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Privacy Social Networks Your Rights Online

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 lpaul55 (137990) * on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:05AM (#30388134) Homepage Journal

    I guess it depends on what you want to use this for. Me, I want more attention, so it's all good.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:05AM (#30388144)

    I know it's a different company, but what did the CEO of Google say? 'If You Have Something You Don't Want Anyone To Know, Maybe You Shouldn't Be Doing It'. I see Facebook has the same attitude.

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

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by laron (102608)

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

        • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:56PM (#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.

          • by natehoy (1608657) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @01:20PM (#30391564) Journal

            Correct.

            Now the decision you need to make is based on the following information:

            1. What are they asking me to give them, and
            2. What are they offering me in return.

            Facebook gathers the information you enter and sells it to advertisers for fun and profit. In return, they give you a virtual meetingplace chock full of tools for finding old friends and acquaintances, keeping in touch with same, organizing events, etc etc. What you are giving them in return for this service is:

              - Your name and any other information you actually enter into Facebook. That includes interests, hobbies, etc for matching "the right ad" to you (enter "kayaking" as an interest and those "good luck charms for kayakers!" ads will appear almost instantly). This is "level one" of the data, and allows them to target ads to you.
              - Your habits while on Facebook. Do you spend most of your time on your home page, your news feed, or an app? What kinds of things do you click the "like" button on a lot? What kinds of things do you reply to a lot?
              - Things you and your friends do as a group, and what activities and discussions you have with various friends.
              - They also allow third parties certain levels of access to your data based on applications your friends run.

            Is it worth the price? For me, yes. I understand what I'm selling them, and I feel the service is worth the price. The same is not true of everyone.

            Of course, one fallacy is that you always have to enter all of your real information into the site. It's not your Father Confessor. Enter the city closest to your town, not your actual town. Enter a slightly-but-not-quite birthday if you feel you must have one out there. Enter information about yourself that people who know you could use to recognize you (if you want to be sought out) but that would not give an anonymous stranger tools to use against you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LWATCDR (28044)

        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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Nerdfest (867930)
        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 Shotgun (30919) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:52AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by plague3106 (71849)

        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 kno

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:06AM (#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 jareth-0205 (525594) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:34AM (#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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        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

    • BINGO!

      The internet is anything but "Private". It is a "PUBLIC" network. Putting things on MyFace or Spacebook, and even the stupid twits tweeting on twitter are all exposing themselves better than the perv in the park ever could.

      I have a Facebook account, and it doesn't use my real name, uses a throwaway email address, doesn't contain any personal information, and I don't use it for "social networking" at all.

      So, why do I have it? To keep the idiots from asking me "Do you have a Facebook". I tell them Yeah

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:57AM (#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 bl8n8r (649187) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:06AM (#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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:10AM (#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?

      • Most people already have enough information on the internet that if someone wanted to find them, they could be found.

        To be found, most people only need to expose their real name, and from that a great deal of "Private" information is already available on the net. If I know where you work, what town you live in, it is even easier to find all sorts of information about you.

        Nothing on the web is "private", it is ALL public. That is what it was designed for.

      • It's my understanding that with the new settings, the user is prompted via a wizard to either use the new default or keep the settings the way they are. Once you have completed the wizard, you can then make more granular changes. At least that's what I remember reading on Lifehacker [lifehacker.com]
    • by kevinbr (689680) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:10AM (#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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Ephemeriis (315124)

        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

        • People were relying on the privacy settings so that they could post stuff that only their friends could see on Facebook. For example you might not care that the world can see a picture of you, but you might want your contact details "private" so you can choose by "friending" someone to let them see that stuff, rather than have the idiot from highschool start calling you and harassing you just because it is so easy to find you again on Facebook. That said I think some level of information should be public on
        • by Col. Panic (90528)

          i'd wager more than a few work in information security. the longer you work in security fields the more paranoid you tend to become, probably due to reading about breaches over and over.

        • by ground.zero.612 (1563557) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:57AM (#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 DefenseEngineer (1277030) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:23AM (#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 jareth-0205 (525594) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:35AM (#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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          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 com

    • by tylernt (581794) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:11AM (#30388214)

      If you don't want your name, address, phone, measurements,

      If everyone knows my measurement, why do I keep getting penis enlargement spam?!

    • by Kohath (38547)

      This seems like the point people are missing. Facebook isn't a data vault. It does not exist to protect you from people finding out what city you live in. (Horrors! Someone might find out your current city!!!)

      If you can't give up any info about yourself, Facebook isn't for you.

      • Horrors! Someone might find out your current city!!!)

        You've never had a stalker, have you?

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          No, but if I had I sure wouldn't be on Facebook publishing my whereabouts.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by PriceIke (751512)
            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.
    • 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.

      I agree.

      It's one thing to talk about privacy policies in respect to, for example, generic web searches. If I'm just looking for random information I should be able to expect some degree of privacy. I don't expect Google or Microsoft or Yahoo attach my name and address to my search results and send them to all my friends and family.

      But on a social networking site like Facebook or Myspace... Well, the whole point is to be social. You're supposed to be able to find people you know and communicate with them

  • by TheCycoONE (913189) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:09AM (#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 natehoy (1608657)

      I don't understand why, if someone invites me as a friend, I don't get to see anything about them until after I've accepted the invitation. If someone wants to invite me, I should have some level of access to see their profile so I can see who is inviting me.

      But I don't think making that information public to everyone is the correct solution.

      No worries, though. I'll just choose the next largest town nearby as my location. People who know me know I live in the general area, people who don't won't get to s

      • by LandDolphin (1202876) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:24AM (#30388364)
        I beleive you can require them to submit a message with their friend request that explains who they are or why they want you as a friend.
        • by natehoy (1608657)

          Interesting. I'll have to research that. Thanks.

          PS: Though the spelling error was present, you didn't add any grammatical errors to your post for my enjoyment, as promised in your signature. As a grammar nazi, I am terribly disappointed by this. Please try harder next time. Thanks! :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TheCycoONE (913189)

          Just checked this, there is no message which goes along with a friend request.

        • I believe I read somewhere that if someone pokes you, you’re given access to their limited profile for 30 days (or something like that). Can anyone verify?

          Although I guess it would be a little odd to respond to a friend request with “poke me so I can see your profile, I’m not sure I know you”.

  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:11AM (#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.

    • what?? a corporation is not looking out for the best interest of its customers?

      what is the world coming to?

      life HAS to be disney-like. they all told me that as I was growing up. it HAS to be true.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ephemeriis (315124)

      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 w

    • Worse than that.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maillemaker (924053)

      Worse than that, the pop-up menu option for more privacy was not listed as "keep private", it was listed as "old settings". If you hovered over the "old setting" button a menu did pop up that said "private" or something like that, but clearly the menu was designed to entice users to reveal more private information.

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

    • by D Ninja (825055)

      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.

      This just in, a company exists to make money, even at the expensive of its customers. News at 11.

      Seriously, anybody who thinks any company (and I mean a company as a whole - not necessarily its individuals) is not about making money at all times (or about putting on a good face so they eventually make more money, etc) is just fooling themselves.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by X86Daddy (446356)

        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 th

    • I'm sure that that's what Facebook is doing, but this move doesn't really help with that. If they want to sell your information, wouldn't it make more sense to offer a service that allows you to see any profile regardless of privacy settings (especially if you don't make knowledge of this service widely available to the general public)? Allowing anyone to see more information about everyone else doesn't exactly advance this goal.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      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.

      While that's true of the networks, it's less true for cable, telcos, and satellite, as the dollars per sub those services get from advertising is actually fairly low.

  • privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:13AM (#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.
    • 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.

      Exactly.

      Set your privacy too high and nobody can find you.

      I'll get an invite from someone whose name looks familiar, but I don't recognize it. And they've got their security cranked up. Where do they live? Did I go to school with them? Do they know one of my friends? Are they a distant family member? Who knows!

      If you want to be found, you need to sacrifice some privacy.

      If you don't want to be found, what the hell are you doing on Facebook?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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 ab

  • Smackdown (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:15AM (#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...
  • Give false info (Score:5, Informative)

    by petes_PoV (912422) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:18AM (#30388312)
    Nothing they require is verifiable, so just make it up. After all it's an online medium so no-one cares what you look like, which city you sleep in or whether you wear dresses, or ties (or both - but not together: that's just weird).

    Likewise, when sites ask for security questions such as pet's name, there's no obligation to give a truthful answer: just one that you will consistently give to that site when asked that question. It's the internet - you're not even a number here.

  • by snotclot (836055) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:19AM (#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.
    • Not for me. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by maillemaker (924053)

      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 a

  • Friends List (Score:4, Informative)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:35AM (#30388484)

    Your friends list can be hidden from strangers, it's just not in the privacy settings.

    You have to go to your profile page, then click the pencil icon in the upper right corner of the friends box. Uncheck 'show my friends in my profile'.

    It will still show your friends to your other friends, though.

  • by phillipao (951639) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:36AM (#30388498)
    so you can't hide your city anymore...carmen sandiego is FUCKED
  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

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

    • Re:So what? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by js_sebastian (946118) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @12:23PM (#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 TejWC (758299) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @10:42AM (#30388586)

    There is a stupid loophole that still exists where one of your friends can use an app which can access just about any kind of information about you and give it to a 3rd party without you knowing about it. Even if you make a customized setting where certain friends don't get to know certain kinds of information about you, a Facebook app could bypass your own setting and get that information ignoring your "friends" privacy settings.

    So remember to go to your privacy settings, then "Applications and Websites", then "What your friends can share about you" and uncheck whatever you don't want strangers to know about you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      There is a stupid loophole that still exists where one of your friends can use an app which can access just about any kind of information about you [...] So remember to go to your privacy settings, then "Applications and Websites", then "What your friends can share about you" and uncheck whatever you don't want strangers to know about you.

      There is still a stupid loophole that still exists where we live in the real world and once you let the data out of your control, the battle is already over. So remember to not put anything into Facebook that you don't want the world to see. There, fixed that for you. What part of if you don't control the server, you don't control the data was unclear to you? I have hosted web services, I don't even assume that the people at JustHost won't just go through my directories and look for anything interesting if

  • If I understand correctly, before this change this information was already accessible not only to any apps you used but any apps that your friends used. Those apps could do whatever they like with it and you don't have any control over what apps your friends use. Also much of it was available to anyone who happened to want to serve an ad on your page.

    By designating it as irredeemably public, they're not making privacy worse, they're just admitting what was already true.

    I wish they didn't include friends lis

  • I'm not one of those people super concerned about privacy, but I actually went into Facebook a while back and turned most stuff to Friend or at least Friend of a Friend. No, you can't see my political or religious views, or posts by friends on my wall, unless you're at least a foaf.

    And, yes, I'm smart enough to expose enough information that you can actually identify me in search results.

    And then Facebook, the other day, actually prompted me with a popup page. All well and good, except everything had two

  • 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.

  • Oh come on (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimicus (737525) on Thursday December 10, 2009 @11:53AM (#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.

Steve Jobs said two years ago that X is brain-damaged and it will be gone in two years. He was half right. -- Dennis Ritchie

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