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Facebook Masks Worse Privacy With New Interface 446

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the it's-a-book-of-faces dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Facebook launched new privacy settings this week. Cosmetically, this means that the settings are explained more clearly and are marginally easier to manage. Unfortunately, some of the most significant changes actually make preserving privacy harder for its users: profile elements that could previously be restricted to 'Only Friends' are now designated as irrevocably publicly available: 'Publicly available information includes your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, friend list, and Pages.' Where you could previously preserve the privacy of this information and remain publicly searchable only by name, Facebook now forces you to either give up this information (including your current city!) to anyone with a Facebook account, or to restrict your search visibility — which of course limits the usefulness of the site far beyond how not publicly sharing your profile picture would. That Facebook made this change while simultaneously rolling out major changes to the privacy settings interface seems disingenuous."
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Facebook Masks Worse Privacy With New Interface

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:06AM (#30388148)

    Wash me but don't make me wet. If you're concerned about your privacy, you should not be using social networking web sites. Any information you put into these services will leak one way or another, regardless of "privacy settings".

  • by bl8n8r (649187) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:06AM (#30388150)

    It seems to me that when you sign up for a social networking site like facebook any of the information you give them is going to be well.. socially networked.

    If you don't want your name, address, phone, measurements, work history and other info made available for the whole world to see, DON'T POST IT.

    It's odd that anyone wanting privacy would be using a social networking tool when that is precisely what the tool was not designed to do.

  • by purplebear (229854) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:06AM (#30388152)

    Oh, that Facebook notified all users of the change and clearly explained it in advance? Is that what's being cried about here? Ok, I get that then. Carry on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:06AM (#30388160)

    Yes, tell that to the hundreds of millions of users who are already using it and may have just had their privacy exposed. Good plan.

  • by TheCycoONE (913189) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:09AM (#30388188)

    If someone requests to add me to their friend list before, they could hide virtually all the information about themselves from me besides a name which may sound familiar. A curious person may add this person to their friends list because they don't know whether they know the person or not, thus divulging all their information to the party. At least now they'd have to make a profile that put them in a reasonable city and attract friends I know. I could check if they have thousands of friends world wide and probably don't actually know me before I give up my privacy to them.

    The information which is forced public is adequate for identifying a person you might know without including more sensitive information like addresses, email addresses, and messages or photographs (besides the profile picture)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:10AM (#30388196)

    There's a difference between making your personal information available to just your friends, who may want to know where you are and what you're doing... And then posting a giant neon sign for the entire internet to see saying, "HERE I AM!"

    I got on facebook to reconnect with friends. Not to have everyone and their brother connect with me.

    What facebook needs is privacy that's more... granular? Would that be the right word?

  • by kevinbr (689680) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:10AM (#30388200)

    Everything I put on Facebook is public. if I want some secrets I keep it off of facebook. You can watch me walk down the road, watch me shop, watch me play with my kids in the park etc etc etc. Life itself has very few privacy controls when you are in a public space. Facebook is a public space.

    You don't need to be my "friend" to see my content.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:11AM (#30388208)
    They do not "get" it. I am convinced Facebook does not want to preserve the privacy of its users. When I went to Facebook last night, I was presented with a pop up menu to select my new privacy options. All the defaults were set to looser privacy than I had previously set for my account. I had to manually restore the stricter privacy settings.

    .
    Facebook does not care about the privacy of its users. Get used to it.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:11AM (#30388222)

    It was an eye-opener for me when I realized that television networks are not in the business of putting out quality programming and paying for it with advertising, they're in the business of selling advertising and the programs are the means of attracting enough eyeballs to give that ad time value. "If they can come up with something cheaper than news magazines, comedies and dramas, they'll air it." And sure enough, there's now channels out there specializing in repackaging what are effectively Youtube videos into half hour shows complete with the requisite commercial breaks. You have your police chases, animal attacks, painful stunts, and cute animals. Whatever it takes to keep you fuckers watching until the next commercial break.

    So, Facebook's mission isn't to provide a friendly place for friendly people to connect and gee, they just want to make enough money to keep the doors open and break even. I haven't made a thorough exploration of Facebook's business model but it's gotta be something related to selling PI or allowing marketing firms to conduct real world research. I know that stupid farm game gets people to spend real world money on virtual assets. I don't know how much of a rent Facebook charges them for operating on their app.

  • privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:13AM (#30388244)
    Limits socializing, who knew? Seriously though, I have some friends from highschool that I wouldn't mind getting back in contact with and tried to look up on facebook. But with a common name like Mike Smith and no profile picture or friend information how are you supposed to find people? Maybe these people don't want to be found but that seems to be odd seeing as you have a Facebook profile. If you only want to have contact with people you are already in contact with something else would work, eg. email, Facebook IMHO is meant to help people find people they've lost contact with. This is impossible with too much privacy on the site.
  • Smackdown (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:15AM (#30388270)
    While I realize that the best way to preserve your privacy online is to not sign up for sites like Facebook, the fact remains that Facebook appears to be intent on being free and loose with people's details despite constant pressure to allow people to control access to that information. Each time they "fix" their privacy issues, they just shift it to another aspect. They aren't really changing anything - they're just moving things around. Until they get a massive smackdown that makes them realize it's not profitable to keep up this shell game with their user's private information, they will continue just moving things around, making "this" thing private while making "that" thing available to the public.

    But, like I said, if it's really a massive concern, just don't sign up for a Facebook account...
  • by xouumalperxe (815707) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:17AM (#30388288)
    Yes, but you'd be canceling it now, after the data was exposed to begin with.
  • by snotclot (836055) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:19AM (#30388320)
    Every day, facebook becomes worse and worse. The apps are pointless, and the site is slower and cumbersome (compared to its spritely version in 2004 when it came out). It is fun to be tagged in photos with your friends, and to post on each others' "walls", but that's about it. During college it was great to use, since everyone is growing up and want to meet new people. However, after college theres not as much use for it and I find myself barely using it.. its basically functioning as a "bridge" between when you just meet someone, to when you get their IM and you chat on IM instead.

    The only thing keeping facebook going is that its achieved critical mass. I can see Google one day knocking out Facebook easily, since everyone now has gmail and eventually Facebook will need to move from "stupid, 3rd party, spyware apps" to real apps such as Calendars, maps, and such -- and google already has these features.

    Zuckerberg should have sold for $750 million or whatever was offered.
  • by D Ninja (825055) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:24AM (#30388370)

    But, it wasn't. Facebook notified that there would be "stronger privacy changes and improvements to better help control your information." Nothing was ever said about, "We're going to make some information available whether you like it or not." And, that's crap.

  • by bmearns (1691628) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:25AM (#30388372)
    I understand your sentiment: social web services like Facebook are about sharing information, if that's not what you want to do, don't use them. On the other hand, less tech-savvy folks are not always so keenly aware of the implications of such privacy issues.
  • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:28AM (#30388408)

    Everything I put on Facebook is public. if I want some secrets I keep it off of facebook. You can watch me walk down the road, watch me shop, watch me play with my kids in the park etc etc etc. Life itself has very few privacy controls when you are in a public space. Facebook is a public space.

    You don't need to be my "friend" to see my content.

    I think a lot of folks here on Slashdot are a little paranoid about privacy... Or, at least try to sound like they're paranoid about privacy.

    The fact of the matter is that there's precious little privacy in the world. When I'm working out in my front yard, I've got no privacy. When I'm shopping or driving or walking down the street, I've got no privacy. At work I've got no privacy.

    Why would anyone expect that posting something on the Internet, quite possibly the most public space in the world, would be private?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:30AM (#30388420)

    Being visible in public is not necessarily the same as being searchable on facebook. At least if you're not usually walking around with a big fat floating nametag somewhere above your head.

  • by Ephemeriis (315124) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:31AM (#30388448)

    They do not "get" it. I am convinced Facebook does not want to preserve the privacy of its users. When I went to Facebook last night, I was presented with a pop up menu to select my new privacy options. All the defaults were set to looser privacy than I had previously set for my account. I had to manually restore the stricter privacy settings.

    .

    Facebook does not care about the privacy of its users. Get used to it.

    I suspect that it is you that does not "get it."

    Facebook is a social networking site on the Internet. The Internet is quite possibly the most public place in the world. Anything you post anywhere on the Internet is pretty much guaranteed to show up somewhere you'd rather it didn't - privacy policies be damned. Social networking sites are all about finding and connecting with other people. This is done by being able to see the names, locations, and interests of those other people.

    In other words, if you want privacy, you shouldn't be using Facebook.

  • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:34AM (#30388476) Homepage

    If you're concerned about your privacy, you should not be using social networking web sites.

    Sociable people often want to communicate... The same people would not necessarily want any person in the world to know what their friends know. And people have different circles of friends, with different levels of communication between them. Facebook has gone some way to catering for this, it's just a shame that they have set the defaults so low.

    It's not black-and-white, just because someone would be upset that information leaks someway to somewhere it shouldn't be, doesn't mean we shouldn't make a decent stab at getting it as right-as-possible, and accept that there's always a little risk.

  • by jareth-0205 (525594) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:35AM (#30388496) Homepage

    Everything I put on Facebook is public. if I want some secrets I keep it off of facebook.

    Bully for you. The rest of us have a more subtle approach to social networking. Sometimes we want to share things with some people and not with others. This is hardly strange behaviour.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:36AM (#30388504) Homepage Journal

    Wrong answer, bright boy. DO NOT just delete an account, if you're concerned about privacy. The data remains on the server when you delete.

    EDIT your account details FIRST. Change your name to Mickey Mouse, your address to something preposterous like 99999 Lost Highway, Bumfuck, Egypt. Change ALL your details, so that existing data is overwritten. Don't forget anything. Break contact with all your friends, unsubscribe to groups, replace your photo(s) with landscapes of the moon. Use your imagination. Really fuck up the account. Then, leave it ACTIVE long enough for several server backups to take place. Finally - delete the account.

    Use your little peabrain for something besides playing pocket pool.......

  • by error_frey (1665467) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:37AM (#30388516)
    Are you implying that the majority of those 200+ Mpeople read thoroughly the privacy policy in the first place?
  • by natehoy (1608657) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:38AM (#30388524) Journal

    No, you wouldn't have noticed a change, because the walk-through explains what portions of your profile are now irrevocably public that used to be subject to the "Only Friends" security setting.

    Of course, given that your friends already have access to whatever you've set to "Only Friends", and every app they install has whatever access they have to your profile, the "Only Friends" setting is a tad misleading. "Only Friends, Farmville, Mafia Wars, Lost Sheep, Cute Fluffybunnies, and whatever crapplications your friends might happen to install" might not fit in the space available, though.

  • by natehoy (1608657) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:39AM (#30388554) Journal

    Um, dude, YOU ARE NOT a customer of Facebook. Their customers are advertisers.

    You are the PRODUCT.

  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Carik (205890) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:41AM (#30388570)

    I use facebook. When someone who isn't one of my friends looks at my profile, they see:
    1) My name. Why else would they be looking at my profile?
    2) My user photo. This isn't actually me, so I don't care. I didn't want my face up there, so I didn't put a picture of myself in.
    3) My website -- actually just my flickr page, since I don't care if people find it. It's not like it has any more information about me.
    4) My education and work listings. Again.. I left those up on the grounds that it would make it easier for people to find me, and I don't care if people see them.

    So... where's the risk in those? No one can see my current address, because I don't see a need for it. If someone wants to know where I live, they can ask me. If someone wants to know my IM name, they can ask. It's not hard... they can still send me a message, even without declaring themselves my friend. Sure, if I'd filled out every piece of information and it was being shared, I'd be upset. But really... you don't have to fill any of it out that you don't want to, and anything you fill out on a site like FB should be considered to be public anyway.

  • by Dreadneck (982170) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:44AM (#30388610)

    I keep wondering when people are going to figure out that the purpose of social networking sites - from the viewpoint of corporations and government - is to generate a map of every user's interpersonal connections? Honestly, it's not much different from the work I did in the military where we used radio intercepts and radio direction finding to not only locate each radio source, but to figure out its position in the hierarchy.

    Once you realize the purpose - so far as corporations and government are concerned - it's not too difficult to understand why 'privacy' is something to be paid lip service only.

    The problem isn't the tool (I don't want to be accused of being a Luddite) so much as those who control its implementation and use.

  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:44AM (#30388614) Journal

    Better suggestion: Use fakenamegenerator and come up with something that doesn’t look like an obviously bogus profile.

  • by Nofsck Ingcloo (145724) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:47AM (#30388638)
    No, but if I had I sure wouldn't be on Facebook publishing my whereabouts.
  • Re:Give false info (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ma8thew (861741) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:49AM (#30388682)
    That makes no sense. Facebook requires very little info from you, but you'll just confuse your friends by listing false details.
  • by Shotgun (30919) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:52AM (#30388724)

    'If You Have Something You Don't Want Anyone To Know, Maybe You Shouldn't Be Doing It'.

    I think the CEO said that wrong in this case. What it should be is: 'If You Have Something You Don't Want Anyone To Know, Maybe You Shouldn't Be Posting It On A Public Social Networking Site'

    I mean, dang, if you're in the federal witness protection program, why are you posting your picture on Facebook? By requiring the picture and address to be public information, maybe Facebook is saying, "We only want our social networking site to be targetted to people that want to network socially."

    Again, if you are THAT concerned about your privacy, WHY are you giving our your 'private' information to people you don't know?

  • Re:privacy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:55AM (#30388770)

    I'm on Facebook, but I'm not there to be "found". I have a select group of friends with whom I share photos and a blog as I live overseas and see them at most once a year. I don't accept invitations from acquaintances, only genuine friends, and don't wish any of my information other than my name and photo to be publicly available.

    Different people use Facebook for different things. They have removed a choice and made public information many people consider to be private. This is what people are up in arms about and I hope they reverse this decision quickly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:57AM (#30388786)

    The internet is anything but "Private".

    My bank account is accessible via the internet; does that mean it's public knowledge and anyone can get that information?

  • by ground.zero.612 (1563557) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:57AM (#30388796)

    Everything I put on Facebook is public. if I want some secrets I keep it off of facebook. You can watch me walk down the road, watch me shop, watch me play with my kids in the park etc etc etc. Life itself has very few privacy controls when you are in a public space. Facebook is a public space.

    You don't need to be my "friend" to see my content.

    I think a lot of folks here on Slashdot are a little paranoid about privacy... Or, at least try to sound like they're paranoid about privacy.

    The fact of the matter is that there's precious little privacy in the world. When I'm working out in my front yard, I've got no privacy. When I'm shopping or driving or walking down the street, I've got no privacy. At work I've got no privacy.

    Why would anyone expect that posting something on the Internet, quite possibly the most public space in the world, would be private?

    Why do people in their house with the blinds closed and the doors lock expect privacy? Because the previous controls to limit your exposure were synonymous with window shades and door locks.

    I open the shades so I can see out, and with that I accept the risk that someone can see in. At least before these changes I had the ability to do just that. Now? Not so much.

  • by jDeepbeep (913892) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:58AM (#30388812)

    Has Facebook gotten so smug that they feel they can do whatever they want and people will just deal with it.

    Yes.

  • Re:FB name changes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by clone53421 (1310749) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:00PM (#30388838) Journal

    That’s actually somewhat troubling... if they notice that you’re changing your name from John Smith to Steve Johnson, will it throw up a red flag?

  • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:01PM (#30388854) Homepage

    This is a good thing. It's just facebook explicitly letting it be known what has always been true: That information is NOT private and never has been. The way facebook apps work ensures that there is no privacy regarding those details. Admitting such is just honesty.

  • Not for me. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by maillemaker (924053) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:19PM (#30389202)

    I think I was one of the last people on the planet to sign up for Facebook.

    I figured, "I already keep in touch with everyone I want to keep in touch with". Oh, BTW, I've been out of college for 20 years.

    But then I signed up. And you know what? There are lots of people I have lost track of over the years that I found on Facebook. It's fun to see their pictures, see how they have aged, and see their families. It's fun to read what amounts to peoples' diaries and see what is going on in their lives.

    It's also a great way to post pictures of my family so that my friends and family can see them without me having to email them to whoever wants them.

    Now I agree that all the apps suck. I have absolutely ZERO interest in what games people are playing, and I do not want to be notified that they just scored 10 points in "Sparkle" or whatever game it is they are playing. I have pretty much succeeded in blocking all the currently in-vogue apps, but I wish there was a setting that I could click to jut block ALL apps by default.

  • by DefenseEngineer (1277030) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:23PM (#30389282)

    I think a lot of folks here on Slashdot are a little paranoid about privacy... Or, at least try to sound like they're paranoid about privacy.

    The fact of the matter is that there's precious little privacy in the world. When I'm working out in my front yard, I've got no privacy. When I'm shopping or driving or walking down the street, I've got no privacy. At work I've got no privacy.

    Why would anyone expect that posting something on the Internet, quite possibly the most public space in the world, would be private?

    Your analogy is seriously flawed. When you are out working in your front yard, shopping, driving, or walking down the street, you do have privacy. Unless of course you walk around handing out cards to every single person you pass that includes your full name, city, country, gender, picture, a list of all clubs/networks, a list of all your friends and their associated full names, cities, countries, genders, pictures, clubs/networks, etc.... I personally don't have such a card much less pass it out to every person I ever see.

  • by laron (102608) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:25PM (#30389306)

    Indeed. As someone else put it: You are not their customer, you are their product.

  • by plague3106 (71849) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:35PM (#30389510)

    Again, if you are THAT concerned about your privacy, WHY are you giving our your 'private' information to people you don't know?

    Simple. I care a great deal about my privacy, but I'm opening to sharing a lot of details with friends and family. Previously, I had everything locked down so that ONLY friends could see my information. I don't care if my family knows I'm a fan of, say, Capt. Morgan (maybe they want to do something different for a gift or something), but do I want any jackass in the world to know that? No. But FB decided that if I want to share something like that, everyone in the world can know, or I no one can.

    Yes, I could go through the hassle of my own web site... but I actively need to tell them about it, instead of them signing on and finding me. And it's easier to click a few buttons than manage my own site.

    Before you ask, yes, I have gone through and deleted all the information which I no longer have control over. People can find I have an account, and that's it.

  • by X86Daddy (446356) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:43PM (#30389706) Journal

    GP's point is that most people are confused about the television business model, mistaking themselves as the customers and entertaining content as the product... The real model being that viewers' attention is the product being sold to advertisers is really something most people miss. This model is the true model for all television, including "News" channels, "Science Fiction" channels, "Music" channels, etc... For media in general, especially large, older, corporate-run media, the model is pretty much the same, and GP isn't musing that Facebook might be trying to make money as a business, but rather musing on who are Facebook's actual customers and what is the true business model. Like with TV, I bet most Facebook users mistakenly believe that they are also Facebook's customers.

  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:50PM (#30389852) Journal

    What some people call a "sad social life", I call peaceful. ;)

    I don't need lots and lots of so-called friends. I just need a few good ones. The difference is I value quality of friends, not quantity.

    Just because McDonalds has served "Billions and Billions" of burgers doesn't mean their burgers are any good.

  • by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:52PM (#30389882)

    This goes back to something I originally wrote for a computer ethics class, but which I believe I commented on slashdot before with, which is the principle of "reasonable expectations" and how they differ between crowds.

    A college student (or frankly anyone else) whose social life up till now has been dependent on trusting his friends not to spill details of his private life will not approach something like Facebook with the idea that the medium itself is going to betray them, privacy policy be damned. They don't expect someone they talk to to turn around and stab them in the back with it, unless it's someone that everyone publicly reviles for that sort of thing. Facebook may seem to some here to be publicly reviled, but honestly, we're not the ones those people talk to. They talk to friends who have spent the last couple years posting there and who have never had any concern with it at all. In short, the consumer expects the company to know that their data is precious to them and that it should not be treated with disrespect.

    The company itself has a different standard for reasonable expectation; they expect people to know that when you give them marketable information after signing a disclaimer, it's alright for them to sell it. Further, it's alright to index your information in ways that is most useful for the community even though it might expose an individual or two who didn't understand the risks or who didn't care. In short, the company expects the consumers to know that they're still the ones who exposed their data and that they, not the company, are liable if it gets into the wrong hands.

    Who's right?

    Well, the answer is that the system itself is wrong. If the consumers did in fact completely understand their responsibility and liability in the matter beforehand, then they can be held accountable. However, if the company is putting up a privacy policy in hard-to-read and denser-than-necessary legalese, and in particular if they have come to the understanding that some percentage of their users don't understand because of this but they don't change their ways, then the company is the party which could have changed something to prevent the incident, whereas the users were acting in a way that seemed reasonable. The company being the person who could have prevented the incident, they are ethically responsible; in particular, because this is probably known to happen with some large subset of the population, they are in general responsible and it would take an unusual circumstance for the user to be the one who did something wrong.

    Note: IANAL or frankly an ethicist; however, this does NOT take a genius to figure out.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:52PM (#30389886) Homepage Journal

    This is hardly strange behaviour.

    It's hardly strange, but it is delusional. I assume that every piece of information that I upload to any website has been read by everyone who works there, and possibly sent on to other people to chuckle over. To do differently is to live in a fantasy world. Sure, most people don't care about your data, and no one cares about most people's data. That doesn't help if you're the magical mystery motherfucker. Short form: If you want to keep data private, you need a local server, and to encrypt all outgoing communications.

  • Oh come on (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimicus (737525) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:53PM (#30389930)

    This is Facebook. A site which has had privacy problems more or less since its inception - mainly because the idea that sure, there might be things you want to share - just not with the whole world, okay? - was never (and indeed AFAICT is still not) part of the original design philosophy.

    Anyone who has actually attempted to use Facebook's privacy settings for more than about 5 minutes should have already figured that out. Treat it (and indeed any similar site) like a dodgy pub with incredible acoustics full of big hairy neanderthals you don't like and gossips who can't keep their mouth shut and you won't go too far wrong.

    Treat it like a private room in which you can share your innermost thoughts with your closest friends in complete safety and you are going to come unstuck sooner rather than later.

  • Re:privacy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:56PM (#30389986)

    That should still be the user's choice.

    Some people use it as a social tool, and a way to find others. For instance, I am one of the heavy privacy users, and I hardly even allow "Friends of Friends" to see things, let alone Everyone. Still, I am able to connect with friends and one friend (on my list) just out of the blue sent me a message; more importantly, I can go through my friends to find other friends, and that is honestly how I want my friends to find me as well. If he was using my email address, I probably would not have even noticed as he probably does not even have my primary one.

    I do not use Facebook so that people that lost contact can easily find me. I use it to stay in contact with people already on my list. As I get older, the list grows to include people in the former category (lost contacts), and in many cases I unfriend those people. I also use it to give a glance of what people are up too--the ones that I care about.

    I guess you could say that I use it like a secondary email account that has the added benefit of including public (of/to friends) announcements and pictures.

  • by Tetrarchy (1651907) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:57PM (#30390020)
    What I think is really hilarious about these apps, specifically game-type ones, is that they are basically a front for 3rd parties working with facebook to bribe you for all of your and your friend's information. Its probably fairly valuable once you get enough of it, and all they offer in exchange is some... flash game. wow we're getting cheap these days.
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:17PM (#30390410) Homepage Journal

    The problem is the users.
    Really folks this if FACEBOOK. You are putting the data on there yourself. Don't put any data up there you don't want everybody to see.
    Am I the really odd person out because I never thought that any data I posted to a free social networking site was private?

  • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by js_sebastian (946118) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:23PM (#30390522)

    I use facebook. When someone who isn't one of my friends looks at my profile, they see: 1) My name. Why else would they be looking at my profile? 2) My user photo. This isn't actually me, so I don't care. I didn't want my face up there, so I didn't put a picture of myself in. 3) My website -- actually just my flickr page, since I don't care if people find it. It's not like it has any more information about me. 4) My education and work listings. Again.. I left those up on the grounds that it would make it easier for people to find me, and I don't care if people see them.

    Now they also see the list of all your FB friends. That's something I would consider private.

  • by PriceIke (751512) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:44PM (#30390900)
    So .. following your logic, if you knew of one person you wish to keep ignorant of your whereabouts and personal information, from no matter how long ago, you'd become a recluse for the rest of your life and cut off all contact with friends and family. Got it.
  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:48PM (#30390992)
    Your privacy is something you give up (to a degree) for 'free' services. Each individual needs to decide for themselves whether the trade is worth it.
  • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:56PM (#30391124) Journal

    You are not their customer, you are their product.

    That is true of anyone who sells you to advertisers.

    TV, Radio, Google, etc.

    You are being farmed for your eyes and ears.

  • Re:privacy (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:15PM (#30391486)

    Some people want to be able to reconnect with people they've lost touch with, but don't want certain people finding them or to have all their basic info available to the public. They're willing to take sole responsibility for finding people they want to know, and willing to risk not being found by people they like in order not to be found by other people. There's no logical disconnect there at all, and I don't understand how the parent got modded insightful. (My name is apparently completely unique on the internet, so it's not as though I'm arguing from the perspective of someone for which the aforementioned approach is even possible.)

  • by realityimpaired (1668397) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:18PM (#30391532)

    I know somebody who's had to change her facebook profile half a dozen times because the person she's trying to get away from keeps re-registering with a different name. And now that names/information are viewable without even being logged in? I imagine she's pretty pissed off about it....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:34PM (#30391792)

    Wrong.

    Facebook allows you to attach a message to every friend request. It is unnecessary if you know someone well, but if you're contacting someone who might not remember you--as the gp suggests--it is probably appropriate to populate that field so they have a frame of reference.

    In fact, I regularly use that as my deciding factor in if I accept a friend request (2+ years since last contact) from an old acquaintance. If you sent me a friend request but didn't attach a personal message, you're just trolling for a higher friend count. If you added a message, you're actually interested in reconnecting.

  • by natehoy (1608657) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @02:41PM (#30391898) Journal

    First, I don't think you understand the new choice you have. You can make your City and other information public, or you can restrict your search visibility. It's not "make this information public or you can't use Facebook at ALL", it's "make this information public or it becomes harder for people to search for you".

    If you have an abusive ex, you've (hopefully) already taken measures to protect your privacy, such as moving somewhere your ex can't find you, getting an unlisted number, etc. I think you'd understand the value of an option that includes the text "becomes harder for people to search for you". Making yourself non-searchable on Facebook should be RIGHT UP THERE on that list of security measures, if you choose to use Facebook at all.

    If you have been through the process of protecting yourself from an abusive ex, then you already understand why it's a bad idea to enter perfectly accurate data into ANY online database about you, even if that information is "supposed" to be kept private. Especially if that promise comes from a company like Facebook who has already developed a pretty piss-poor track record of actually respecting your privacy.

    You can still use Facebook if it's important to you. Just for God's sake don't enter the real city you live in or any other information that your ex can use to find you. For example, enter a city where other people who know you would think of - maybe the town you were born in, or somewhere you lived in for a long time. Or don't enter a city at all. Or if you want to enter your real city make yourself non-searchable and make your initial Facebook contacts offline.

    And keep in mind that some of the people who you think of as friends may also possibly be friends with your ex. Facebook is one possible vector for them to get information about you, but if you have a truly vindictive ex who has it in for you, there are many others you need to worry about first. If you enter some comment about having a great time at a concert that was less than a mile from your house, and one of your FB friends who talked to you about it on FB makes friends with your Ex, then your Ex can see that conversation. They can then look up details on that concert and they have your house location identified within a mile.

    You can be safe, or you can be found (by friend or foe). Choose one.

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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