anything but specifically click No (the X in this case), it *will* publish. It's unintuitive.

Whether this is user-error or intentional design, users are also reporting that they have to opt-out of these affiliates site by site to stop publishing, because opting out of Beacon itself is insufficient or not possible. That's why people are irritated -- they never downloaded an app or asked for Beacon, didn't realize they had to specifically tell it 'no', and can't figure out how to turn it off.

Re:Wait...I'm confused (1)

pavera (320634) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472055)

I also want to know this. is this a "legal" xss attack where overstock et al. grab your facebook cookie and use that to transmit data to facebook?

besides the privacy concerns it seems an absolutely stupid feature at this time of year. the number of ruined surprises will piss off at least as many people as the privacy violations i'll bet.

I never wait to long. (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471903)

I guess I'm just too impulsive to ever put off my longing - right now, I'm feeling an indeferrable longing for a proofreader at Slashdot!

Re:I never wait to long. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21471951)

Life is too short to long.

Like most (1)

Matt867 (1184557) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471957)

Like most social networking sites on the internet, facebook started sucking as soon as it became popular.

Why I quit Facebook and you should too (5, Insightful)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 6 years ago | (#21471999)

It was for precisely this reason that I recently quit Facebook [cydeweys.com] . I was a member of it mainly for contacting people in college, but I've since graduated, and have found myself spending less and less time using it. Meanwhile, its infringements on my privacy have grown more and more.

The first whiff of displeasure I got when using Facebook was when people could tag me in photos without my permission and have them display on my profile. Understandably, there's lots of pictures one would probably not want the world to see, especially during a job search. I did eventually find the option to disable this "feature", but it was many months afterwards. Similarly, I expect there's a way to disable this privacy-infringing commercial thing, but the simple fact is, it's turned on by default for users, and you have to actively figure out how to disable it.

That's not how this kind of stuff should work. It should be opt-in, not opt-out. Am I supposed to babysit my Facebook account into the indefinite future, disabling each new feature as it comes out, hopefully in time to prevent revealing information that I didn't want revealed? No thanks. I'll just quit Facebook. I did, and you should too. The more people who put up with this kind of crap, the more emboldened they will be to keep doing it.

Re:Why I quit Facebook and you should too (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472739)

The first whiff of displeasure I got when using Facebook was when people could tag me in photos without my permission and have them display on my profile.
I believe you now have to accept the tagging, although it's been a while - perhaps that's only for people tagging your photos, rather than tagging you in theirs.

Similarly, I expect there's a way to disable this privacy-infringing commercial thing
It looks like you have to do it on a site-by-site basis; the only thing I can see in the privacy settings page that looks like it might be it isn't presenting me with any options as "No sites have tried sending stories to your profile". Guess I'll just have to wait then.

Understandably, there's lots of pictures one would probably not want the world to see, especially during a job search.
While I do appreciate your concern, I would see not getting a job offer because of a photo of me they found on the Internet as a *good* thing - because frankly I wouldn't want to work for that sort of company.

That's not how this kind of stuff should work. It should be opt-in, not opt-out.
Yes, it should, but you're thinking like a user. Facebook doesn't exist to serve its users, it exists to make money. The fact that you can do useful things with it is just the bait they use to lure you in and keep you there to be advertised at. Most large-scale free sites are like that - if they're not actively selling stuff to you, then they're actively selling you to advertisers. That's not to say that Facebook doesn't take it one or two steps further than a lot of sites; just pointing out why it's opt-out, rather than opt-in.

Overall though I don't disagree with you - they're going about things the wrong way.

Re:Why I quit Facebook and you should too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21472967)

Personally, I like Orkut. It has a clean interface and most of the time you can get away without specifying any detail. Though I must say that it is not as "customizable" as Facebook.

Not an advertisement. I myself have left all these social-networking sites for good, they just take too much time.

My favorite part of Facebook (2, Interesting)

holdemrico (1021469) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472257)

Is that you cannot actually delete all of the information in your profile with ease. You can deactivate your account, but all of your information is still on their servers and will load right back up if you log in again. To actually delete your profile you have to delete EVERY SINGLE THING from it. That's right, every post on your wall, every picture, you have to individually delete each of them. Fun times.

Re:My favorite part of Facebook (1)

Dr_Banzai (111657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472335)

I doubt it actually gets deleted even if you do that. They keep a record of all changes to an account.

Facebook's Tactical Advantage (4, Insightful)

broward (416376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472319)

Currently, Facebook possesses an *unknown* tactical advantage in opposition to Google's *unknown* willingness to commit strategic resources and influence. But once Facebook's advantage is quantifiable, I suspect that Google will guesstimate and commit enough resources to win the battle. The odds are good that Facebook's growth rate of change will hit an inflection point in the next few months. These user complaints are a direct result of Facebook trying to push a tactical advantage for strategic gain.

http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme?entry=social_networking_meme [realmeme.com]

Once Facebook hits an inflection point, its scope of influence is bounded, i.e. predictable.

Facebook needs to change the game to increase their chances of winning.
At this point, I give them a 50/50 chance.
There's power in coalitions (see IBM's strategy with Eclipse, Sun's strategy with Java & JCP).

If I owned Facebook, I'd redo the Facebook API by combining some of the ideas of OpenSocial, then build a coalition along the lines of the Java Community Process to manage it, abdicating 49% of the power and responsibility to other companies. If Facebook does that now, they can leverage their current development community and possibly force Google's hand. If they wait, the true extent of their power will eventually be revealed and challenged.

Re:Facebook's Tactical Advantage (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#21473285)

So, um, what does a system error 'feel' like?

Oh, and pretending for a moment that you aren't spouting nonsense, Google and Facebook aren't each others biggest problem, fickle users are the biggest problem. People have moved on before, and likely will move on again.

no personal info (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21472373)

Really, if you HAVE to use Facebook, then why put all this personal info on it? I put a crapload of false stuff, including a fake name, location et cetera. My friends still can reach me and I can still reach them AND most privacy issues are null.
Just put baloney on there and stop worrying so much. They can only sell what info you give them.

Give us the List of Companies involved (2, Insightful)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472465)

Ok, Facebook do appear to have been doing something very stupid here, but let's get a list of all the vendors involved. Can we not have a list of all the vendors (Amazon and the like) who are happy to release your private sales information to a third party without your express permission?

I think it would be very important to promote a list of online retailers who it's NOT safe to shop with. Ignore the fact that Facebook are showing the information where they shouldn't be, the retailers who are offering the information out in the first place are the ones to really be angry with.

And if it isn't in cooperation, and there's some kind of stealth applet in the browser (as it sounds like there might be) listening in on third-party site traffic then that sounds like either a browser security hole (which should be patched) or some kind of malware that should be removed from systems.

Unless, this is just some overblown incident of user stupidity where they are telling facebook more than they should be. I haven't seen the thing in action myself.

Jolyon

Re:Give us the List of Companies involved (4, Informative)

garbletext (669861) | more than 6 years ago | (#21473065)

This might be a partial list, as I've heard reports of participating sites not on this list. But Here ya go:

        * AllPosters.com
        * Blockbuster
        * Bluefly.com (NASDAQ: BFLY)
        * CBS Interactive (CBSSports.com & Dotspotter) (NYSE: CBS)
        * eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY)
        * ExpoTV
        * Fandango
        * Gamefly
        * IAC InterActiveCorp. (NASDAQ: IACI) sites (CollegeHumor, Busted Tees, iWon, Citysearch, Pronto.com, echomusic)
        * Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE)'s Hotwire
        * Joost
        * Kiva
        * Kongregate
        * LiveJournal
        * Live Nation (NYSE: LYV)
        * Mercantila
        * National Basketball Association
        * NYTimes.com (NYSE: NYT)
        * Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK)
        * (RED)
        * Redlight
        * SeamlessWeb
        * Sony Online Entertainment LLC (NYSE: SNE)
        * Sony Pictures (NYSE: SNE)
        * STA Travel
        * The Knot (NASDAQ: KNOT)
        * TripAdvisor
        * Travel Ticker
        * Travelocity
        * TypePad
        * viagogo
        * Vox
        * Yelp
        * WeddingChannel.com
        * Zappos.com

from
http://www.bloggingstocks.com/2007/11/22/facebooks-creepy-ads-put-your-mouth-where-your-money-is/ [bloggingstocks.com]
which sources the info from
http://sev.prnewswire.com/computer-electronics/20071106/AQTU20606112007-1.html [prnewswire.com]

Facebook users are complanining on asite.... (1)

British (51765) | more than 6 years ago | (#21472809)

...that requires your REAL FUCKING NAME about privacy issues?

Hilarious.

Faceook Architecture (4, Interesting)

ewhac (5844) | more than 6 years ago | (#21473229)

I just opened an account on Facebook recently -- mostly to see what the big deal was. It seemed harmless enough until I got a request to join a particular Facebook "app", in this case an app that compares tastes in movies.

I use Firefox exclusively with NoScript installed. I clicked on the link, and... What the hell am I doing on this completely different site? And why is it trying to run JavaScript at me? Further, why is it trying to run a cross-site script from Facebook?

It was at this point that I began to suspect that the pages Facebook is presenting me are not, in fact, always generated by Facebook's servers, but instead can be cobbled together from any number of sites and servers located anywhere, and that these sites all exchange data transparently with Facebook.

I haven't read their developer's pages or their API specification, so I'm only guessing here. Does anyone know if this is in fact true?

Because if it is -- to borrow one of Jon Stewart's terms -- then it's an absolute catastrofuck of a design, and everyone but everyone should run screaming from Facebook as fast as they can.

Schwab

Re:Faceook Architecture (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#21473289)

Don't add any applications! I haven't read the API either, but I think you're correct.

I still get "X has invited you to Y Z" every other day. I wish I could turn them all off.

What a bunch of whiney bitches! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21473381)

You kids are all a bunch of whiney bitches. Facebook is a free site, like every other free site (myspace, digg, etc), they have no real business model, or purpose, other than to push ads in your face - that's it, that's all it is, if you think the site exists for any other purpose, you really don't get it, and you are just the kind of mindless visitors they want so they can get rich off you. The fact is, your the one who has no life, and choose to waist time online with a handful of online friends instead of going out and doing real things with real people in the real world, so the site which enables you to have this pathetic lifestyle can do whatever they dam well please to whatever information you have voluntarily fed them, get over it!
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