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Facebook Sharing Too Much Personal Data With Application Developers

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the keep-a-lid-on-it dept.

Privacy 165

An anonymous reader writes "Remember the Facebook News Feed privacy uproar? What about the Beacon scandal from late last year? Privacy activists are rallying around yet another major issue at Facebook, in which the company is secretly sharing user data with third parties. Researchers from the University of Virginia recently announced that in a study of the top 150 Facebook applications, more than 90% were given access to information that was not needed to function correctly. That Scrabble or Superpoke application you really like? Its developers get access to your religion, sexuality and home town. Facebook's position was summed up by Georgetown Law Professor Dan Solove, 'They seem to be going on the assumption that if someone uses Facebook, they really have no privacy concerns.' Do Facebook users deserve privacy? "

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Sharing (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22336194)

is for suckers!

Net (4, Insightful)

Rinisari (521266) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336246)

If you post it on the 'net, it's public information, no matter how secure or private the application is. One must treat his or her information on social networks this way, no exceptions.

Re:Net (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336418)

Exactly. Just look at what happened with the "private" myspace pictures. If you don't want the information getting out, don't post it on the internet.

IQ != ? (2, Funny)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337098)

As you know, IQ doesn't necessarily correlate positively with the hours in front of a computer. It may have been true in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, and to some extent the 90s, but surely not for this decade... The undeniable charm of the Internet destroyed that. :)

-

Re: IQ != ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22339470)

You might want to double check which saving throw you're using. The decision to post personal info has little to do with the silly "IQ scale" which is more a measure of pattern recognition, spatial awareness, and analytical reasoning. It's more about knowledge of how stuff works and the behavior of other people.

In other words, it's a D20 vs wisdom, not intelligence.

Free Software and Free Networks Solve the Problem. (1)

Erris (531066) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337434)

Once again the problem is not the idea it's a lack of freedom. Social networks can and should be run as free software on each member's own computer. On my own machine, I can give you as much as I like. When I give my information to someone else, I have to trust they won't screw me. That's the problem with all third party sites and there are only degrees of violation between them. MySpace practices probably make the Facebook owners look like saints but none of us should need either. There are thousands of objections to people doing things for themselves but they all devolve to the fact that non free software vendors and network owners don't want people doing things for themselves and have provided them inadequate tools to help themselves.

brilliant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22337606)

You just invented P2P.

Re:Net (3, Informative)

Altari (1230296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336472)

If you post it on the 'net, it's public information, no matter how secure or private the application is. One must treat his or her information on social networks this way, no exceptions.

Well put. We must run under the assumptions that whatever information we provide to websites will not remain confidential, privileged, private or otherwise secure. Sites have privacy policies for a reason, yet some users seem to get upset when something clearly outlined in the policy comes to light. I, on my part, read the FaceBook applications privacy policy and never had any hopes that my information would be secure.

http://developers.facebook.com/user_terms.php [facebook.com]

(i) any information provided by you and visible to you on the Facebook Site, excluding any of your Contact Information, and

(ii) the user ID associated with your Facebook Site profile.

If you're concerned about how your information will be shared, read the policies and simply don't sign up for sites that don't meet your criteria.

Re:Net (2, Informative)

Anusien (705743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337898)

It's not that simple. If your friends on Facebook add an application, that application's developer gets access to all your information.

Re:Net (1, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338208)

No they don't. You get a 'your friend has added X, JOIN NOW' and THEN you can decide if you want to join an application you can check the box "share my data with application X"

Re:Net (4, Informative)

Otter Escaping North (945051) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338684)

No they don't. You get a 'your friend has added X, JOIN NOW' and THEN you can decide if you want to join an application you can check the box "share my data with application X"

Yes. They do.

Read the article, and if you're on Facebook, go to "privacy" -> "Applications" -> "Other Applications" and read what it says under "What Other Users Can See via the Facebook Platform" very, very carefully.

Re:Net (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22336536)

By that logic any computer connected to the internet is fair game and corporations shouldn't put any private information on these kinds of machines. I know that this comparison is a little bit of a stretch but just because you post information online shouldn't mean every Application gets to use it. Anyway I am not worried as long as they don't share the information marked "Only Friends".

Re:Net (1)

TTURabble (1164837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338962)

You are comparing apples to oranges here. Saying that any computer connected to the internet is fair game for snooping is akin to saying that it is ok to enter any house with a door. Rather with a Social Networking website (or any website for that matter), you give your information to a third party, once that happens then the information you gave is no longer under your direct control. So to give an example, it would be like filling out a survey that asks you for some personal information, once you give them the data it is theirs to give away as they see fit. The moral of the story is that if you don't want the world to know, don't post it on the internet, and ask your friends to do the same.

Re:Net (2, Insightful)

Pendersempai (625351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336922)

So you don't do use a bank or credit card that has an optional web interface or send any email or say anything in an instant message or skype conversation that you'd prefer to keep private?

Your advice is wildly overreaching. It's like telling MADD, "if you don't want to get killed by drunk drivers, don't leave your house."

Re:Net (1)

cubic pd (955625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338272)

It's like telling MADD, "if you don't want to get killed by drunk drivers, don't leave your house."
You might want to reconsider what you tell MADD, what with the amount of drunks driving through the sides of houses and all.

Re:Net (4, Insightful)

heinzkunz (1002570) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337124)

I use online banking, and I damn well expect my account to not be publicly available. Why can't I expect a social networking site to respect my privacy the same way my bank does?

I agree with you that information posted to social networks can't be considered private, but that's because they are broken, and their users have the right to complain about it.

Re:Net (1)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339736)

I was going to say a similar thing, but the difference is that I dont allow anyone else to see my banking information. Its pretty much just used by and for me. Facebook is designed to network whatever you put on there, unlike a bank. I dont think you should have any expectation of privacy on a social networking site. Then again, I really dont understand the need to be in the spotlight or see the usefulness of knowing what some person I went to highschool with is having for dinner.

If you want to broadcast your inane and pointless life to the world, I would think you would be happy to get the stalkers and various other social "benefits" that come with that. Where im from, (the 80s) you dont use your real name online... EVER. That sort of conditioning is whats missing from todays myfaces and reality tubes.

Re:Net (1)

Panayotis (1119445) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337486)

This is a tricky "truth" in my opinion ... the fact that we should be aware of this important fact doesn't mean that so popular web-sites, attracting millions naive users, shouldn't be forced somehow to educate their users and give them enough options for them to protect themselves.

The Facebook Riots are Coming (1)

balls199 (648142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337672)

This is just the beginning. As I've predicted on my blog [blogspot.com] , there will be Facebook rioters on the street.

After repeatedly ignoring privacy concerns, all Facebook users revolt. The revolt initially remains confined to Facebook, but will suddenly explode through the Internet, then out into the streets of every major city. ... Social rioting becomes the next hot technology, and 1000's of entrepreneurs collectively raise billions of dollars to entice more people to riot. When asked how they plan to make money of the rioting, the entrepreneurs will shuffle their feet and mumble something about advertising.

So basically (4, Interesting)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338262)

the title of this post should read "People are sharing too much personal data with Facebook"...

Not Practically Speaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22339172)

I agree with you to a degree. If you REALLY can't afford to have something read by others, then DO NOT POST IT ONLINE PERIOD.

However, the world is not black and white.

Consider walking down the street. Theoretically, you could have your picture taken and posted online. There are things you do in public that you assume will not be placed online. If you assumed everything would go online to be seen by everyone, you probably couldn't function properly in society.

Realistically, there is a tradeoff...

Re:Net (1)

Saxerman (253676) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339598)

If you post it on the 'net, it's public information, no matter how secure or private the application is. One must treat his or her information on social networks this way, no exceptions.

So what restrictions, if any, does this mean those who handle our information on the 'net are under to keep our information private? Does this free pass to treat our information as public only apply to 'social networking sites' and what then qualifies as a social networking site? If I do my taxes online, does that become public information? If someone digs in my trash, finds some interesting documents and posts them on a social networking site, do they become public? What about my online bill payments or banking?

Or does your assertion only apply to information to a 'public' site on the 'net? Or is the act of 'posting' the information online what makes it public? And if that is the case, what qualifies as a 'public' site? If you need a username and password to see my posted information, is it still public? If a username and password aren't enough protection, what would be required to place something online that isn't public? Is it still public if it's on a website which requires an RSA smart card which is kept at the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of Leopard'?

The assumption is that we tell Facebook the truth (4, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336250)

Do you really think I'm a Pastafarian?

Now, true, half my friends post pics of their drunken parties (yo! Aislinn and Katelyn! love the pics!), but so far I'm not in any of the pics, and I happen to know some of my friends are not the people they say they are ...

Nobody trusts the man, man. We all realize you're all pervs.

Re:The assumption is that we tell Facebook the tru (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339308)

Now, true, half my friends post pics of their drunken parties (yo! Aislinn and Katelyn! love the pics!),
ooh, goodie! More drunken college girls to add to my 125GB collection.

Yesh, my precious....

We all realize you're all pervs.
No, I'm not!

*faps frantically to drunken college girls making out*

It's called Facebook not Maskbook (1)

Jynx77 (974092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336254)

In a word, no.

Deserve Privacy? (2, Insightful)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336260)

Do Facebook users deserve privacy?

At this point, I'd say no.

Personally, given their abysmal track record so far, I'd say that anyone using them at this point should assume they have no privacy at all. To some extent facebook is guilty of false advertising, by seeming to allow you to restrict other users from seeing some of your information. But why anyone who put anything on Facebook would expect any privacy at all, is a mystery to me.

What world will you live in? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22336682)

Everything is going online. It is now, not in the future, that we demand privacy and protection.

I do everything online. This includes transmitting legal documents, banking and having meetings. When I have a meeting at a local restaurant, I don't expect them to bug my booth and listen in. Sure, having a conversation there isn't giving them "personally identifiable" information but aggregated, the information can identify me, my clients and my work.

When I use my bank, I don't want them to transmit my transactions save my name to a 3rd party. Why? Pretty soon someone can piece together my actions (always buying a beer at this location on friday night between 8:35-9:05pm) and me.

What I think we need is a blanket privacy statement and recompense if broken.

Every action I'm engaging in is now somehow online. My banking, entertainment purchases, my religious organizations. I only expect more and more of what I do to be online. It's the way of the future, databases and all that. You can say "just don't use it" but the reality is every action has become easier because someone created a database and now those databases are online.

Re:Deserve Privacy? (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336876)

of course the deserve privacy, everybody does.

Perhaps they shouldn't expect it, but that's different.

Re:Deserve Privacy? (1)

vanyel (28049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336916)

The whole point of facebook is to share information; if you want it to be private, don't put it online.

Re:Deserve Privacy? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337640)

The whole point of Facebook was to share information with people at your school/college/university.

I was not impressed to find out one day that what was previously available only to people with an email address belonging to my university was suddenly available to anyone claiming to be from London (i.e. in the London 'network').

Now, it seems the whole point of Facebook is to make as much money as possible through advertising. It's time for the next networking site.

Re:Deserve Privacy? (1)

aj50 (789101) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338800)

Yes, but only if you're also in the London network.

Re:Deserve Privacy? (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337030)

"At this point, I'd say no."

I agree, however, I'd agree even more if you remove the first 3 words.

The only time I can think of where Facebook users (which includes me) is if the people/company behind Facebook decide to jump ship at some point, then I would expect all the user data on their servers to be properly 'destroyed'.

But perhaps thats what you meant by insinuating that at some time they may deserve it.

Re:Deserve Privacy? (1)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337476)

I'd agree even more if you remove the first 3 words.

I was just being cranky... damn this cold.

Yes, we all deserve privacy, and facebook ought to be respecting that. Part of my crankiness, no doubt, is that I don't "get" facebook. I don't know why people would want to put all those personal details online. That's perhaps because I do value my privacy, quite a bit, and wouldn't put information online for the sole purpose of having people I've never met look at it.

Our privacy is being taken away in leaps and bounds, and the "expectation of privacy" standard is partly to blame. I'd be more encouraged if people left facebook en masse in response to these privacy issues. If we don't make a statement that we value privacy in those rare circumstances where we do have a choice about what we share, it only going to get worse as that expectation of privacy is further eroded.

Re:Deserve Privacy? (1)

Poseiden (575105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339336)

No matter how many times someone signs up for a website with no privacy measures, that user still deserves an online social networking website with measures of privacy.

As for the currently popular argument on /. that the user should 'expect' this to happen... These people on mysapce and facebook aren't /.'ers!!! They are regular people that believe ToS's. Whoda thunk?

Saying these people don't deserve privacy on Faceboko because they started on Mysapce a few years back is like saying someone neverdeserves good credit because of that late utility bill 4 years ago.

Wow (4, Interesting)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336298)

I haven't seen a company this determined to shoot themselves in the foot with bad policy since Real Networks [wikipedia.org] . You'd think they would think Facebook might have realized at least some people actually do care about balancing utility with privacy.

Re:Wow (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336818)

As someone who uses Facebook and cares about privacy I find your assertion ludicrous.

With the exception of the beacon debacle, the Facebook 'privacy' issues have really had more to do with the perception of privacy and bandwagon hysteria. Take the news feed for instance. People were up in arms about information being made available that they had already made available. A close analogy would be accusing Google of privacy violations for indexing your public web page.

This application issue is a non-starter. Facebook makes it clear what information applications can access and does not allow applications to access that information without explicit permission from users. Certainly finer grain controls are more desirable; but from a privacy standpoint, it really is irrelevant whether flixter needs to know my religion if: 1. I want to use their movie rating service. 2. I know that by using the service they can access my religion. 3. I opt to provide them with the information.

Re:Wow (1)

sjbe (173966) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337210)

the Facebook 'privacy' issues have really had more to do with the perception of privacy
Right. That's why the CEO publicly apologized for the news feed [facebook.com] and beacon [facebook.com] and there has been widespread discussion about a host of other issues [wikipedia.org] and concerns. Companies that are responsible with privacy issues pretty much don't typically get this much bad press. It's not just once or twice.

People can make public whatever information about themselves they choose and I support that. But if a company is going to make money from potentially sensitive information then they have a responsibility to be careful with their policies and technology. I don't get the warm fuzzies about Facebook being especially responsible (hence I'm not a user) and I'm clearly not the only one. Perhaps it's overblown but I'm not about to take chances with a company with a poor track record or even just a perception of a poor track record with my personal information. If you don't care, you'll hear no argument from me.

Re:Wow (1)

realthing02 (1084767) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337510)

Now I'm not naive enough to think facebook is doing a great job about privacy, but you're contributing to the problem when you excuse people for putting "sensitive information" on the website, expecting some moral code from facebook.

While i agree with you in theory, the fact is, facebook is a business, and it's exchanging a service (omg frinds) for a fee, it's just not a monetary fee. If privacy was such a giant concern, we'd see people shelling out 5 bucks a month to use facebook without all the ads, evil sharing of data, etc.

Note, I'm not saying privacy shouldn't be a giant concern, but we need to deal with it in a proactive way, much like violence on TV or the idiots who open emails with viral attachments: through education (and parenting)- not clamping down on the providers.

Re:Wow (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337926)

Right. That's why the CEO publicly apologized for the news feed and beacon...

I believe your intelligence is sufficiently adequate to imagine situations where an apology might be issued even if one is not technically or actually at fault. So, I find this particular argument disingenuous rather than compelling. ...and there has been widespread discussion about a host of other issues and concerns.

Again, with the caveat of beacon, the linked issues are:

1. Concerns about the privacy policy itself. Since Facebook is an opt-in service this issue is largely irrelevant. Anyone not agreeing with the policy can choose not to opt-in. (As you noted.)
2. Easily dealt with through Facebook's privacy controls.
3. Not related to privacy at all.
4. Meaningless speculation.

If you have a specific point you wish to argue by all means raise it, but I am finding it difficult to respond to a link to a content-poor Wikipedia section.

Companies that are responsible with privacy issues pretty much don't typically get this much bad press. It's not just once or twice.

Bad press is not strictly a function of the facts, but of perception, popularity, and ratings. Most people cannot name 5 companies that have actually lost personal information of arguably greater importance. Facebook, despite having never lost information or acted outside its privacy policies has been raked cross the coals over privacy issues countless times for issues as small as opt-in applications being able to read information on a user's religion when the user has been informed that this is the case.

Re:Wow (1)

Crazyswedishguy (1020008) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338702)

Mark Zuckerberg is definitely not stupid, and Facebook is a cash cow. Its purpose is to generate money through advertising by providing a "free" (ad-supported) social network service to users. If I remember correctly, when only 5 or 6 schools had access to Facebook there were already ads being sold (it was, depending on the school size and Facebook's popularity, around $15 a day for an ad). It seems to me that generating ad revenue is Facebook's goal, and honestly, for all that's being said about profitable corporations being evil and what not, that's what most companies do. Facebook has always been a corporate sellout, whether that's a bad thing is up to you to decide. Being able to pay skilled engineers to support the product has its advantages.

My point here is that what Facebook does -- even if it gets a little bit of bad publicity here for its privacy policies -- is overall generating more revenue. News feeds caused an uproar due to lots of FUD, but in the end I think the majority of users loved it (I like it, now that I can control what information is published in the feeds). It's obvious that in general, people aren't educated enough to have privacy concerns (or else they are educated but choose to ignore it anyway). When using 3rd party apps on Facebook, it is VERY CLEAR that you are giving away your information ("by clicking, you agree to allow Superpoke to access your information", etc).

I believe that Facebook forces its 3rd party application to abide to a certain privacy policy, although I'm not sure about the details. If you care about your privacy but still want to use Facebook, make sure to manage your privacy settings, and don't use any 3rd party apps!

If you really really care about your privacy... well, you're fighting a losing battle anyway. First, I'd suggest ripping out the Ethernet cable.

Information sharing is optional (2, Insightful)

verbalcontract (909922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336308)

When you add an application, it asks you quite clearly:

[ ] Know who I am and access my information.

It's the first checkbox.

Or, even better: you don't need to use applications! Hell, you don't even need to use Facebook! There are services like Hushmail for people who want privacy in their communications.

Re:Information sharing is optional (4, Informative)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336736)

Yeah and if you un-check that box ZERO of the applications will work.

Re:Information sharing is optional (1)

B3ryllium (571199) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336810)

Privacy has always been achieved at the expense of convenience.

Just like security.

Re:Information sharing is optional (1)

Freeside1 (1140901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337470)

and ZERO of the applications are worth it, even if they didn't need personal info.

So don't use them (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338746)

No one is forcing you to use the apps, or facebook at all for that matter. Personally, I just don't put anything in facebook that I'd be upset about being public.

That said, it would be nice if they had granular control over what is released to apps, like they do for every other aspect of the site.

Re:Information sharing is optional (1)

dlim (928138) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338422)

Sure, sharing information is optional; but it would be wise for Facebook to present more detail when installing 3rd party applications. Facebook's data service should require that an application specifies the information (on a field basis) that it wants to use before it can access the data. Facebook could then easily report to the user what information the application wants to use. This would give Facebook users a reasonable idea of whether the application appears trustworthy or not. It should also require a privacy policy from the application developer and at least link to it during install.

Actually, this goes for OpenSocial and any other Social Networking APIs as well.

conclusion: (1, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336320)

facebooks should just adopt openid

it's getting to the point where you really don't have to think anymore to solve problems in information technology

just read slashdot headlines. problems, and solutions, present themselves. often in temporal order. right next to each other

(scratches head)

and... (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336322)

...cue mass Facebook protest in 5, 4, 3, ...

Don't supply it in the first place! (5, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336346)

I work in Higher Education and we're just starting to get on the ball with recruiting via Social Networking (we're always years behind the curve -- I'm surprised we're this current actually) and just as with anything that you provide to a third party, you should really think about what that group needs to have from you in order for you to get what you need in return.

Higher Education is still generally based on paper marketing. Yes, we have a mass of information available on the web but it's not enough honestly and from some Noell-Levitz studies it has been found that the majority of students still want to be communicated by traditional mail marketing in addition to everything else. In fact, in the focus groups I have conducted on the topic, 89% of those that responded (pool of ~350) wanted no communication other than direct mail -- that was shocking to me, especially because they were traditional aged students (18 - 24). I have found that most students will give you their name and address (which is more than I normally will give anyone until I actually apply to the college) and not much else (no birthdate, prior education, and especially no phone number or e-mail address).

So, why are these people giving it to Facebook? Why would they trust that site more than an institution of higher education that is actually mandated by law to protect the privacy of those it deals with? I can't turn around and release any part of a student database to any third party unless its cleansed and has no identifiable information.

Personally, while Facebook is the "new big thing" in Higher Education, it's not worth it for our institution to spend all that much time recruiting by it. Our traditional data works just fine to increase enrollment through the traditional mail, phone and e-communication programs I have developed and redeveloped. That said, I really do believe that people should be very careful about what they put out on any social networking site. Contrary to the belief that there are no automated programs allowed to scour the site, they do and the data that comes back is some really interesting stuff to wade through.

Re:Don't supply it in the first place! (1)

veganboyjosh (896761) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336974)

89% of those that responded (pool of ~350) wanted no communication other than direct mail -- that was shocking to me, especially because they were traditional aged students (18 - 24). I have found that most students will give you their name and address (which is more than I normally will give anyone until I actually apply to the college) and not much else (no birthdate, prior education, and especially no phone number or e-mail address).

I'm 31, and much more likely to give out my home address than an email address, for something like a school or job, for the simple reason that if you have something you're going to send me that's of value, then you'll send it via snail mail. Think about the costs associated with mailing 5,000 to 5 million pieces of snail mail, versus the same number of items via email. Which are you going to think about and more carefully consider before sending to me?

hubris (1)

seheart (1137717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336364)

hubris. outrageous, but expected. facebook is becoming too corporate and moving away from its roots. maybe the reason i barely go there anymore.

Hmm (1)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336380)

Privacy Violation Concerns.. TRIPLE WORD POINTS!

Automaticly install applications? (4, Insightful)

zbend (827907) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336412)

Wait, last time I checked Facebook doesn't automaticly install apps you have to do it and confirm you are allowing this app to acccess some of your information. They don't give third parties your info, you do.

Re:Automaticly install applications? (1)

EtoilePB (1087031) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336844)

Ding ding! That's absolutely correct.

I have a Facebook account, because as someone in that nebulous realm between college and her 30s, it's the best way to keep loose track of the people I knew in high school, college, grad school, back home, etc. But I consider it sort of a fancy Rolodex -- I've shot down every single application invitation any friend has ever sent me. They don't see why, but then again they're the ones with drunken-party-pictures on their profiles, too.

Saying, "the average user should be intelligent enough to..." is always frought with difficulty, but aside from the Beacon business last year, Facebook is pretty transparent about how it works. Don't want to give the application access? Don't check the little box. Do you REALLY need a ninja score?

Re:Automaticly install applications? (4, Informative)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339618)

Wait, last time I checked Facebook doesn't automaticly install apps you have to do it and confirm you are allowing this app to acccess some of your information. They don't give third parties your info, you do.

RTFA (and I quote:)

To restate things--if you set your profile to private, and one of your friends adds an application, most of your profile information that is visible to your friend is also available to the application developer--even if you yourself have not installed the application.

It seems that they do give my info to third parties - third parties being all the stupid applications that my friends installed. I keep very minimal info on my facebook account and don't install any apps because they require full access to my profile, but I still went and turned this sharing off just now. WTF, why did I just learn that every application that any of the 60 of my networked friends has installed could have been happily roaming through my account without my knowledge?

So what's the Facebook Privacy Policy? (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336428)

If it is, essentially, "You have zero privacy anyway, Get over it" then the users shouldn't expect anything more.

Deserve or expect privacy? (4, Insightful)

gravyface (592485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336438)

Deserve? Yes, everyone deserves the right to keep their personal lives private. Should they expect privacy? Not likely. There's no free lunch in life, online or offline: why would Facebook spend many millions of dollars maintaining a social network without milking every last bit of profit out of their user base? They're going to do whatever they can get away with, period. I don't know why people find this so hard to grasp: it's like when I try to explain to people that those "free emoticons" they so fondly install are filling up somebody's offshore server with their personal information and filling their monitor with pop-up advertisements.

Re:Deserve or expect privacy? (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336610)

They're going to do whatever they can get away with, period.
Absolutely. Tom is not really your friend, nor are Facebook.

As with all things fashionable and yet ultimately empty, Facebook seems to have matured. It's not the next big thing any more. It's so last year.

Prof Solove NOT at Georgetown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22336440)

Actually, he's at George Washington Law (one of those other "George" schools):

http://www.law.gwu.edu/facweb/dsolove/ [gwu.edu]

also, has a blog at:

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

So why is this news again...? (5, Insightful)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336444)

Maybe I'm just that suspicious, but the first time I went to look at one of those "applications" on facebook, the first checkbox in a list of a half dozen you can select before you hit "go" was a riff on "Allow this application to access my personal info" ---I automatically assumed that meant ALL my info, and promptly cancelled whatever it was.

Did anyone ever really have the assumption that that information was needed to make the app function, and not just a way of tricking users into giving up demographic info to third parties?

Personally I'm not sure Facebook is in the wrong on this one. It's up in big letters that you're giving whatever application it is access to your personal info--and all those things are OPTIONAL to place in your profile. I don't know that it should their fault that users don't think it through and then become surprised/outraged when they find out what it really means.

Re:So why is this news again...? (1)

thebonafortuna (1050016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336840)

I'm with you on this. Personally, other than my name, class, and home town, I never put anything up on Facebook which can comprimise me. I won't even give them my DOB, real or fake (they have come up with some pretty annoying ways of getting me to input this information, however). I barely use Facebook anymore, for the same reason I never signed up on MySpace -- I feel like I get assaulted every time I look at somebody's profile.

I've never had any interest in adding applications to my account, and the one time I did click on one to have a look, I saw the disclaimer about personal information and promptly closed the window. Haven't bothered looking at one again. Those who do choose to install these applications also choose to post their personal information...if they don't read the disclaimer, that's their problem. Facebook is a company, not some benevolent fun time social network paid for with smiles and ice cream. They're in this to make money, and while I understand privacy concerns, this outcry may indicate a serious lack of realism amongst Facebook's user base.

Facebook is a free service users opt-in to. They choose to input whatever information shows up on their profile. And they choose to install applications. If they don't like it, they can cancel their account and go elsewhere -- maybe even outside. If they install apps despite being warned about information being shared, and then get upset about it...well, good luck when you get out of college.

*Beacon is the one exception I can think of here. Facebook should have been held accountable in some respect for the way they implemented that program, and opted everyone in without their knowledge.

Re:So why is this news again...? (1)

kninja (121603) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336908)

Totally. No one is forcing users to put their info into facebook. It's possible to register with just an email address these days. No Picture, just a name and an email.

Re:So why is this news again...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22337186)

What really surprised me was that typing random ids in the urls didn't show much about users due to their privacy settings, but fetching the same data using their ids with fql did in fact show more then I was allowed to, even though they didn't add or used my app.

Re:So why is this news again...? (1)

smithtuna33 (1205488) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337816)

Mod parent up. This is not news, this is fud. Every user who adds an application on facebook receives a prompt with a checkbox, and it says "Allow this application to... [checkbox] Know who I am and access my information ....[more options]" If you uncheck the box, Facebook says: "Granting access to information is required to add applications. If you are not willing to grant access to your information, do not add this application." If at this point you check it anyway, you should damn well know that this application has all your personal info. The summary is extremely misleading - there is nothing "secret" about this system.

WTF (1)

mc moss (1163007) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336456)

Although I understand that if you post something on the internet, info or pics may be viewed by people that you don't want viewing them (ex: a friend of yours on facebook finds a pic you uploaded really funny and posts it somewhere else), this does not mean that facebook should start giving away info to whoever requests it. I currently have a facebook account and only my closest friends are facebook friends with me. Everything else is private and nobody can even search for me or know I exist on facebook. I haven't installed any apps and have beacon turned off. I try the best to protect my privacy and facebook should not being going around giving info away like this.

Secretly? (1)

starwed (735423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336488)

I'm not so sure that it can be considered secret, given that when you install an application, it states up front that you are giving it access to your profile information.

Translated Quote... (2, Insightful)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336500)

Facebook's position was summed up by Georgetown Law Professor Dan Solove, 'They seem to be going on the assumption that if someone
uses Facebook, they really have no privacy concerns.'


"They seem to assume that people who post their name, address, sexual orientation and gender on giant roadside billboards don't care if strangers know their name, address, sexual orientation and gender! It's like they think that people who go out into the crowded streets don't care who knows what shirt they're wearing!"

Re:Translated Quote... (1)

roggg (1184871) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336790)

"They seem to assume that people who post their name, address, sexual orientation and gender on giant roadside billboards don't care if strangers know their name, address, sexual orientation and gender! It's like they think that people who go out into the crowded streets don't care who knows what shirt they're wearing!"
The problem is, you have the ability to restrict who sees your name, address, sexual orientation and gender. In other words there is at least a facade of concern for privacy issues, however you cant restrict what applications see. You are clearly asked if this is okay when you install the application, so facebook is not doing anything unethical. It's all above the board, however much of the value of facebook is in it's applications, and they give you no way to participate without compromising your privacy. This is as big an issue as people want to make of it. They really should have privacy settings for controlling in detail what information an application can see about you. Applications could in turn decide what is necessary to work, and facebook would be off the hook.

Re:Translated Quote... (4, Informative)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337078)

You are clearly asked if this is okay when you install the application, so facebook is not doing anything unethical. It's all above the board...
It's mostly above board. The part that isn't is that even if you don't install any Facebook applications, if one of your friends (who can see your private profile) decides to install an application, that app now has access to your profile. As TFA explains [news.com] :

Many Facebook users set their profiles to private, which stops anyone but their friends from seeing their profile details. This is a great privacy feature that can protect users from cyberstalkers and is completely gutted by the application system. To restate things--if you set your profile to private, and one of your friends adds an application, most of your profile information that is visible to your friend is also available to the application developer--even if you yourself have not installed the application.
(Emphasis in original.)

You can disable this loophole in Facebook's settings (go to Privacy > Applications > Other Applications and set it to "do not share"), but it isn't made very clear that by default your private details are nevertheless accessible to third-party apps through your friends list. Facebook should make this much more explicit (or perhaps have this setting default to "do not share" for anyone who sets their main profile to private?).

It's an API (5, Insightful)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336510)

Dude, what is so hard here? It is an API. Do people typically customize an API for every user (as in application using the API) to limit the available calls only to what is needed? It is an interface. The data available in said interface is CLEARLY DOCUMENTED. Yes, technically Scrabble has access to the religion of its users. Yes, it could be storing this.

Seriously, what is confusing here? You have to agree when you add an application that it will be able to access your profile data. When you say 'yes, allow this', why would you be surprised that the application is then allowed to do what you just allowed?

http://developers.facebook.com/documentation.php?doc=fql [facebook.com]

Re:It's an API (3, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336744)

You're right, of course. The fact is that Facebook provides a uniform, generic API. It's up to application developers which bits of information are relevant to their application.

But that's not to say this is the only way to do it. It would be possible, for instance, to have the API set such that the application initially makes a request for which database fields it will need to use. Then the application is only allowed to use those fields; all others are invisible. When a user installs an app, it clearly shows which fields the app will be using. This would allow users to make informed choices about which apps to install. If "SuperPoke" says it will access your friends list, that's fine. If it says it will access your address and phone number, that's suspicious.

My point is that Facebook decided to implement a binary security model: either you don't install the app, or you give it access to everything. This doesn't seem like the best model. As a general security rule, an application should be given access to the absolute minimum breadth of resources/data needed to do its job properly.

This is why I don't install Facebook apps: there is no mechanism for controlling the security or even establishing a chain of trust for the application developer.

Re:It's an API (1)

lorenzino (1130749) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336776)

Completely agree with you. And most of the time I look up at the dev of the application and .. I get even more suspicious. I have no application installed .. they bloat you home page, and more importantly, they make dump people sending you hundreds of [stupid¦evil] notifications. HATE IT. It might be interesting if you could give granularity to the access they've got.

Re:It's an API (1)

SteveAyre (209812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337224)

Yes, technically Scrabble has access to the religion of its users. Yes, it could be storing this.

However if they do so for longer than 24 hours (for caching), show it to anyone unless the Facebook user requested it and a few other things they're breaking their agreement with Facebook [facebook.com] , so any application caught doing so could be kicked off of Facebook.

(Of course spotting applications doing so could be rather tricky...)

Re:It's an API (3, Informative)

yukster (586300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338354)

Yes, technically Scrabble has access to the religion of its users. Yes, it could be storing this.
Actually, the developer terms of service explicitly prohibit storing anything other than ids (pretty much):

http://developers.facebook.com/documentation.php?v=1.0&doc=misc [facebook.com]

Yes and no (3, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336534)

I have never bought into the argument that communicating online should always be legally regarded as the equivalent of having a conversation in public. People frequently put access controls and encryption on information sent over the Internet, and it's not like every person on the Internet has the ability to listen in on what you're saying in an IM conversation, emails, etc. There should be a reasonable basis to assume privacy in certain contexts, such as email and IM. IMO, the law should sanction people who eavesdrop on such communications without a good reason.

With Facebook, it all depends on the context. They should be required to show what information they are passing onto their application developers, but there should be no legal protection beyond that. People should be able to sell off their personal information in exchange for something they want. The only reasonable issue here is when the user is not able to reasonably find out and consent to the sharing of the information.

Personally, I am a lot more concerned with things like the FBI's latest attempts to get carte blanche access to email. If there is any institution that will destroy privacy in America, it's the federal government. Every major information/privacy issue that comes back to haunt the average person stems from the law or law enforcement agencies. The reason we worry about identity theft on the financial side of things is that the **law** does not put the onus on the lender to verify the identity of their customer. Why should it be my responsibility to ensure that someone isn't signing up in my name for credit cards? You worry about devastating legal decisions for privacy? The precedents are being set by the DoJ, not corporate America.

Politics (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22336544)

I registered on Facebook with a made up name just to see what the fuzz was all about and found out that the only serious options you can choose when it comes to politics are:

Liberal
Very Liberal
Moderate
Conservative
Very Conservative
Libertarian

My first thought was "typical american bullshit", then I logged out never to return.

Re:Politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22337362)

Aw, wow, Anarchist isn't an option?

Profile of Facebook users (1)

Zollui (1230734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336554)

They are youngish and tend to be under-par in terms of computing/IT literacy. I have been asked by friends to create a Facebook account, which I have done albeit using an invented name and invented personal details (e.g. date of birth, home town, etc.) It's not a good idea to use Facebook in the manner in which it was intended.

Re:Profile of Facebook users (1)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336652)

So you're on facebook as George Bush?

I've really started to dislike Facebook (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336590)

It has the potential to be a really great tool, but there's a little too much social in this social network. The boundaries aren't clear and simple, and just about every transaction *REALLY WANTS* to share your information with other people.

I can't count how many times I've received notifications from people who were intending to send a private message to someone else. Whenever I do a quiz or something, I have to go out of my way not to "share with my friends" or "invite my friends to beat my score." I just want to have some fun and *CHOOSE* to have friends to participate, rather than having to do an extra step just to avoid sending out information about my activities.

At this point, I'm up to here with zombies and vampires. I log in to do the occasional fun quiz, or send a message to a friend who does more FB than email; otherwise, I stay away from FB.

If You Want It Private Keep It Private (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336732)

> They seem to be going on the assumption that if someone uses Facebook, they really have
> no privacy concerns.

Sounds like a reasonable assumption to me.

> Do Facebook users deserve privacy?

Sure. And they can have it. All they need to do is keep the stuff that they want to remain private off Facebook.

Missing The Point (1)

zubikov (1172699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336770)

I'm sorry, am I missing the point of Facebook, or is it a PUBLIC SOCIAL NETWORKING site? If you have a problem with your drunk pictures making it to your boss's desk, or you'd rather keep your sexual orientation to yourself, then don't put it out there for the whole world to see. Simple as that. Sure there are "privacy settings", but come on we all know it'll get out there eventually through friends and links. That's just being realistic.

It's quite poopular (2, Informative)

FrameRotBlues (1082971) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336778)

I started reading the virginia.edu piece, and came across this line:

It's been a wild success: the most poopular Facebook applications have around 24 million users[...]


That's just it: no one who adds the applications gives a crap about their privacy. When you add an application, there are several checkboxes, and you don't have to have them ALL checked in order to add an application, but the only one you DO have to have checked is the "Allow this application to know who I am and to access my information" box. If you uncheck that and try to add the application, Facebook tells you that you need to have this checked, and if you don't feel safe about that, don't add the application. Therefore, IMHO, Facebook gives plenty of warning to those adding applications.

However, I have very few applications on my Facebook - I don't care about the OC, or Dawson's Creek Quotes, or Hot Or Not. I find that the demographic of people that add those kinds of applications don't give two shits about their privacy, and they never read the fine print. They just want to show their friends how much they like the OC or Dawson's Creek. It's just natural selection, internet-style.

privacy? (1)

Deanalator (806515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336814)

Facebook users deserve privacy in the same way that swimmers deserve dryness.

The whole point of social networks is that it allows one to easily control the information that they radiate. Remember when all we had to go on was rumours? Now we know who is gay, we know whose brother was killed in a car accident last year, we know that our previous significant other is now dating again. All of these things that once might have been awkward to bring up are now just pieces of information. If facebook and myspace are any indication, people are tired of keeping secrets, and hearing rumours about themselves, and welcome the opportunity to control the information about themselves directly. I think that this age of information is the best thing that could be happening to this world right now.

Out of step (1)

Dan Posluns (794424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336856)

One of the things I liked best about Facebook when joining was that it wouldn't reveal anything more than my name and photo to people searching for me until I approved them.

The way they handle privacy when it comes to applications is surprisingly out of step with that sort of sensibility. Which is why I won't install anything... it'd be one thing if I was told "this application needs to know your name, age and hometown" and the reasons made sense, but there's no way I'm installing "Happy Vampire Fun Wall O' Pirates" under the blanket provision that it gets to know whatever private information it wants about me.

Yet it doesn't seem to stop anyone else, as I still get bombarded by endless requests for such things... I suppose people are just more willing to trust a faceless application than they are the actual individuals they know might be looking them up...

Dan.

Well, I kinda agree... (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336940)

These people are putting their personal information up on a site, the purpose of which is to share your personal information on. Now, granted there are varying degrees of access you can grant people, but I wouldn't assume too much privacy in doing so. I think the real problem here is people just assume they can go handing out whatever willy nilly and it'll just "all work out."

My take? If you don't want your information shared with abandon, don't put it on a site that has made its while business on sharing personal information with abandon. I've really never understood this silly social networking on the web fad (but then I'm just an old fogie on the inside).

I don't use any of the applications (2, Interesting)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22336952)

I got burned once too many times by crappy idiotic third rate nonsense "applications" on facebook. Someone sent me a kiss, so I sent one back, but I had a bunch of windows open and didn't notice that I had just sent a kiss to EVERYONE. Now they all know I love them, that's no big deal, but it's the assumption of broadcasting and the will to spam itself that I find offensive about facebook.

So, one day, I just sat down and yanked most of the applications out. so, if you send me something on the Funwall, sorry - I won't be seeing it. And if you have some dorky movie compatibility quiz, I won't be playing the game. If you want to contact me, there's a facility for sending messages and comments. If you can't get put enough words together to do that, then you're probably not one of my friends, anyway.

Facebook has outlived its usefulness.

Perhaps something like allvoices.com [allvoices.com] will be the next big thing because there, you have to do something - contribution to the data matters more than just being a consuming node for a data mine.

RS

Blacklists suck (1)

Benanov (583592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337132)

I've turned off the API (had to remove all the applications that aren't built-in to Facebook to do so, but I knew that) ...And I still get spam in my news feed from some friend adding an Application.

I block every single one my friends add, mainly because blocking an application turns off the spam in the news feed from all the applications. It's common knowledge on Slashdot: blacklists suck.

I'm actually trying to use Facebook in the manner it was prescribed, but in order to protect some semblance of my information I have to be very choosy in what I provide.

There is no balance. It's either world-viewable or non-existent.

University... (0, Flamebait)

manXxon (884114) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337150)

University of Vagina. Crap, I need new glasses :\

Allow this application to... (2, Interesting)

sherriw (794536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337194)

I have a friend who thought that the check box "Allow this application to know who I am and access my information" meant:

Allow it to know my name. Allow it to 'know' the info I put into the application itself. Ie, what I type INTO the funwall. She didn't know that it meant 'access my PROFILE information'.

I think this should be clarified to: "know who I am and access all of my profile information."

It wasn't like this when I first signed up (1)

solar_blitz (1088029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337336)

I was a sophomore when Facebook was put onto the series of tubes. At first I was reluctant to sign up, and for the same reason most are inciting right now: loss of privacy. I mulled it over and realized that Facebook was a good tool to keep in touch with people you could not or would not see that often. This can be important, especially in the college environment the site was designed for. You'd have one class with someone you were interested in - either as a friend or something else - and then you'd never see them again. So for those of us who wanted to continue keeping in contact with one another on a semi-regular basis, we could just look each other up on Facebook. The same went for getting in contact with old high-school buddies, too.

But depending on how you use it, it can be a good or bad thing. Anybody who has used Facebook could easily use it to scan different people they like and try to find out more about their personal life (and trust me, many people do it). If a girl or guy you like is "in a relationship", that feels pretty bad. But hey, if they don't even list themselves as "in a relationship" and are seeing somebody, is that worse? It's a real insecure thing to do, but college students are about as insecure as they come.

In all honestly I made a bunch of stupid mistakes on my Facebook profile that got me into some trouble with friends - thankfully, it didn't have any impact on my professional life - but I learned my lesson the hard way. From what I can tell, there's no harm in Facebook as long as you don't post "naughty" stuff like discriminatory remarks and racy photographs. You might as well wear an "I'm with stupid" t-shirt to every job interview and career fair you attend.

Now, though, you have to be wary of anything you put onto your profile because you don't know which program will take information from it. Big business found Facebook and thought to itself "That's a huge demographic", just like they thought when they first discovered the World Wide Web.

"Secretly"? (2, Insightful)

quadelirus (694946) | more than 6 years ago | (#22337344)

I don't see how this is a big secret. When you add an application there is a checkbox that says (and I quote), "Allow this application to... Know who I am and access my information." If you uncheck this box Facebook tells you "Granting access to information is REQUIRED to add applications. If you are not willing to grant access to your information, DO NOT ADD THIS APPLICATION."

I saw this the first time I went to add a Facebook app, and thought "hey, I don't want that, so I'm not going to add it."

Facebook is an advertising platform just like everyone else, so either I'm missing something (which, I'll admit is entirely possible--I recognize that I make mistakes all the time), or is there really a story here?

BTW, just read the terms of service for each application--if it doesn't say what they will do with your data, don't add the app. Then it isn't a whole lot different than putting the same data into any other web application. Also, being aware that this can happen, don't put data on your facebook profile you don't want the rest of the world seeing. It's not rocket science-just common sense.

Facebook Developer (4, Insightful)

justfred (63412) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338150)

I'm a newbie Facebook app developer.

Here's the info I can see for any user that adds my app and clicks the box:

          uid*, first_name, last_name, name*, pic_small, pic_big, pic_square, pic, affiliations, profile_update_time, timezone, religion, birthday, sex, hometown_location, meeting_sex, meeting_for, relationship_status, significant_other_id, political, current_location, activities, interests, is_app_user, music, tv, movies, books, quotes, about_me, hs_info, education_history, work_history, notes_count, wall_count, status, has_added_app

(More info on the already-linked http://developers.facebook.com/documentation.php?doc=fql [facebook.com] )

To me this seems like way, way too much. I haven't told our marketing people we can get all this.

Stupid Question (2, Insightful)

dwye (1127395) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338248)

From someone who, for the most part, cannot conceive why people would want to use an Internet-based something like Facebook, in the first place (seriously, why post your life to 1 billion Chinese, let alone any other group?):

Why is the application not treated as-if it were another user? From what I understand, there is a reasonable granularity of privacy settings for users. Let each app be a unique user, and you automatically get these benefits.

Or are the apps client-based, so that my Facebook on machine X can use apps and on machine Y it cannot, because of how it was set up? In this case, I suppose that I understand (since an app running as "me" only restricts "my" privacy as a favor, and cannot be compelled or punished, except by deletion).

"Do Facebook users deserve privacy?" (1)

powerlord (28156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338250)

From the Fine Summary: ...Do Facebook users deserve privacy?


Deserve privacy? Probably, but these are same people who post pictures of themselves engaging in illegal/inappropriate activities (underage drinking, drug use, etc.), and then wonder why "the wrong people" got into their "personal" files.

What they truly deserve is "common sense" to know that posting things on the net (or on any computer/space outside YOUR control) means others could have access to that information, and to think and consider what to do before you use it. Likewise they should have enough common sense to think that if they choose to divulge information about themselves Wholesale, they shouldn't be surprised when Identity theft rates skyrocket in the near-future, once some unscrupulous character gets a hold of the data Facebook is happy to dish up.

Correction and Plug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22338688)

Solove is not at Georgetown, he is at George Washington. (I'm a student of his, posting from a public terminal in the George Washington University Law complex.) His book, The Future of Reputation [amazon.com] talks about a lot of the issues raised by this article. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this sort of thing.

Lay off... (1)

Farhood (975274) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338910)

Dude, keep quiet!!! My fake Method Man profile has over 15k friends...and we're data mining like never before!

How to fix it (1)

grilled-cheese (889107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22338974)

My thought on how to fix this is to mandate each application to request specific information instead of just getting access to everything.

That way when people add applications they are prompted to allow an application access to specific information. I believe that if people realized exactly what information was being shared, rather than "Know who I am and access my information", they would think twice on adding applications that required irrelevant information.

Good luck to these companies (1)

WaroDaBeast (1211048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339252)

To share information about people who, like me, are living overseas.

Facebook = Myspace (1)

WebmasterNeal (1163683) | more than 6 years ago | (#22339674)

Ever since facebook added those stupid applications to their site people feel the need to add EVERY SINGLE ONE to their profile. Often times it takes several rolls of the mouse wheel to post a comment on someones wall (assuming you skip past their "advanced wall" and "super happy fun wall")

Facebook used to have a great sense of style on their site (something myspace has always lacked) but since they've opened their site up to blind/color blind developers it sucks.

I've tried to avoid the applications like the plague, since I've always figured they got access to more information than I wanted, but there are a few apps that work well and look good at the same time.
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