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Facebook Calls All-Hands Meeting On Privacy 302

Posted by timothy
from the all-opposed-say-aye dept.
CWmike writes "A Facebook spokesman said that the company will hold an all-staff meeting on Thursday to discuss privacy issues, but would not say whether executives are looking to make significant changes to the popular site's highly contentious privacy policies following a bevy of changes to the service." (More, below.)
"In an interview with Computerworld last week, Ethan Beard, director of the site's developer network, defended Facebook's policies and even said users love the changes that Facebook has made. However, it seems calls for people to delete their Facebook accounts, which have gathered momentum, have not fallen on deaf ears at the company. Adding to the perception of a crisis on hand, the NY Times profiled on Wednesday a project called Diaspora, which is creating a more private, decentralized alternative to Facebook."
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Facebook Calls All-Hands Meeting On Privacy

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  • Limey (Score:2, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim (636783)
    I don't particularly find Facebook's stance and practices on privacy anymore troubling that societies general attitude toward to the subject.
    • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:52PM (#32201464)
      Serious? Our eyes and minds are being sold to advertisers and you don't find that troubling? We are not the consumers any more, we are the product. If society mimicked Facebook you're damned right there'd be privacy concerns. If I stop by a motorcycle shop to buy some oil and they sold that information to other distributors without my consent so they could bombard me with unwanted solicitations there would be hell to pay.
      • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:58PM (#32201536) Homepage Journal

        "Our eyes and minds are being sold to advertisers and you don't find that troubling?"

        For a second I thought you were referring to the TV and Radio broadcast industry as it has existed for the last... oh,70 to 80 years?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by negRo_slim (636783)

          "Our eyes and minds are being sold to advertisers and you don't find that troubling?"

          For a second I thought you were referring to the TV and Radio broadcast industry as it has existed for the last... oh,70 to 80 years?

          Exactly the way privacy has been dealt with and our acceptance of pervasive advertising has been troubling for a long time now, why all the hoopla about a closed network you opt into I'll never understand,

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Jafafa Hots (580169)

            Well, until recently (DirecTV and shit) TV at least didn't watch you back.

            Come to think of it, the internet is kind of an Orwellian sort of TV, isn't it?

            • Re:Limey (Score:5, Interesting)

              by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:41PM (#32201990) Homepage Journal

              Come to think of it, the internet is kind of an Orwellian sort of TV, isn't it?

              It didn't start out that way.

              In fact, it didn't even start to move in that direction until big business and telecommunications decided that there was billions to be made and that the hippies and programmers and college students couldn't be trusted with this powerful new tool.

              Do you remember when there were dozens of ISPs in every big town? Little shops would open up in a storefront offering everything from dialup to T1. You'd get your connection and do with it what you would. Where did they all go? And before you tell me all the huge technical innovations that the corporate world has brought to the internet, remember that there was IRC before anyone knew what a "text message" even was. The big contribution of the corporate world to the internet? Television! I can watch Jersey Shore over the internet! Big fucking deal.

              Government made the internet, and they goddamn well better get a handle on the corporate takeover of it before it turns completely into cable television.

              • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:06PM (#32202204)

                There will be no "getting a handle on the corporate takeover"- Corporate America sponsors the largest part of US "government"; there is very little divide between the two. In time it -will- turn into cable vision, and there's not a damned thing you can do about it. The cute little policy rulings by the FCC, the passionate wailings of the EFF are no more than attempts to hold back the tide with a rake- The last twitches of a failed republic. Take an objective look at things.... The power -will- follow the money; corporate America has and will continue to use phenomenal amounts of money to bend government to it's will; They've got all the time and money they need- do you really think they'll give up / stop?

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by gangien (151940)

                You may remember the dot com bubble? lots of things were over invested in.. including ISPs.

                I don't think you could say with a straight face the internet was as remotely as usable as it is today or had the wealth of information it does today. Of course not all of that because of the big corporations, but much of it is. MSN, AIM, games, bunch of stuff from google all things I use on a daily basis.

                Your nostalgia is showing.

                • Re:Limey (Score:4, Interesting)

                  by Culture20 (968837) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @10:27PM (#32203160)

                  You may remember the dot com bubble? lots of things were over invested in.. including ISPs. I don't think you could say with a straight face the internet was as remotely as usable as it is today or had the wealth of information it does today.

                  Internet then: See my Dog on the WWW! Type in #.#.#.# into the location field in Mosaic (install Mosaic from this floppy).
                  Internet now: See my Dog on Facebook! Go to www.facebook.com, make an account, friend me, wait for confirmation, then click on albums, and my dog's album.

                  What a difference.

                  • Re:Limey (Score:4, Insightful)

                    by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Friday May 14, 2010 @05:07AM (#32204966)

                    What a bunch of bullshit. The people moderating this nonsense up are letting their ideology show.

                    The difference between then and now is huge. For one, websites in general are more secure (you can't fuck up a messageboard anymore just by typing in !). They're much, MUCH more well-designed, just go look through archive.org for evidence of this. Forum softwares are DRASTICALLY better, instead of relying on geocities people register their own .com easily and affordably; e-mail accounts are MUCH easier to get (remember why hotmail got big?). Music, video (youtube, etc) are all easily transferred over the internet when it wasn't possible before. Internet shopping has matured greatly and amazon, newegg, and smaller sites offer great deals--yeah, yeah, ebay went downhill, whatever... So many amazing sites exist now that weren't even imaginable back then.

                    Yeah, let's just ignore Hulu (oh wait, that's the corporate takeover of the internet according to PopeRatzo), last.fm, all the blogs that have popped up by experts in their fields, the rise of bittorrent, Steam (for gaming), Google and the many peripheral services they provide, oh I could go on and on.

                    There's not much to whine about other then the death of usenet (although I insist it died because forum softwares improved and became accessible outside websites such as insidetheweb and ezboards) and the rise of spam.

                    The underlying technology is just vastly superior, if you disagree you can just shut up and go back to dialup and prove me wrong.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Jaruzel (804522)

                Government made the internet, and they goddamn well better get a handle on the corporate takeover of it before it turns completely into cable television.

                I totally agree with this point. I am sick and tired of following a news headline in my RSS reader only to find that the destination page is just an embedded video player of some talking head hack reading out loud the article I was fully prepared to read for myself in the first place.

                If I wanted to watch TV, I'd turn it on. Now, get off my lawn!

                -Jar.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                Quit painting "corporate" America as the evil and "government" as the good slayer of dragons; they're a two-headed beast, often times the two are indistinguishable. It is government law, after all, that makes the corporation a limited-liability organization. Where men go to jail for, corporations may only get a fine, if that. It's not that corporations are a corrupting influence on good and righteous government, it's that there is no such thing as good and righteous government anymore than communism is

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by Hatta (162192)

                  Quit painting "corporate" America as the evil and "government" as the good slayer of dragons; they're a two-headed beast, often times the two are indistinguishable.

                  You're right, to a point. Both corporations and the government are the enemy. But as Chomsky says at least governments are potentially democratic. Corporations are pure tyrannies.

                  I find it "curious" that this corporate takeover happened exactly when slow and shitty dialup died and DSL and Cable became popular. I guess there is something inher

            • Re:Limey (Score:4, Insightful)

              by BitHive (578094) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:28PM (#32202364) Homepage

              Yep, in the end the panopticon emerged because enough people chose to opt in. No conspiracy required.

          • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:12PM (#32201708)
            The problem isn't the opt-in. The problem is the arbitrary changing of the TOS with little fanfare. I will grant you that I am a giant hypocrite since I doubt I'll be abandoning Facebook any time soon. I think I was able to deal with TV and radio because it was just broad advertising. Being targeted just seems a little creepier.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by negRo_slim (636783)

              The problem isn't the opt-in.

              I was referring to the fact you do not have to use Facebook.

              • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

                by surmak (1238244) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @09:56PM (#32203032)

                I think the real problem is not Facebook, but a system that allows businesses to retroactively and without notification, change the the agreement that the user agreed to when business relationship was first established.

                If Facebook wants to change the TOS, privacy policy, or anything else, about the service, they should have to require an affirmative opt-in from the user first. They have the right (in the absence of a contract) to cancel a user's account, on the service, but not to change the terms or settings. If they want to change the terms, they can either advertise how great the new features are, and ask users to opt-in to them, or they can put up a notification at the next log-in telling exactly what has changed, and require the user to accept or reject the changes. (Depending on how critical the changes are to the business, a rejection may require closing the account.),

                In a just world, that is how all terms with a business should be. It is unconscionable to require the users to keep checking a document on a website with no notification that the terms have changes. And yet, Facebook, ISPs, credit cards, and many other businesses scam their users with such sneakwrap provisions.

                • Re:Limey (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by grrrl (110084) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @10:16PM (#32203116)

                  Well said. "We may change the terms of service at any time" is a clause that lets companies get away with whatever they want.

                  I recently noticed, purely by accident but thankfully in time, a bait-and-switch type terms and conditions change for the Woolworths/QANTAS frequent flyer program card. When signing up for the program I checked there was no selling of data to third party sources for advertising etc. Then they changed the conditions to add just that! I immediately rang and cancelled my account (I hate being sent advertising in the mail, not to mention the disgusting waste of resources it represents). But with no actual notification of such changes, via mail, email or otherwise, (I just happened to look at their website on that day) most people would not even know and would probably be shocked to realise the change of terms to include such a bastardly clause after the fact.

          • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Eskarel (565631) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:37PM (#32203570)

            The issue with facebook is really rather simple.

            Facebook's value for its investors is that it's a gigantic comprehensive advertising database where the marks *cough* I mean customers input all the data on their own. People put information into Facebook that they'd never tell someone taking a survey and you don't even have to pay someone to ask them the questions. Achieving this goal is basically top on Facebook's list of long term priorities, just as it will be on any other free social networking site which doesn't want to operate at a massive loss.

            The conflict is that the users of facebook didn't sign up for that. They want and quite rightfully expect a certain level of privacy for the content they post on the site. You might argue that telling everyone about your personal life is the antithesis of privacy, but privacy is about your ability to determine your own level of disclosure, not having some specific level of disclosure which the older generations find appropriate.

            Essentially the end result of all of this is that every 6 months or so, facebook tries to turn all the information it has into cold hard cash and shortly thereafter their userbase throws a wobbly and they have to back out.

            • by msgmonkey (599753) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:35AM (#32204408)

              One thing I find disturbing is that even when/if Facebook backs down, it has already given away your information. For example when they decided to put what you're a "fan" of in your public profile that any web-crawler can see. Even if they backed down, I'm sure that information is now stored in a number of databases outside of Facebook and you don't have to be completely paranoid to think maybe Facebook has a hand in this.

        • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Scrameustache (459504) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:33PM (#32201916) Homepage Journal

          "Our eyes and minds are being sold to advertisers and you don't find that troubling?"

          For a second I thought you were referring to the TV and Radio broadcast industry as it has existed for the last... oh,70 to 80 years?

          Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 21st century?"
          Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio, and in magazines, and movies, and at ball games... and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts, and bananas and written on the sky. But not in dreams, no siree.

        • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

          by metrometro (1092237) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:00PM (#32202166)

          If you think it's OK that the Internet is turning into what the TV and Radio broadcasting industry has given us for the last 80 years, then yeah, it's all good. I, however, will fight this with everything I've got. It's worth it.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by hobo sapiens (893427)

            Fight it with everything you got? Really? Like what? Somehow, I don't think old copies of Bear Party, empty cans of pringles, and that musty smell of your mother's basement is going to make anyone stand up and take notice. Well, maybe the musty smell, but that's not the kind of noticin' you want if you know what I mean.

            Sorry, couldn't resist.

      • Re:Limey (Score:4, Insightful)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:59PM (#32201560)

        I believe he was saying a more disturbing problem was that most people don't care about the issues you mentioned.

      • How do you know they don't do exactly that? You couldn't unless you ONLY shopped there. You leave a data trail a mile long simply by doing day to day things. What do you think wal-mart does with the database on its customers?
      • And that's different from any other medium you're "consuming" in what way, exactly? From TV to radio to newspapers to any other for-profit page on the web.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by zblack_eagle (971870)

        We are not the consumers any more, we are the product.

        Consumers are the product. Advertisers deliver this product to their customers. The way I've always heard the term "consumers" used in the media reminds me of cattle. Every producer and provider wants as much consumer pie as it can eat, and we best not spook the consumer or it'll take a break from its mindless consumption.

        But if you meant that we aren't the customers any more; you're right, we aren't. Being a customer is what you want to be, not a consumer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by pclminion (145572)

        Serious? Our eyes and minds are being sold to advertisers and you don't find that troubling?

        No. Seeing a business taking advantage of the state of affairs is not troubling, it's to be expected. What is troubling is the complete willingness of people to give away their private information, and when you ask them why they tolerate a company acting like that, they say "Who cares?" The problem isn't the company, the problem is the people themselves.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mrogers (85392)

          What is troubling is the complete willingness of people to give away their private information, and when you ask them why they tolerate a company acting like that, they say "Who cares?"

          Nobody I've talked to about this has ever said "Who cares?". The most common reaction is "Yeah, I don't like it either, but all my friends are on Facebook." And that doesn't mean people are mindlessly imitating their friends - "All my friends are on Facebook" means "All my friendships depend, in part, on Facebook."

          It's eas

    • Re:Limey (Score:4, Insightful)

      by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:55PM (#32201508)
      A secret meeting about privacy doesn't bother you? Geez, talk about a tough audience.
    • by rsborg (111459) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:04PM (#32201614) Homepage
      Link [businessinsider.com]:

      Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
      Zuck: Just ask.
      Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
      [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
      Zuck: People just submitted it.
      Zuck: I don't know why.
      Zuck: They "trust me"
      Zuck: Dumb fucks.

      Wonder how much this new released IM thread has to do with this "All-Hands".

      • by kuzb (724081) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:27PM (#32201862)
        Just deleted my account. Screw facebook.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by EdIII (1114411)

          I would delete my account.... but.... why?

          The name on the account is fake. Email address used to sign up is a fake one-off account I log into once in awhile to keep active just for Facebook. Nobody I know in real life knows the name on my Facebook account. I have never connected up to facebook with the actual IP address of my current location.

          It was only ever for Mafia Wars, of which, I have thousands of Facebook "friends" now.

          So once again, I question why I would want to delete it at all? Probably a pr

      • by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:44PM (#32202008) Journal

        Thanks for that link. Well, I guess from now on I am allowed to tell Facebook users that they are "dumb fucks" according to the Facebook founder and CEO.

        It always felt quite good not to be a Facebook user, but now it's even more pleasant!

      • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:03PM (#32202182)
        That is exactly the problem. The company reflects the attitude of those who run it. So long as Zuckerberg has no concern about the privacy of the users of Facebook, there will be no privacy for the users of Facebook. The "all hands" meeting is little more than a public relations event to give the illusion that Faebook is doing something about privacy.

        .

        The only way to bring privacy and security to Facebook is to replace Zuckerberg with someone who cares about the privacy of Facebook users. Until Zuckerberg is replaced, little or nothing will change.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:58PM (#32202628)

        Five bucks says the meeting is less about how to respect peoples' privacy than it is about how to more surreptitiously subvert it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cruciform (42896)

      If they happened to maintain the levels of privacy the users agreed to without changing them up and forcing the users to play catch up it wouldn't be an issue.

      Instead of having control over the dispersion of information among their social network people are sticking fingers in the dike to plug up new leaks every day. People may be overly trusting with their data, but if they have to agree to terms of service then Facebook should have some obligation to honor the users rules of dissemination.

      So on that note,

  • by 18_Rabbit (663482) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:50PM (#32201436)
    Because they are going to need some, and soon. EVERY time they make a change to the privacy scheme, it's ridiculous and gets the whole user base riled up.
  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:53PM (#32201480) Journal

    Alright guys, what are we going to do about these damn privacy dweebs?

  • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:57PM (#32201530)

    "I see the clouds of a civil war on the horizon between users and the platform vendors as users want more discrete control over their history, privacy and data, and the platform vendors who drive advertising and data mining businesses."

    The ability of Facebook to generate revenues requires the exploitation of their users data and their privacy - if they want to keep it "free" for the users. Otherwise they'll have to charge a subscription.

    Advertising on pages for revenue? Enough to pay the bills let alone drive the sky high stock prices?

    Ask the management of Digg and Slashdot about that.

    • by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:05PM (#32201638) Homepage

      If they offered the option of a subscription service, and in return I got no advertising and had complete control over my privacy settings, I would totally do it. I use Facebook a lot, not just to interact with my friends, but to get the word out about updates to my website and new music tracks I make. $5-$10 a month for something as ubiquitous as Facebook would be well worth the money, in my opinion.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wyatt Earp (1029)

        I'd drop $5 on Fark before I'd drop $5 on Facebook.

      • by HiThere (15173)

        You'd trust them to keep their word at *this* point?

        They've already promised to keep things secret, and then sold them. They'd need something considerably more binding than a mere promise before I'd trust them now. Can't think what would work, but I'm not guaranteeing that there isn't something. E.g., if they offered a public key system, I wouldn't trust them not to, at some point, hack the code. But that doesn't prove that there isn't something they could offer that I'd accept. (I just don't believe i

      • by Rival (14861) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @09:49PM (#32202976) Homepage Journal

        If they offered the option of a subscription service, and in return I got no advertising and had complete control over my privacy settings, I would totally do it. I use Facebook a lot, not just to interact with my friends, but to get the word out about updates to my website and new music tracks I make. $5-$10 a month for something as ubiquitous as Facebook would be well worth the money, in my opinion.

        You will never have "complete control over your privacy settings" as long as Facebook keeps the "Friend's Apps Have Access To Your Data" permission. Facebook will not remove that, because if they did, major application developers would stop making free Facebook apps. Access to your personal information is why Zynga (the maker of virtually ALL the most popular Facebook applications [wikipedia.org]) gives away their games.

        The real problem is that Facebook suckers people in with a semblance of privacy and control over it, then changes the Terms of Service -- over and over again, often with little or no notice -- then makes the changes retroactive and sells your personal information to all interested parties.

        If they defaulted to sane privacy settings and opt-in marketing "features", there would be no current uproar. They could still make money from ads like normal sites do; they already have insane numbers of page hits. If they behaved responsibly in this way, and then offered enhanced functionality (such as customizable layouts, themes, members-only applications, &c.) for a monthly or annual fee, then I would very likely subscribe. I do use Facebook on a daily basis to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, and in that regard it works quite well.

        But who am I kidding? Their track record is soiled so badly that it would take a complete change of ownership, management, privacy settings and implementation, before I could trust them enough to type any credit card or other payment information in the same browser session as Facebook -- let alone into their page.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For as much flack as Google gets around here lately, they do a pretty decent job of selling advertising without completely raping their users' privacy.

      And, no Facebook, changing your privacy policies every 6 months and then claiming your users are consenting because they didn't opt-out of the 120 new "please sell my ass to the highest bidder" boxes that are confusingly labeled and located on 50 different pages doesn't cut it.

    • by owlnation (858981) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:02PM (#32202176)

      "The ability of Facebook to generate revenues requires the exploitation of their users data and their privacy - if they want to keep it "free" for the users."

      The HELL it does. That's 100% NOT true. That may well be the spin their marketing droids spout, but it is absolutely not, in any way, true.

      TV advertising remains the most lucrative form of advertising. It does not require detailed information about all its viewers. They know demographics, and they occasionally survey samples to validate that, but no personal information is needed. And this system works.

      It is pretty easy to work out Facebook demographics. They do not need to target-market to this level of granularity. The only reason they are doing so, is because people at Facebook (and Google for that matter) are letting them.

      There's enough eyes on Facebook that they WILL generate revenue from ads targeted at the whole Facebook demographic, rather than individually targeted ads.

      There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that Facebook needs to hand over private information -- other than naked greed.

  • by Statecraftsman (718862) * on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:59PM (#32201558) Homepage
    I would also like to see them offer some sort of standard way to export a user's photos, conversations, friend graph, and everything else needed to leave without being able to carry on some sort of continuous existence on another system. I would also like them to AGPL their software but I'm realistic and expect export is the best they will do so long as they're not challenged by a new system with the freedom to migrate [trygnulinux.com].
  • Gander, Goose (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anne_Nonymous (313852) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:04PM (#32201610) Homepage Journal

    I wonder if they'd care to post a transcript of the meeting to their own website.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      I wonder if they'd care to post the names, birth dates, family trees, and work and school histories of everyone who attends the meeting to their own website.

  • by Mr. Neutron (3115) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:06PM (#32201656) Homepage Journal

    My opinion is that if you post personally identifiable information to a public website, and expect that information to be kept from all the world's eyeballs, you're being incredibly foolish.

    I'm not saying Facebook has no responsibility here, just that people should take care to only share in a public forum what they are comfortable sharing with the entire universe. My Facebook profile contains nothing that I wouldn't want my mom, boss, pastor, or future employer to see.

    I'm probably departing Facebook because... well... just watch the South Park Facebook episode and that sums up everything I hate about it.

    Privacy? I don't post private stuff to a public website, no matter how much they promise only to share that stuff with "friends" and "networks."

    • by twidarkling (1537077) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:14PM (#32201746)

      You don't "depart" facebook. You can't delete your profile. Trust me. I tried. The best you can do is remove *most* of the information, and try and falsify the rest, and then hope they don't go too far in to the backups to get your old information.

    • by drooling-dog (189103) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:31PM (#32202392)

      My Facebook profile contains nothing that I wouldn't want my mom, boss, pastor, or future employer to see.

      It may more likely be your (public) list of friends, rather than any other particular piece of info that you choose to share, that creates problems in the future. There was a time back in the 50s when just being seen talking to the wrong person could land you on a blacklist.

      I still find the idea that people willingly post lists of all their friends and acquaintances for anyone to see to be a bit mind-boggling. Shit does happen. Then again, maybe I draw suspicion on myself for not doing just that...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      My opinion is that if you post personally identifiable information to a public website, and expect that information to be kept from all the world's eyeballs, you're being incredibly foolish.

      The problem is you can't control what other people post.

      I create an account with just my name and use it to keep in touch with my friends and family.

      It doesn't take long before someone posts a photo from my birthday party and annotates my name. A quick grab of my friends list reveals some workmates, one of whom has a map of the office.

      so without me doing anything but putting up my name and a list of friends, anyone can now work out where I live, work, when my birthday is, and what I look like.

      I deleted my F

    • by DigitAl56K (805623) * on Thursday May 13, 2010 @09:05PM (#32202686)

      My opinion is that if you post personally identifiable information to a public website

      Part of the problem is that these are not entirely "public" websites, and there were promises about your privacy in Facebook's published policies. Over time those policies have changed, and by consequence the level of privacy has changed despite what was originally promised. If privacy changes are retrospective in effect to their application to your submitted information that's very, very bad. If your argument is that nobody should have any expectation of privacy even on a website with a published privacy policy and "privacy controls", I think that your argument is wrong and instead companies who don't stick to their own promises should face some consequences, as their users inevitably will.

      I suggest you take a look at this timeline from the EFF:
      http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-timeline [eff.org]

  • Too Late (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Graff (532189) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:11PM (#32201692)

    Yeah, sorry Facebook, you are too late. I'm out.

    Maybe my single voice means nothing but I'm willing to bet there's a lot more people who are fed up with not only Facebook's privacy activities but also their inane games, spam from other users, advertisements from all sorts of snake oil salesmen, and "friends" who you've barely, if ever, had contact with.

    I'll stick to other ways to keep in contact with the people I really care about. The rest of them can stick their social media somewhere unpleasant.

    • Re:Too Late (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NF6X (725054) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:00PM (#32202168) Homepage

      You're not the only one who has opted out of Facebook. About a week ago, I deleted all of my pictures, all of my old posts (that took a lot of clicking), all of my group affiliations, and almost all of my personal information. I'll maintain the account just to let people I've lost touch with find me. The only things I post there now are links to stories about what's wrong with Facebook, and its potential replacements. I won't comment on or click "like" on anybody else's postings. I've changed my bio information to state that I do not approve of Facebook's privacy policy changes and that I'm only maintaining my account to allow old friends to make initial contact with me.

      The recent news about diaspora [joindiaspora.com] interests me, and I'll be keeping my eye on that project. I'm looking forward to seeing what they come out with at the end of summer. I enjoyed using Facebook until their privacy policy changes led me to stop, and I hope to see future social media options that lack Facebook's undesirable features and policies.

  • by meatron (1718302) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:11PM (#32201694)
    according to this blog [brokep.com] all you have to do is put a dick as your profile picture, and they do the work for you... no more photos tagged, everything gone. pretty simple.
    • by Itninja (937614)
      "Hey! Where my Facebooks site at? I can't find it and I searched all the Google on the Interweb!?" - Dick Cheney
    • by antdude (79039)

      Or use fake datas. I got kicked for that. However, how do we know that they really deleted our datas? They probably still have the accounts, but not to the public and account owner.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by sakdoctor (1087155)

      Beating your profile at yahtzee will also destroy it.

  • by Boss Sauce (655550) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:13PM (#32201726) Homepage Journal
    First came MySpace, and when people realized Facebook suited them better, they saw MySpace as the pile of crap software that it really was. Now Facebook is falling victim to its own success, and people are seeing its limits and pitfalls, looking for the next thing as Facebook tries to monetize their personal information. What will it be? Probably not something called "diaspora*" in spite of its founders' apparent good intentions: despite the upbeat definition they picked, most people associate diaspora with slavery, oppression, and other painful historical memories. Seriously: what's next?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:13PM (#32201738)
    All-hand staff meeting leaks out on /.? Sounds like to me that they have some privacy issues themselves, maybe created by their own product?
  • by rAiNsT0rm (877553) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:15PM (#32201754) Homepage

    I have never liked or respected Zuckerberg, he is delusional and dangerous. Greed + ego never ends well and add youth to that and you have a complete nightmare. Sadly I have close friends and family spread out over the globe and Facebook is one of the best ways for us to stay in touch right now. Hopefully that changes soon, but in the meantime I have removed everything from my profile and have suggested others do the same.

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Facebook is actually kind of suck for "staying in touch". It's more of an automated interleaver of blogs, with public chatrooms attached to each post.

      IM is quite a bit better for personal dealings. Email can make up for any time you're not both online.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Wyatt Earp (1029)

        I don't agree.

        Example - I was in Israel 16 years ago, made some friends and when I came back to the States I lost track of them.

        Facebook - I just happen on doing a search for one of the places I lived there, found a community of other ex pats who'd been there over the decades and found a couple drinking bodies from 16 years ago, caught up with them.

        I couldn't have done that with email or IM.

    • It is interesting you bring up creating a "shell" account. It's what I've basically done. The only things on Facebook are the things I don't mind people knowing about me or is available elsewhere. I use it then just to keep in contact with friends who don't feel so invaded. Sort of like a more private Twitter. :-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Lumpy (12016)

      . Greed + ego never ends well and add youth to that and you have a complete nightmare.

      What? Look at Bill Gates. He turned out OK.

  • by rueger (210566) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:25PM (#32201846) Homepage
    The goal of FB is to sell eyeballs to advertisers. Like Google they figured out that packaging users into nice groups makes them worth more money.

    What they're doing now is eliminating all of the people that likely aren't making them revenue - the losers, the people with no profile info, the grouches that aren't in the advertiser's target group.

    In other words, every time some slashdotter or blogger drops out of Facebook they're actually helping FB to be MORE successful!
    • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:34PM (#32201926) Homepage

      Not really. Users are product, but unlike most industries this "product" has legs and can walk off on it's own. The more product Facebook has, the more valuable it is to it's customers. The less product, the less valuable. Now, the major reason people use Facebook is that the other people they know also use Facebook. The larger a percentage of the people they know that use something other than Facebook, the less incentive there is for them to use Facebook too. This is one thing Google gets: no matter how profitable something may seem in the short term, if it scares off or runs off your product it's not a good idea in the long term.

      And it isn't just this one thing. Facebook's gotten some press lately over employers looking over people's profiles. The new forced networks based on things like employer don't help people with jobs feel comfortable, which makes them more likely to drop off Facebook. Which makes everyone they know just a little more likely to drop off too.

      The whole thing isn't linear. Reach a critical mass and your product base grows exponentially. Drop below that critical mass, and your product base implodes exponentially too. I think Facebook's starting to worry that if they don't do something they may drop below critical mass.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This already has happened. MySpace's base is eroding, and we already have seen Friendster and Orkut essentially crater. I'm sure sooner or later, someone is going to come out with a social networking service that can one-up Facebook. Then if it can get people to move there, FB will get left in the dust as last year's social networking, similar to how Geocities is remembered.

        FB needs to start valuing the privacy of its users. If not, there are people out there who will happily capitalize on this mistake

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Todd Knarr (15451)

          I think it'll take more than an alternative popping up. There's plenty of alternatives to LiveJournal, for instance, but that hasn't significantly hurt LJ's position. I think what it'll take is a number of closely-spaced nasty events where regular people got seriously hurt (fired from work, say) over things they thought they'd secured on Facebook but that were actually exposed through Facebook's new networks. When that happens you'll see a critical mass abandon Facebook, but I doubt before that.

  • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:25PM (#32201850) Journal

    Someone should take a picture of the meeting and post it on the web.

  • by One Louder (595430) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:30PM (#32201886)
    ... and what are their names and addresses?
  • Unlikely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:34PM (#32201924)

    I see it more like a meeting to tell everyone "if you don't shut up and smile to it, you're fired". And it's not sent as a memo because it could be forwarded.

  • by seebs (15766) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:37PM (#32201950) Homepage

    Facebook and Blizzard recently announced a cooperative effort.

    In prior days, Blizzard had publicized plans to include cross-game chat and the ability to mark people as friends (rather than individual characters), so you could see when your friends were on. Much was made about the importance of the privacy features that would make this secure, safe, and usable.

    Then they announced that:

    1. It would be done in conjunction with Facebook.
    2. The only way to invite someone would be to send an invitation to the email address which is used as that person's login name for the battle.net service. (Blizzard has in the past told people to use a special email address just for that, and not to share it with anyone.)
    3. Your real name, as on your billing info, will be shown to all your friends.
    4. Also, your real name, as on your billing info, will be shown to all your friends-of-friends.

    The service is "optional", but the only option available is to not use it at all -- even though these are features which would be EXTREMELY desireable to many users, if they didn't come with the privacy problems. Furthermore, a recent glitch during the Starcraft 2 beta allowed ANY user to see ANY user's full name -- whether or not they were friends.

    So I'm pretty sure Facebook is doing the wrong thing thus far, and if they don't change that, I suspect they will start losing popularity faster than they're gaining it. I'm certainly starting to think seriously about deleting my account there over this crap.

  • by sparrowhead (1795632) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:41PM (#32201986)
    Well, they are having a meeting on the topic privacy. There's no word, however whether they want to improve privacy for their customers or exploit it furthermore
  • by 2muchcoffeeman (573484) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:31PM (#32202394) Journal

    Last year, which seems like the last time this bubbled up, Facebook took input from its members and eventually came up with a statement of Facebook Principles [facebook.com], which its members voted in favor of adopting by about a 3:1 margin. So what happened to that?

    Well, as Kurt Opsahl [eff.org] of the Electronic Frontier Foundation pointed out today [eff.org], Facebook's management didn't even pay lip service to those principles when it came up with the latest evolution of its privacy policy [eff.org] and things like Instant Personalization [eff.org].

    I haven't decided if this is a separate reason to dislike Facebook or part of the same reason for disliking Facebook. One thing I have decided: I'm glad I blew up my Facebook account.

  • by moore.dustin (942289) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:40PM (#32202472) Homepage
    The topic of discussion at my networking group this morning was Facebook and we were not talking about how to make money with it. People were wondering about issues they had not known to even worry about until the latest big stink about privacy issues. Over the last year or two, only Fan pages and the like were discussed as they looked to leverage the network to make money. After failing to see any value in using Facebook for their business, most ignored the topic for several months until just recently. Now this morning it is brought up and people are going home to think about deleting their account, not setting up a page for their business.
  • I heard from a friend of mine who works there that anyone at Facebook has full access to all data they have. They can check out your private messages, photos, chats, etc. In other words, do things for which you'd be fired immediately if you were at Google or Microsoft.

  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @09:33PM (#32202878) Homepage

    Click here to delete your Facebook account. [facebook.com] This is the less-publicized "real deletion" link, not just the "deactivate" link. However, if you log into your Facebook account for 14 days after clicking that link, your Facebook account will be re-activated.

  • by swordgeek (112599) on Friday May 14, 2010 @11:19AM (#32207634) Journal

    I like the idea, but it's a geek idea - not an average user idea.

    As an example of what I mean, I went to the diaspora website as an average user, expecting an alternative to facebook. Instead of seeing "register here and create your profile", I saw several paragraphs explaining the distributed paradigm, how your local profile for different web-applications is stored elsewhere (on your computer or in 'the cloud'), and so forth.

    Guess what? People don't want to read. People don't want to have to figure out a new paradigm that involves personal involvement. What people want is facebook, but with a better interface and security policy. (and with Zuckerberg nowhere to be seen)

    How many people use citizendium over wikipedia? How many people muck with bittorrent or even grooveshark, vs. buying songs on iTunes? How many auction sites have usurped eBay, after they changed their pricing model, paypal affiliation, etc.? People just don't switch to something better-but-different, unless it's (a) familiar looking, and/or (b) totally ground-breakingly new *for them* (i.e. the background and model don't matter).

Programmers do it bit by bit.

Working...